London One North: Luton 12 Letchworth 24
The green shoots of recovery were there for all to see at Newlands Road on Saturday even though Luton lost 24-12 to local rivals Letchworth in London One North.
The home side belied their lowly status with a feisty display which saw them have parity with Letchworth for considerable periods of the game.
Luton had begun brightly as Jonathan Kerr dominated in the line-out which allowed his team to enjoy the majority of possession.
Just nine minutes in, Luton broke the deadlock following some sustained pressure which eventually paid off as Adam Harris got over just under the posts, with Rick Hobbs kicking the extras.
But the visiting forwards always had the upper hand and Letchworth began to get back into the game.
In the 19th minute, pressure at a five-metre scrum resulted in a penalty try, with Dylan Parsons converting to bring the scores level.
Luton were still competitive, but they struggled to make their chances count and were punished as Letchworth formed a maul and scored another try three minutes from half time to make it 12-7.
The second period started badly as Luton switched off for a few costly minutes, allowing the visitors to get over twice, extending their lead to 24-7.
But Luton stuck to their task and in the 72nd minute, the hosts scored a second try through Ross Geraghty as the hosts kept up the pressure in Letchworth’s 22.
Time ran out though and Letchworth held on for the victory.
Luton scrum half Geraghty admitted Luton need to keep their concentration throughout if they want to start winning games.
He said: “I think we played extremely well, we just struggled with a few things.
“We lacked a bit of confidence going forward and at times we struggled to get numbers at the breakdown.
“We lacked a moment’s thought and then we let tries in, it’s as simple as that really.
“We switch off for two seconds which seems to happen every week but we’ve just got to try to build on that and focus ourselves a bit better.
“It’s always nice to score a try but obviously it’s a team effort out there.
“I got quite lucky and I think someone helped me over the line so I won’t take all the glory for that one.
“All in all, we were unlucky and we played with a great bit of heart, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Luton are on the road this week when they head to 10th-placed Barking.
Earlier in the season, Luton ran their opponents close, going down to a 10-3 defeat at Newlands Road.