London 1 North: Luton v Fullerians
By Ian Nancollas
Festive cheer was in short supply at Newlands Road as Luton went down 0-17 to Fullerians in London 1 North.
Both sides deserved a lot of credit for trying to play attacking rugby in atrocious conditions. Heavy rain and a strong wind made passing difficult.However, it was the visitors who managed the game the better and came away with a comfortable win 3 tries to none.
Much of the game was spent in the middle of the pitch as both teams lost possession trying to make headway. Lineouts were a farce as the ball was blown around. However, it was clear from the early exchanges that Fullerians had the stronger pack and on a day when the backs were essentially bystanders this was going to be a decisive factor.
Luton welcomed second row Jon Kerr back after a year way and on debut, scrum-half Matt Hankin.
For much of the first half Luton played with the wind at their backs. The matched looked like it might heading for a 0-0 draw before Fullerians broke the deadlock on a stroke of half-time with a move that defied the condition and saw their left wing go over in the corner.
Then Luton saw their injury curse return at the start of the second period. In the space of 5 minutes, the green and reds lost fullback Mahendran, flyhalf Davis and prop Spellen. And although all the players committed themselves against the elements, Luton never looked like scoring.
Two late tries removed any hope of a losing bonus point which was the least the home side deserved.
First team manager Steve Evans was upset after the game’s result.
He said: “Not getting on the scoreboard against the team just below us in the league is not what we would’ve expected, it is very disappointing. We were definitely targeting for a win but it just didn’t come together for us today and that’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow.
“I don’t think there is much that we can learn from this game. We used all three of our subs early in the second half and we went down to 14 players for the last 15-20 mins due to another injury.”
Luton can only hope the Christmas break and the New Year brings an upturn in their fortunes as they sit just above the bottom three, level on points with Ruislip.