1st xv Match reports 2018 - 2019

1st xv v Lutterworth 22nd September 2018

Lutterworth score





Leighton Buzzard played their best rugby of the league season away at Lutterworth in their latest Midlands 1 East match. Having led for most of the second half, they conceded with five minutes left and had only a four-try bonus point to show for their considerable efforts.


The game started badly for the Buzzards – having kicked off they had hardly touched the ball again when Lutterworth opened the scoring with a try under the posts. The successful conversion made the score 7-0.


Buzzards replied less than two minutes later with their first attack. A lineout near the corner gave the pack the opportunity to drive close to the line and when the ball was passed out, fly half, Jake Wheeler, making his first league appearance for a number of years, forced his way over the line. Rather carelessly the conversion in front of the posts was charged down to leave Buzzards trailing 7-5.


Ten minutes later the home side extended their lead to 12-5 as their pack drove over. Again Buzzards responded well – a good break by winger James Pratt was held up just short. However, after recycling through a couple of phases, it was Pratt who once again broke the line to score under the posts. Jake Wheeler converted to draw Leighton level at 12-12.


The Buzzards were now very competitive and it was slightly against the run of play when Lutterworth scored a try from inside their half to retake the lead at 17-12 after thirty minutes. Once again Buzzards responded positively and, with the last play of the half, the pack drove over from a lineout with Jon Henkes touching down for his first league try. The difficult conversion was missed to leave the half-time score 17-17.


Whatever was said at the break worked, as the Buzzards started the half with renewed drive and they dominated the early exchanges. After five minutes they got their reward when scrum half, Graham Magill, who formed a very experienced half back partnership with the veteran Wheeler, jinked over. This gave Leighton a four-try bonus point and a 22-17 lead that they were to hold for half-an-hour.


Much of the play was now in the Buzzard half but the defence was committed, determined and well organised. Leighton did have chances- notably a break-out from their own half when James Pratt was tackled just short. However, with just five minutes left, Lutterworth kicked to the corner and their large pack drove over from the lineout to level the score – nervelessly the home-team fly-half slotted the conversion to put Lutterworth 24-22 ahead.


More heartbreak was to follow –  with the last play of the game the Lutterworth scrum drove over to extend their lead. Unfortunately the successful conversion took the final score to 31-22 denying Buzzards the losing bonus point their performance merited.


Although bitterly disappointed to have lost when victory was so close, the Buzzards can take many positives from this spirited performance. Next week they welcome Melton Mowbray to Wrights Meadow for Leighton’s first home league game this season.