Luton clawed their way back from the jaws of defeat, as they battled to a 24-24 draw against a physically superior Romford & Gidea Park at Newlands Road in the first game of the London One North campaign on Saturday.
The hosts got off to the best start possible as Steve Ellis scored a try in the first minute, after intercepting the ball from kick-off and bamboozling the Romford team with a mazy run.
They increased their margin to seven, via the boot of Rick Hobbs, whose kicks were to play a major role in the afternoon’s proceedings.
After a tetchy opening period where both sets of players looked to get the upper hand, the game started to flow a little bit more.
Obstruction from a running ball by a Luton player enabled the visitors to gain an advantage in the hosts’ territory, where they won a line-out, and Matt Catchpole slammed home a try, with the ensuing conversion making it 7-7 on 12 minutes.
Moments later, the home side took the lead through another penalty by Hobbs.
After half an hour, Romford sensed the anxiety of the home side and within a matter of minutes they seized control of the game through Ben Lawrence’s try and a conversion.
Lutonians did not buckle under the relentless pressure from the visitors, as a Rick Hobbs penalty narrowed the deficit down to a point.
Two minutes before the interval, Romford were reduced to 14 men after a high tackle.
Hobbs then gave the home side the advantage with another trademark penalty, but Lawrence’s penalty made it 17-16 to the visitors at half time.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with players sending sloppy passes and more rucks and line-outs being the order of the opening 10 minutes.
Unfortunately the home side did not learn from their mistakes in the first half, as Romford touched down again and Lawrence’s conversion made it 24-16.
After an hour, Hobbs managed to score a penalty, while with two minutes left, Chris Davis went over after a brilliant passage of play to tie the scores at 24-24.
His conversion cannoned off the post and in the final moment, Luton were awarded a penalty, but Hobbs’ long range effort landed wide.
Director of Rugby, Paul Allen said: “Romford dominated us physically which is pretty disappointing, considering the fact that we came with a plan, but this was a good test for the games ahead.”
Luton are back on home soil this weekend as they entertain Letchworth Garden City. On the game, Allen added: “The team can do better than this result (against Romford).
“So during the week we hope that the injured personnel come in ready to help us improve our intensity for the weekend’s fixture, and be physically prepared.”