Luton RFC ran London One North leaders Eton Manor mightily close on Saturday, but couldn’t end their unbeaten run, narrowly losing 17-14.
For the visitors, this was their fourth away defeat of the campaign as Eton’s top try scorer Michael Eghan’s decisive score proved the difference in this exceptionally competitive contest.
Manor got off to a superb start as minutes into the game the home side were awarded a penalty try.
Rick Horton sent the easiest of conversions between the posts for a 7-0 lead.
Slowly growing in stature and confidence, Luton began to find some rhythm.
Methodically building on good possession, they passed the ball until it was picked up by Johnny Wright who ducked for the try line.
Rick Hobbs faced a long range conversion and successfully put Luton back on level terms at 7-7.
In the 30th minute, against the run of play a knock on was chased down by Hobbs who flamboyantly touched down for Luton’s second try.
He followed that up by adding the extras, moving Luton 14-7 in front.
As the rain began to fall, Manor wasted no time narrowing Luton’s lead as Harry Tustanowsky replied just four minutes later.
However, Horton could not add the conversion and Luton went into the break 14-12 ahead.
Early in the second half, Luton lost second row Craig South to injury, while in his place, hooker Ryan Sheppard made his presence felt and jumped straight into the action.
Tensions began to boil over as slippery conditions resulted in more physical contest.
Another injury blow saw Sean Meddeman’s afternoon end early.
Luton’s attacking positioning left them exposed at the back and that resulted in a counter attack.
The speedy Eghan broke loose to secure the win for his team, despite the efforts of Luton captain Tom Mahendren.
With the score at 17-14, Horton stepped up to put the result beyond doubt but his effort was sent wide, although Manor hung on to triumph.
For more, see the News/Gazette on sale tomorrow.