Sheppard: Lack of fitness to blame during Thurrock defeat

Luton's dismal London One North season continued following their 58-10 defeat at Thurrock on Saturday.

Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 11:00 am
Luton RFC
Luton RFC

Both teams began the game well, but the hosts came closest to scoring on 10 minutes in after Earl Gorman was set free but Luton’s Tyler Chant made a brilliant last ditch try-saving tackle.

Five minutes later, Luton made progress down the field which lead to Rick Hobbs taking the ball into the opponent’s 22 and giving it to Casimir Abaka who got over to put Luton ahead with Hobbs kicking the extras.

Luton continued to push for another try but the home side defended well, until the visitors were awarded a penalty in the 27th minute about 35 yards from the posts, which Hobbs narrowly missed.

Thurrock turned on pressure but Luton held on well until Aidan Kenny was sin-binned in the 32nd minute for hands in a ruck.

It didn’t take the hosts long to take full advantage of the extra man as Bradleigh Retigan touched down in the 35th minute.

Luton then switched off and conceded another try in the 36th minute; Tim Blundell was the scorer this time as well as kicking both conversions.

Just before half time, both teams notched a penalty through kicks from Hobbs and Blundell, making it 17-10 to Thurrock at the break.

The second half was definitely one for Luton to forget as Thurrock looked comfortable in the lead and extended it through Najee Mundicha on 44 minutes as Blundell converted.

Blundell continued his excellent kicking record for the game and scored another two penalties for his side before scoring a superb second try in the 66th minute and converting to make it 37-10.

The game was over by that point but the hosts wanted more and on 68 minutes Gorman sprinted over the line with ease with Blundell kicking the extras again.

Just two minutes later, Thurrock got over again through Grant Scott, Blundell converting to make it 51-10.

In the 78th minute, Rick Hobbs received a yellow card for kicking out before Thurrock went on to score a last minute try as Tom Pool easily made his way over the line, Blundell converting.

Luton hooker Ryan Sheppard said: “I’d put the loss down to fitness and work-rate.

“We played really well in the first half but in the second half it was a little bit slower, they got the wind behind them and ran away with it.

“We’ve definitely stepped it up a lot since being relegated. Instead of trying to scrape a win, we’re going out there with nothing to lose, we’re working harder and we’re not giving up.”

Luton host CS Rugby 1863 this weekend.