Buzzards Storm into Midlands Cup Final
Leighton Buzzard 1st xv 27 Newark 10
Leighton Buzzard reached the final of the RFU Midlands intermediate cup on Saturday with an emphatic win over a strong Newark side from Midlands 2 North. Although Newark are sitting mid table in the league at the same level as Buzzards they had won the last four games and were looking for another scalp after beating their league leaders Coalville last weekend.
However Leighton were having non of it and started strong Infront of a large home crowd at a packed Wright’s Meadow with two other games also being played They soon had the visitors on the back foot and only strong defending and the occasional misdemeanour keeping the Buzzards from scoring. Buzzards had a kick at goal in the first ten minutes from a penalty but the ball drifted wide in the sunny conditions. After 12 minutes captain Jack Whitehouse put in a cross field kick while playing advantage from another penalty offence to put in James Pratt for the first score of the match. Again the kick was missed but Buzzards led 5-0.
The penalty count against Newark soon mounted and the big second row for the visitors was invited by the referee to sit the game out for ten minutes after a high tackle. This spurred the visitors on and they drove into the Buzzards twenty two where they were awarded a penalty for off side. The kick was missed with neither kicker getting into their stride. Buzzards charged forward from the restart with the ball going through many hands before Pratt scored his second try of the game in the corner. The conversion dropped just short.
The penalty county started mounting again for Newark and the flanker was binned as a result of one infringement too many by the visitors. This allowed Buzzards again to charge up the field and some slick handling put Wiggins over for try number three just wide of the posts. This time Starling made no mistake and added the extras to make it 17 – 0 with minutes to play in the first half.
Newark then decided that attack was the best defence and again drove into the Buzzards half and then spread the ball to score their first points of the game making the half time score 17-7.
After the break Newark were a different side and kept the ball tight not letting the home side get their hands on the ball. They attacked hard up the hill and only stout defending kept them out. Eventually they added to their score with a penalty for offside in the middle of the pitch 17-10.
Captain Whitehouse was then binned for a deliberate knock on and Buzzards were under pressure. but managed to keep the score line the same until his return.
Into the last ten minutes Buzzards had a break by Starling deep in the visitors twenty two which was popped up for Irwin to score to make the game almost safe. The conversion and a few minutes later a penalty made the score 27 – 10 to secure the game and a place in the final against Malvern. At the end of the game players and supports alike celebrated a magnificent win and applauded both sides for a cracking game of rugby. Newark proved a tough opposition and made the game very competitive as it should be in a semi final.
Buzzards return to league duties next week against Belgrave at Wright’s Meadow whilst waiting to hear of the venue for the Midlands Cup final against Malvern who beat Leek in the other semi final. The final will be played on the 14th /15th March.