Luctonians and Preston Grasshoppers share 40 points in National Two North clash

First published in Sport

Luctonians 20 pts Preston Grasshoppers 20.

LUCTONIANS brought their run of three National Two North defeats to an end in an exciting and tense draw.

But the Mortimer Park club might feel they could have done better after surging into a 12-0 lead in the early stages.

The visitors dominated the opening minutes but Luctonians’ forwards soon began to control matters up front.

A strong run by winger Alex Rumsey earned a penalty and, from the line-out, a catch-and-drive ended in prop Anthony Marfell touching down for an unconverted try after eight minutes.

Ten minutes later, the home side increased their lead when good forward play brought a try for flanker Dan Smith, converted by fly-half Jake Newman.

Only a last-ditch tackle by winger Drew Cheshire prevented a try as Preston regained momentum and they soon reduced arrears when winger Adam Birchall touched down in the corner.

Preston started the second-half well and drew level within four minutes of the restart when centre Phil Baines went in under the posts for a try which was converted by Sean Taylor.

Preston’s strong running three quarters caused panic in the home side defence but, in a rare attack, Luctonians regained the lead when they were awarded a penalty for a high tackle and Newman landed a well-struck kick.

But then a poor clearance kick by the fly-half player found full-back Taylor who chipped the ball over the home defence to win the race for the touch down.

Further pressure saw the Herefordshire side concede a penalty which Taylor slotted over.

Despite all the pressure, Luctonians hit back to level the scores again.

Replacement Will Burton found touch in the visitors’ 22 and, from the resulting catch-and-drive, the Preston pack was driven backwards with Smith claiming his second try.

Burton’s conversion drifted just wide but the home side had the final say when a strong run by man-of-the-match Cheshire was halted short of the line.

On Saturday, Luctonians face the long journey north to Westoe.

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