Ipswich RUFC begin London 1 North campaign with defeat at Letchworth, but quartet impress

Adam Sawyer.

Adam Sawyer. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Ipswich arrived at Legends Lane to start their first season in London 1 for several decades with high hopes.

This seemed justified early on when a confident Letchworth side ran the ball from deep in their own half, only to be stopped dead by a thunderous tackle by Ipswich fly-half and player-coach Lee Parry.

From the resultant scrum, Charlie Craig, who grows in statue with every game, made an instinctive break only to be hauled down a few metres short.

However, good continuity and ball retention by the Ipswich forwards finally saw Parry release Carlton Littlechild to race in untouched for a well worked try by the posts. Alan Barker converted.

From the re-start, however, Ipswich committed the cardinal sin at this level, instantly returning possession to the hosts after knocking-on.

From the scrum, Letchworth’s forwards showed exactly why they finished top-five last year, completely controlling the scrum and five close-quarter rucks, close to the touchline, before Fitts dived in from a foot to score an unconverted try.

Ipswich can open up any side with a vast display of attacking options and Jermaine Watson was adjudged to have a foot in touch as he dived for the line.

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Most of Ipswich’s attacks were halted in the loose, however, as the try line beckoned – the Letchworth forward line totally dominating and out-muscling an Ipswich pack that, with the exception of Adam Sawyer and Ben Acton, was lacklustre.

As Ipswich stood off, Letchworth dominated the loose, charging through weak visiting tackles to firstly set up an easy penalty for Ansell, which saw Letchworth take an 8-7 lead, and then put in Johal who scored a converted try, after some 10 phases had left the Suffolk side in tatters.

Letchworth’s backs who had looked dangerous from deep all game then released Streets and the strong-running centre showed great strength and desire to ride six Ipswich tackles to score a great individual try.

Alex Zahid replaced Douglas in the second row at half-time but the second period started poorly for Ipswich, Parry’s men again giving possession away at the restart with yet another knock-on.

However, Zahid and Acton’s aggression in the loose started to reap dividends and at last, with some ball, Ipswich attacked with venom.

One such attack saw Zahid in a 40-metre dash for the line, only to be brought down just short and, from the resulting ruck with the line at Ipswich’s mercy, Letchworth’s tight head Allen dived into the ruck to cynically kill off the try-scoring opportunity.

His reward an instant yellow card from referee Tucker with Barker adding the three points from in front of the posts.

Letchworth were down to 14 men, however, once again, Ipswich turned over possession in every aspect of the game.

Letchworth easily defended the next 10 minutes and, restored to 15 men, again dominated.

This domination saw number 8 Shaw drive over from 15m lineout with Ansell dissecting the uprights 27-10.

The very last play of the game saw Ansell go over and convert his own try, leaving Ipswich to contemplate an opening-day defeat.

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