BUZZARDS’ SPIRIT AND ENTERPRISE SECURES FOUR-TRY BONUS POINT TO STAY EIGHTH
MELTON MOWBRAY 42 -31 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard poor away record continued with a loss at Melton Mowbray but by scoring five tries secured a bonus point that means they retain eighth place in Midlands 1 East. Whilst the result was disappointing, Buzzards were very unlucky with injuries to their forwards – and showed remarkable spirit and fightback in adversity.
The match started well for Leighton – after two minutes a well-rehearsed driving maul from a lineout resulted in a try for player/coach Tom Mowbray to give Buzzards a 5-0 lead. Five minutes later, Melton Mowbray opened their account when a misalignment in the Leighton defensive line provided the opportunity to score under the posts – with the conversion the home side led 7-5.
After seventeen minutes Buzzards suffered a crucial piece of bad luck – second row Tom Mowbray had to retire injured – missing Tom’s presence and experience, the scrum, which up to then had been securing their own ball, came under huge pressure. This pressure was to continue for the rest of the game, threatening to starve the dangerous Buzzard backs of possession.
The following ten minutes juxtaposed the differing style that was to last the game – Melton Mowbray’s forward power created a further try to take a 12-5 lead but finally Buzzards had enough possession to create space for centre Arran Perry to carve through. With Jocky Marshall’s conversion the score was level at 12-12. A pushover scrum after 36 minutes restored the home side lead , (17-12) and, whilst under pressure, Buzzards held out until half-time without conceding further scores.
The second-half could hardly have started worse – a gift of an interception gave the home side a try under the posts and four minutes later a penalty extended the home lead to 27-12. Back came Buzzards again – the initial forward drive was held up but the recycled ball was passed out for Arran Perry to score under the posts for his second try – Jocky Marshall’s conversion left Leighton 27-19 behind.
Again Buzzards suffered bad luck with injuries – Reece Harris-Smith being the third forward off injured, meaning that a back had to play in the forwards. Inevitably the pressure told – with Melton Mowbray scoring two further tries in the next seven minutes to lead 37-19. In this scenario many teams would have wilted, but Buzzards are made of sterner stuff and 22 minutes through the half Jacob Barker scored Leighton’s fourth try to secure a bonus point and make the score 37-24.
Whilst the home side extended their lead with their seventh try (42-24) the best was still to come. With time running out Leighton ran the ball from deep in their half and, after passing through many hands, James Brett was on hand to score. Ollie Taylor quickly drop kicked the conversion to allow time for the restart to allow the chance for further scores and a possible extra bonus point as the home side visibly tired – sadly it was not to be, as the game ended 42-31. Beaten and bruised but the Buzzards returned with their heads held high following a display of resilience and spirit and quality rugby with very limited possession.
Coach Tom Mowbray commented “We made the 90 mile trip up to Melton Mowbray on a cold, windy day and we were expecting a battle and that is certainly what we got. Melton Mowbray had a big powerful pack and dominated us in the scrum, so we struggled to get good, clean ball to our dangerous backline. Our fitness and resilience showed in the end and I was very proud of the way the boys finished the game – we wanted to come away with 5 points but 1 is better than nothing. We will work hard on Tuesday and Thursday putting the wrongs right, ready for Northampton Old Scouts visit to Wrights Meadow next Saturday”