1st xv Match Reports 2017-2018

1st xv v Bugbrooke 14th October 2017

SECOND HALF COLLAPSE LEAVES BUZZARDS WELL BEATEN

 

BUGBROOKE 42 – 10 LEIGHTON BUZZARD

 

For the first time this season Buzzards played a side from the lower half of the league but a poor second half performance extended their losing run to five matches.

 

Due to unavailability and injury, Leighton’s team had an unfamiliar look with three league debutants. Winning the toss and choosing to play into the wind Buzzards’ started brightly enough, maintaining possession through many phases and it was against the run of play when the home side took a 3-0 lead with a penalty after 10 minutes.

 

Two minutes later , Buzzards’ number eight, Tom Byard injured his shoulder and was unable to play any further part –not only did Leighton miss his dynamism going forward but the reorganised Leighton scrum, which had looked in control,  was now starting to creek.  This pressure told after 18 minutes when the ball was spread wide from a driving scrum for the home team winger to score. With the successful conversion, Leighton trailed 10-0.

 

Buzzards quickly bounced back; the initial break was from full back Eddie Wiggins but then Reece Harris-Smith brilliantly broke the defensive line and passed for supporting flanker, Matt Stacey, to score. Darren Braybrook converted to bring the score back to 10-7.  Following this, both sides had opportunities to score as play became more evenly matched, although Leighton were grateful to full-back Eddie Wiggins who made try saving tackles on more than one occasion. It was with the last kick of the half that the home side extended their lead to 13-7.

 

Now playing with the advantage of the wind, Leighton started the second half well – securing possession from the kick-off, they immediately threatened the Bugbrooke line- whilst the opportunity was lost, a penalty after six minutes brought the score back to 13-10.

 

Only three points behind and with the advantage of the elements, the game was evenly poised – but two minutes later, suddenly the momentum was with the home side. From a lineout in the Bugbrooke half, the ball was over thrown and gathered by the home team’s fly-half. Unfortunately, the referee was unsighted, so allowed play to continue despite the knock-on and the clean break led to the home side’s second try and a 20-10 lead.

 

This misfortune changed both sides’ attitude. Bugbrooke’s young half-backs began to control the game, bringing their hard running full back and right winger into space. Even though there was more than 30 minutes left, Buzzards started to “chase the game“with the inevitable mistakes resulting.

 

A penalty after ten minutes extended the lead to 23-10 and ten minutes later a fine break gave Adam Pepper, the Bugbrooke right winger his second try. A unlucky bounce from a kick ahead gave the home side another try to give Bugbrooke a 35-10 lead with twelve minutes left.

 

Leighton suffered another blow when full-back Eddie Wiggins , who had been their most attacking runner and steadfast in defence, had to leave the field with a potentially long term ligament injury. There still remained time for another dropped ball in midfield to allow a further Bugbrooke try to leave the final score 42-10.

 

Accepting that the second- half was their worst performance of the season, there was a steely determination to correct the errors and not to blame bad luck or injuries. Next Saturday Leighton entertain Huntingdon at Wrights Meadow,