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Agonising last-gasp defeat for Latchford

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LATCHFORD Albion fell to an agonising defeat 31-36 defeat in the dying moments of their home game against Blackbrook.
They conceded a try with the last play of the game – and that put a dent in their play off hopes.
In an enthralling encounter, it was the visitors who started strongest, and they opened the scoring with an unconverted try in the opening exchanges.
Latchford hit back and took the lead shortly after when Matty Ellis’ clever kick caused mayhem in the Blackbrook defence and Matty Rudd won the race to the touchdown. Rudd also added the extras to nudge Albion in front.
The visitors hit back, and showed the form that has led to them securing promotion, as they blitzed the hosts with four tries in 15 minutes to put them in complete control of the game.
On the stroke of half-time, Latchford gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Rudd crossed for his second try of the afternoon, following a great offload by Charlie McCurrie, however they still trailed 10 – 24 at the break, with an uphill task ahead of them.
A stern team talk saw Albion come out fired up and they reduced the deficit with two quick fire scores at the opening of the half. First, Rudd dummied his way out wide to register his hat-trick before, captain Daniel Brown, crashed over, holding off two would-be defenders and the hosts had reduced the deficit to a converted try.
A try to Blackbrook on 55 minutes gave them what they believed was breathing space, however this seemed to inspire Albion who raised their game, with their forward starting to dominate their opponents, and on the back of this, another Ellis kick was pounced upon by Brown to register his second score of the game, Rudd converting.
With Albion in the ascendency, prop forwards Fraser Jones-Lake and Adam Wood made great yards to keep Latchford on the front foot. This allowed the backs to play, and the score was levelled on 65 minutes with a well worked try. The ball was moved at pace along the line where full back Chris Griffiths joined the line. Just as it seemed he was running out of room, he managed to get a kick away and wing, Jake Ashton, showed great awareness to follow up and touchdown, Rudd converting from the side line and, on 65 minutes, the sides were deadlocked at 30 – 30.
On 71 minutes, Latchford took the lead from a Matty Rudd drop goal and a fantastic victory was on the cards, until cruelly they were denied when the visitors exploited space out wide to cross with the last play of the game to deny a valiant Albion effort.
Although defeated Albion are still in the running for the end of season play off places, however they need to register a victory at Widnes Tigers in their last remaining fixture, whilst hoping other results go their way.

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