Hampstead fend off Letchworth with strong defensive display

The latest news from the local rugby union scene (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The latest news from the local rugby union scene (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Hampstead returned to winning ways on Saturday with a hard-fought win over a struggling Letchworth side far stronger than its league position suggests.

The North London outfit won away 15-10, a conversion and a penalty kick being the difference between the two sides on the scoreboard, though in truth Hampstead’s victory should have been substantial.

The visitors started brightly, pinning back Letchworth inside their own 22m from the kick-off.

A period of sustained pressure saw the home side deliberately knock the ball forward to prevent a score, and the referee had no hesitation in flashing a yellow card.

Although Hampstead’s next attack petered out when the winger was bundled into touch, Letchworth bungled their own line out and, after being pulled across the pitch and back again, wing Dave Brandon went over for the try and centre Dan Dimoline kicked the conversion.

Ten minutes later Hampstead extended their advantage by five points, man-of-the-match Pete Bicknell running a great line to elude the defence and finish off some strong phase play by the visitors.

Letchworth were having a frustrating afternoon, failing to come away with any points from a number of visits to the Hampstead 22m line. Shortly before half-time, however, they finally got some reward.

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A loose mid-field pass saw Hampstead knock-on and from the resultant scrum Letchworth created an overlap to score in the corner. The conversion missed.

With around a quarter of an hour to go Hampstead opted for safety when Letchworth were penalised at the ruck and an advantage failed to materialise. Dimoline kicked the penalty and Hampstead moved ahead 5-15.

More stout Hampstead defending kept Letchworth at bay until, with around 10 minutes to play, Hampstead failed to clear their lines and find touch and Letchworth resumed their attack.

Letchworth missed the conversion but the five-pointer led to a nervous last 10 minutes for Hampstead.

Hampstead host second-placed Harpenden on March 2.