1st v Kettering 11th March 2017
BUZZARDS OVERWHELMED BY KETTERING POWER DISPLAY
KETTERING 68-8 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard experienced the difference between the top and bottom of Midlands 1 East in successive weeks – having comfortably beaten bottom side Ilkeston last week, the Buzzards were blown away by the power of promotion-chasing Kettering. They may be only second in the league but were, without doubt, the strongest team Buzzards have played this season.
Leighton had made an encouraging start but loss of possession allowed Kettering to force a five-metre scrum. The immediate danger was cleared to touch but the large home team pack drove over from the resulting lineout for their first try after six minutes. The Kettering fly-half, who successfully kicked nine of his ten attempts at goal during the match, converted impressively from the touchline.
Slowly the home team were building pressure- their large pack was providing good possession for their speedy and skilful back line who took every opportunity to spread the ball wide. The Buzzard’s cause was not helped by a misfiring lineout but the defence was solid. Full back Ben Beaumont, whose defensive tackling was exceptional all afternoon, saved what appeared to be a certain try in the corner with a spectacular last-ditch tackle.
Ultimately the pressure told - whilst the initial defence was good, the Buzzard alignment on recycled ball was too narrow, as Kettering scored their second try after 21 minutes.
Straight from the kick-off Buzzards attacked through Ryan Fraser and Euan Irwin, before an excellent break by Geoff Branwhite was held up a metre short. Kettering were penalised at the ensuing ruck and fly half Lee Walker kicked the penalty to leave Leighton 14-3 behind after 26 minutes.
Kettering’s response was almost instantaneous – their big forwards and fast backs combined to score an exceptional try and, as half-time approached, scored a fourth try following a lineout. With both tries converted Buzzards trailed 28-3 at the break.
Leighton started the second half well with strong running putting the home side under a rare period of pressure. Finally Buzzards got their reward with a fine move from a lineout allowing Zak Tift to score after 9 minutes. The touchline conversion was missed, leaving the score 28-8.
Buzzards continued to attack but a dropped pass was kicked through by the home side, who then won the kick and chase to score a rather fortuitous try. Apparently inspired by their good fortune, Kettering returned to their best form scoring an excellent try in the corner after 17 minutes and a further try five minutes later. With both converted, the home side led 49-8.
As Leighton visibly tired from the physical effort and Kettering hit a rich vein of form, the floodgates almost inevitably opened, with three further tries conceded in the last 10 minutes, leaving the final score 68-8.
With other results going their way, Leighton remain 11th and outside the relegation zone. After a week off, the Buzzards welcome Wellingborough on March 25th.