1XV v Letchworth Match Report
The juggernaught rolls on as Chiltern continue their unbeaten start to the season
Chiltern, despite fielding a much changed site through injury and unavailability still proved far too strong for a competitive but ultimately outplayed Letchworth side. Having had the dominant scrum in the first two games of the season an all new front row struggled at times to cope with a more experienced Letchworth pack.
Despite this, Chiltern’s fitness and pace was too much for Letchworth to handle and after only four minutes quick ball from the forwards saw Lloyd Anderson score the first of his three tries with a scything run through the centre to touch down in the left-hand corner for an unconverted try. Over elaboration and a desire to run the ball even from their own 22 created mistakes and missed opportunities when simple possession rugby was called for. However calm was restored when after 15 minutes scrum half Michael Brothers, who is growing in confidence match on match, picked up the ball of the base of the Chiltern scrum just inside his own half, saw a gap on the blindside and raced 50m for Chiltern’s second try nicely converted by outside half Stuart Pearham the first of his 6 successful kicks during the afternoon.
The combative centre partnership of Anderson and Davies, both in attack and defence, was causing Letchworth all sorts of problems and it was no surprise when Davies broke through three tackles to score the third try which was successfully converted. The bonus points were then secured after half an hour when Brothers received overlap ball on the halfway line and had the pace to outflank the covering Letchworth defence for his second try.
Letchworth tried so hard to drive through the Chiltern pack by keeping the ball tight in the rucks and mauls but the Chiltern defence was rock solid and time and again forced turnover ball. The Chiltern back row of Harland, Scott and Francis were proving extremely difficult to stop none more so than man of the match Dave Francis whose pace and strength caused mayhem at times. His reward came after 34 minutes when he stormed through several tackles to score the fifth try, duly converted by Pearham. Probably the best try of the game however came in injury time when Francis was passed the ball, probably 40m from the line, he made ground with his pace and with 10m to go had sufficient strength to carry three Letchworth defenders over the line with him! The try was converted and Chiltern went into halftime 38-0 ahead.
In the second half and playing into the wind, Chiltern carried on very much as they had left off with the ball quickly switched out to the right wing to Anderson whose pace took him clear of all the defence. The try was converted and Chiltern were 45-0 to the good.
Unfortunately a serious injury to one of the Letchworth props, after about 12 minutes of the second half, effectively saw the end of the game as a running spectacle. The potential neck injury meant that the player could not be moved and an ambulance was called. As happened twice last season the ambulance took an inordinate time to arrive and there was no option but to move the game to another pitch. This however meant stopping the game for well over 30 minutes as it was necessary to allow the 2nd XV’s game to finish. The delay undoubtedly allowed Letchworth to regroup and to make the most of the enforced break. It must also be said that Chiltern’s concentration was not good when play resumed and the game rather descended into a forward’s arm wrestle. There were a couple of bright moments with two further long-range tries, the third for Lloyd Anderson and another for club captain Jack Kenyon.
To their credit Letchworth never gave up and although they were outgunned they did score a late consolation try which was no more than they deserved. By the time the game finished the ambulance has still not arrived and indeed after nearly 2 hours the prop decided that he was sufficiently recovered to get up and walk slowly back to the changing room!! We wish him well and hope that he has suffered no lasting damage.
The result was satisfactory with Chiltern retaining their unbeaten record and securing their second bonus point of the season but, overall, I suspect that the coaches will feel that there is a significant amount of work to do as there is certainly stronger opposition to face in the next few weeks.
Next week sees the team travel to Ealing where they will face Old Priorians, 3.00pm kick-off. In the promotion winning season two years ago we can still remember vividly a poor performance which saw Priorians inflict one of only three defeats Chiltern suffered all season and although revenge was extracted in the return fixture the boys are undoubtedly in for a stern test next week.