1st xv Match reports 2018 - 2019

1st xv v Melton Mowbray 19th January 2019





Leighton Buzzard broke their away league duck, completing the double over bottom side Melton Mowbray. Although more threatening in attack than their opponents, Buzzards never managed to pull safely clear in a nervy and, at times, bad-tempered second half.


Having lost the toss, Buzzards kicked off uphill and against the cold breeze. The opening minutes were spent in midfield and, whilst the Buzzard lineout was misfiring the scrum was solid and dominant. It took Leighton thirteen minutes to take the lead. Initially an individual break by captain Jack Whitehouse took Buzzards into the Melton Mowbray twenty-two. Leighton then put a number of phases together for James Pratt to cross the line. James Brett converted to give a 7-0 lead.


Despite the evidence that working through a number phases had been successful, Leighton failed to impose this pattern of play on the game. Too often possession was kicked away and poor discipline led to a number of penalties. From a lineout following one of these penalties, half way through the half Melton Mowbray drove over. With the conversion successful, the scores were level at 7-7.


The remainder of the half was played in midfield with no further scores. At halftime the Buzzards knew they had played poorly and with the disadvantage of wind and slope, so began the second half with confidence and determination.


The second half started well for Leighton – a loose ball was kicked through and, whilst James Brett lost the chase, he forced the home side to take the ball over their line and touchdown. Now with an attacking five metres scrum, the ball was spun wide for Harri Sayer to score after just two minutes. The difficult conversion was missed so Buzzards led 12-7.


The dominance of the Leighton scrum also led to their third try. Again coming from a five metres scrum, scrum-half James Brett and back-row forward Dami Adebayo worked a slick move with excellent off-load to allow Adebayo to score. Again the conversion was missed but Buzzards now led 17-7, with fifteen minutes remaining. However Melton Mowbray scored their second try, five minutes later with a replica of their first, driving over from the lineout.


With Leighton’s lead now cut to 17-12 the final ten minutes were nervous for the travelling support. However the majority of the play was in midfield and Buzzards’ resolute defence was rarely troubled. The frustration of the home side contributed to a bad-tempered final few minutes and, whilst the referee gave a number of warnings, no cards were shown. Buzzards did have the opportunity of a kickable penalty with three minutes to go which could have put them more than one score ahead. However they ambitiously chose to kick for the corner to try for a four-try bonus point. Whilst unsuccessful in this attempt the referee finally ended the game giving Leighton their second victory of the season.


The win takes them into twelfth place and next Saturday welcome thirteenth placed Northampton Old Scouts to Wright’s Meadow.