1st xv v Wellingborough 25th March 2017
BUZZARDS BONUS POINT WIN EASES RELEGATION FEARS
LEIGHTON BUZZARD 23-7 WELLINGBOROUGH
Leighton Buzzard secured a vital bonus point victory and in doing so, swopped places with opponents Wellingborough into tenth position in Midlands 1 East league. With both sides just outside the relegation places and having drawn their match earlier in the season, the game was understandably tense and competitive throughout.
Having lost the toss, Leighton kicked off with the benefit of the slope and a strong breeze. From the first scrum, the Buzzard pack was dominant, driving the visitors backwards, although the wind made lineouts more difficult to control. Whilst Leighton were dominating possession and territory, the concession of penalties was frustrating attempts to build concerted pressure.
Finally after fifteen minutes Buzzards opened the scoring with a well worked lineout move securing the try for Zak Tift in the corner. With the difficult conversion missed, Leighton led 5-0.
After a slow start, Wellingborough were coming more into the match. Realising that kicking against the wind was futile, they started to run the ball more, although rarely threatened the home side’s defence. Buzzards looked the more likely scorers and they believed they had their second try late in the half when full-back Ben Beaumont went over. The referee was the only person present who supposedly saw a knock on as the ball was grounded. More frustration was to follow- from the resulting scrum, Leighton won the ball against the head and were driving towards the line when they were inexplicably penalised for collapsing the scrum they were in control of, leaving the score at half-time 5-0.
Now playing uphill and into the wind, the home support was concerned that a slender five point advantage was not substantial enough. However Buzzards’ ball retention and improved discipline allowed pressure to build and, after a number of phases, Wills Messum scored in the corner. Lee Walker’s attempted conversion unluckily hit the bar to leave Leighton 10-0 ahead.
Straight from the kick off, Buzzards were back on the attack – Ryan Fraser made the decisive break for Ben Beaumont to cross the line. Again the difficult conversion was missed leaving Leighton 15-0 ahead with twenty- five minutes left.
Wellingborough remained competitive despite the control of the Buzzard pack and, following a penalty in midfield, the visitors managed to pin Leighton in the corner. After a succession of forward drives the ball was spun out to the backs and, with a well- timed pass and excellent running angle, the Buzzard defence was finally split for a try under the posts. With twenty minutes left, the lead was cut to 15-7.
A Lee Walker penalty after thirty minutes eased the nerves and extended the lead to
18-7. Wellingborough’s large pack was now visibly tiring and Buzzards looked the more likely to score. It says much for the Leighton pack’s fitness and mobility that the decisive 50 metre break for the fourth try was a joint effort by fellow front-row players Greg Falcon and Jordan Cummings, who provided the opportunity for Ben Beaumont to score his second try.
With the four try bonus point secured, Leighton played out time to secure a vital win moving them to tenth and six points clear of the final relegation place.
Next week Buzzards welcome fifth-placed Lutterworth to Wright’s Meadow.