INEXPERIENCED BUZZARDS WELL BEATEN BY LEAGUE LEADERS
LEIGHTON BUZZARD 5 – 50 KETTERING
Leighton Buzzard were well beaten by the league leaders Kettering, in their re-arranged Midlands 1 East league game. The game, which was cancelled earlier in the season, was re-scheduled on what was previously a clear weekend. A number of players had made other commitments so the team had an unusual look with six players making their season’s league debut. Although well beaten, Leighton put up a spirited effort against the promotion favourites.
Having lost the toss, Buzzards kicked off downhill but against a strong wind. Whilst the opening minutes were contested in midfield, the visitors quickly showed their cutting edge, scoring the first try after five minutes. With the conversion successful, Kettering led 7-0. Fly-half Jake Wheeler, attempted to cut the lead with a long penalty attempt– the kick had the length despite the wind but drifted wide.
With their limited possession Buzzards looked good with ball in hand but the scrum was under increasing pressure. There was a sense of inevitability when, after twenty minutes, Kettering scored their second try to double their lead. The visitors’ backs now turned on the style scoring three further tries in the next eleven minutes to lead 33-0. At this stage a rout seemed on the cards, but brave commitment in defence, with the experienced Ross Bevan to the fore, stemmed the tide. Additionally Buzzards were threatening the Kettering line – firstly Graham Magill and then Adam Stacey made breaks but were tackled short. Twice in quick succession the forward almost drove over but both times were penalised for holding on, leaving the half-time score 0-33.
Now with the benefit of the wind, Leighton started the second half in a determined mood. However, it was the visitors who extended the lead to 40- 0 with a try after six minutes. The next twenty minutes was scoreless – whilst Kettering had the majority of the possession, there were encouraging signs- twenty year old Kieran Turney had come off the bench to shore-up the scrum and Harrison Sayer looked threatening in the centre.
With twelve minutes left Kettering scored their seventh try to extend the lead to forty-five points. However this time Buzzards struck back – a well-worked move from a lineout between Mike Lynch and Jacob Murtagh gave Murtagh the opportunity to score in the corner . The difficult conversion was missed to leave the score 5-45. In the final ten minutes Kettering added a further try but the Buzzard effort remained committed to the end to leave the score 5-50.
Kettering are a fine side and, whilst well beaten, a young and inexperienced Buzzard team played with spirit and commitment and will have learned from the experience. Next week Leighton welcome Oadby Wyggestonians to Wright’s Meadow.