Bedford Athletic 20-26 Letchworth GC: Just like Santa the Legends deliver

By The Editor

11th Dec 2023 | Local Sport

Bedford Athletic 20-26 Letchworth GC: Just like Santa the Legends deliver
Bedford Athletic 20-26 Letchworth GC: Just like Santa the Legends deliver
Bedford Athletic 20-26 Letchworth GC:
It was more than 30 years ago a youthful Baz Basra began his club rugby career at Bedford Athletic - so for Letchworth's current head coach it was gratifying his charges should turn round an earlier hefty defeat at home into a great away win.
With the victory coming two weeks before Christmas at the mid point of the season it also propelled the Legends Lane lads into third position in this highly competitive league - with a salivating home encounter with second place Harpenden beckoning next Saturday at the Lane.
The great turnaround was not just measured in the score - a home defeat by 25 points changed to an away win by six - but also by the way new faces have settled in to the squad and provided seamless moves between forwards and backs.
Basra named burly back rower Luke Mongston as his forwards man of the match, despite receiving a yellow card, due to his overall gutsy performance. While Charlie Parkhouse's pace earned him the nod amongst the backs. However, as he put it there was always scope for improvement as four trips into the red zone in the first half without recompense testified.
Bedford at home were a formidable outfit to overcome. A hefty eight who shaded Legends in the set piece with Trigg the scrumhalf proving a tricky customer all afternoon.
The keen wind dropped the temperature for the travelling faithful but the match was red hot from the start
Ath had the better of the early play but after nine minutes Letchworth worked the ball wide to Jake Allen who made good ground.
Now deep in the Ath 22 both Lewis and Jones drove hard before Oscar Robinson popped over for the opening try, converted by Sharp. But it was not long before the home side achieved parity as a strong scrum gave Trigg room to scoot down the blind side to score. Legends attacked the line again but a costly fumble gave the Ath a seventy metre clearance and from a quick penalty Mongston obstructed and saw yellow with Bedford kicking the resulting penalty right in front of the sticks to take a slender lead 10/7.
Now Letchworth had a really dominant spell but several visits to the Ath line went unrewarded. Even when it looked as if Letchworth had scored as the referee seemed to be raising his arm the try was disallowed for a knock on. Then a back move was intercepted by the Athletic 13 who fortunately kicked the ball dead with a strong wind behind him. At last it was the backs who unlocked a stubborn home sides defence. Parkhouse broke down the middle and Kaz Henderson fastened on to his pass. The winger had a fair bit to do as he stretched over the line with several defenders hanging off him. Sharp again added the extras. Another similar move between the two was foiled on the stroke of half time so Legends led 14/10 at the break.
The second half saw much of the same pattern. An early penalty to the corner saw Letchworth again in the danger zone but with nothing to show. Athletic broke out and a flowing move saw them into a narrow lead 15/14.
However it was not long before this was snatched by the visitors as a great restart by Sharp was not dealt with by the Athletic defence. From the resulting lineout Letchworth drove over for a fine score with Mongston the scorer again converted by Sharp. As the third quarter ended Sharp attempted a long range penalty from the half way line which just went wide.
Further dominance saw great inter working between the Letchworth backs and the effervescent Parkhouse swept over for a great try - it seems a long time ago since he was watching Legends lose at Oundle. In fact it was just two months ago and what an impact he has provided for the Letchworth back line - the third generation of a family who have dominated Letchworth rugby over the past half century.
Although the lead was not unassailable Letchworth were now two scores ahead and determined not to let Ath back in. The defence over the next ten minutes was outstanding and a great slow down by Harvey the ferret Howman prevented a certain score . Unfortunately a yellow card was his reward.
The determination of the home side was finally rewarded with a score ten metres in from touch on the stroke of seventy nine minutes . Against a strong wind the kick drifted wide. There was still time for the restart and as Ath desperately tried to run the ball out from deep it was knocked forward. Pocket battleship Prop Oscar Robinson raised a chunky leg to hack the ball to the byline and it just made it as the Ath winger was steaming in. Lessons needed from J Sharp Esq if future attempts are to be made.
The shrill blast of the whistle saw joy for Legends with another bonus point win on the road and desolation for Ath who slid further down the table.
Another bonus point win next week would be just the Christmas present that the club would relish ……and we are confident that these lads - just like Santa - will deliver.
Team from 1
Hughes K
Fitts ( C)
Howman (vc)
Hughes T


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