Letchworth 39-36 Old Northamptonians: Legends win epic encounter as veteran prop Richard Stokes returns from pneumonia to make visitors sick - Picture Gallery
By The Editor
3rd Dec 2023 | Rugby
Letchworth 39-36 Old Northamptonians: Legends win epic encounter
There have been some great games at Legends Lane over the past few years since the resurgence of this first team, but this was a real corker.
Both teams attacked with vigour from the start, and gave no quarter with some fierce tackling from both sides.
It was hard to pick a man of the match for Legends, there was Sharp's boot and great carries from Llewelyn Jones, Tom Lewis and Rambo Hughes as well as mighty running from Streets and Titherington - but the accolade should surely go to veteran prop Richard Stokes who had been out for eight weeks with pneumonia, lost weight had to go off with a head injury but returned to put his opponent on toast at scrummage time.
However at the start it seemed that the visitors were going to dictate matters.
Old Ns were a young side with a gifted off loading style and they had gone over for a try after only three minutes .. scrum half Barker was a lively customer and at fly half Heslop dictated matters well and they nearly scored again after ten minutes.
It seemed that Letchworth could not get their hands on the ball in the first quarter but then in the nineteenth minute a wide pass found young Jake Allen who cut through and passed to Charlie Parkhouse who in turn fed Will Titherington for a great score .Sharps kick was adjudged to have missed by the O N touch judge but fortunately was overruled by the female referee who had a good game overall.
ONs restored their lead with a good passing move and then a kick to the upper corner which was dotted down by their winger . However it was now the home side that started to gain the upper hand with burly forwards Jones , Lewis and Wilcock relishing the conditions.
A great drive by Jones saw Howman feed the ball to Wilcock who plunged over with Sharp adding the extras. Then great interplay between Allen , Parkhouse and Titherington saw the latter nearly go over . Letchworth were awarded a penalty and Titherington then fed Rick Streets and the powerful centre went in by the posts with three ONs hanging off him and Sharp adding the extras.
Another great move between Titherington and Kaz Henderson saw Rambo Hughes out on the wing and he rampaged over the line to give Letchworth a bonus point try before the break. Letchworth had severely battered their young opponents at this stage but another kick through try gave them hope at half time which saw the score at 26/17
The second half had equal thrills and spills. Legends dictated the early exchanges and Sharp wisely slotted a penalty to increase the lead .
However another kickable penalty was scorned and Letchworth paid a hefty price as a charge down of Parkhouse's kick brought a seven pointer for the old boys .Then minutes later another great drive from the visitors saw them get their noses in front 29/31 and great rejoicing from their followers
But as so often in recent years Letchworth refused to lie down .Charlie Parkhouse atoning for his earlier kick out found inspirational skipper Liam Fitts complete with slug moustache on his upper lip and he went through for a great score and Sharp converted to make it 36/31 .
However another great move from the visitors made it even stevens and in the eery silence and early darkness the kick went just wide
So it was now Letchworth who picked up the baton and pounded the ON line and a penalty was awarded which Sharp planted right between the posts.
Still was there another chapter in this meaty tome ? Parkhouse saw a yellow for disrupting an O N move but Letchworth cleared the danger and were in the ONs red zone when the referee blew for no side.
It had been a great contest that either side could have won but it was legends who took the spoils.
As Baz Basra acknowledged Legends game management could have been better but it was a great win and all credit to the visitors who saw two bonus points for their efforts.
Onwards now to Bedford Athletic and their 3G pitch to hopefully avenge the earlier defeat in September - with this form you wouldn't bet against it.
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