BUZZARDS SLIP TO CRUCIAL HOME DEFEAT
LEIGHTON BUZZARD 22- 27 MELTON MOWBRAY
For the first time this season Leighton Buzzard lost at home to a side below them in the league table. Whilst other results meant they remained ninth in the league, they are now only five points above the final relegation place, with three crucial games remaining to retain level six league rugby next season. Whilst Buzzards played well at times, notably at the start and for a spell in the second half, too many mistakes and, at times, poor game management contributed to the defeat.
Having lost the toss, Buzzards kicked off downhill and immediately put pressure on the visitors’ defence. Whilst Leighton missed the opportunity to go ahead after three minutes when a penalty attempt hit a post, five minutes later Buzzards took the lead. The forwards drove over following a lineout with Will Messum touching down to give Leighton a 5-0 lead.
Slowly Melton Mowbray established more territory and possession and pulled the score back to 5-3 with a penalty after twenty-three minutes. Five minutes later a missed tackle and a clean break in the centre allowed the visitors to score their first try and, with the conversion, make the score 5-10. Buzzards replied with a Darren Braybrook penalty and whilst they finished the half threatening the Melton Mowbray line, they could not add further points to leave the half-time score 8-10.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half were a disaster for the Buzzards – firstly the Melton Mowbray number 12 jinked through for his second converted try ( 8-17). Buzzards responded with one of their best attacking moves – but in one of the games crucial moments the ball was dropped just short of the line. The visitor’s fly-half, who had an excellent game, recovered the ball and ran to the Buzzard twenty-two where he passed for the winger to score in the corner. With the conversion missed Melton Mowbray had a fourteen point lead at 8-22.
Leighton were now trying to play catch-up and mistakes were being made. Melton Mowbray scored their fourth try after fifteen minutes but there was more than a hint of obstruction as Buzzards last defender was blocked. Again the conversion was missed to make the score 8-27.
Suddenly Buzzards found an additional gear and upped the tempo – an excellent break by Jack Whitehouse and good support led to Ben Beaumont scoring under the posts after eighteen minutes. Darren Braybrook converted -15-27. Five minutes later as pressure grew, Braybrook scored and converted his own try to bring Buzzards within five points at 22-27.
Despite increasingly fraught attempts to add to their score, the Buzzards could not find a way through and for much of the final minutes were frustrated by the visitors pack who controlled possession for significant periods. Leighton had to settle for a losing bonus point and can take encouragement from a committed debut from new second row Dami Adebayo. Buzzards next fixture is away at tenth-placed Northampton Old Scouts in two weeks time after the Easter break.