BUZZARDS HOME IN ON BONUS-POINT VICTORY
LEIGHTON BUZZARD 36- 24 MELTON MOWBRAY
After beginning the season with three away matches, Leighton Buzzard finally got their home league campaign underway, clinching a bonus point victory over Melton Mowbray.
Losing the toss on a sunny and warm afternoon, Buzzards kicked off with the benefit of the slope but against a gentle breeze. Once again, Leighton started poorly, with a missed tackle in midfield allowing the visitors to score the first try after seven minutes. The conversion drifted over the post to leave Buzzards trailing 0-5. Ten minutes later a penalty from Jake Wheeler pulled the score back to 3-5.
The game was evenly contested in the first twenty minutes, with the visitors looking slightly the more threatening. However that was to change dramatically as Buzzards scored three unanswered tries in an eight minute burst at the end of the half. Firstly a great break by winger Harri Sayer, who had an excellent home league debut, took Leighton from inside their half to just short of the Melton Mowbray line. Although stopped just short the ball was recycled for Mike Lynch to crash over. Jake Wheeler’s conversion put the Buzzards 10-5 ahead.
Six minutes later a Buzzard penalty was kicked to the corner. When the catch-and-drive from the lineout was held up, the ball was spun out for winger James Pratt to appear in midfield and scythe through the visitors defence to score under the posts. Again Wheeler converted making the score 17-5. With less than a minute of the half remaining Harri Sayer called a mark from a high kick in his own twenty-two. Almost everyone expected him to play safe but Sayer had different ideas. Once again carving open the surprised away defence, he ran two-thirds of the pitch before being tackled just short. The recycled ball was driven forward by Owen Forsyth before scrum half James Brett jinked over to leave the half time score 22-5.
Buzzards almost immediately extended their lead when captain Jack Whitehouse was tackled just short after a 50 metre break in the first minute of the second half. However it took a further twelve minutes for the Buzzards to extend their lead and gain a bonus point for their fourth try. James Brett was first to react to a loose ball hacking through from half-way. When possession was regained, fly-half Wheeler slipped a clever inside ball to rampaging second row Owen Forsyth to charge over from 10 metres out. Wheeler’s conversion made the score 29-5.
Despite trailing by twenty-four points Melton Mowbray responded well. Their big forwards were continuing to cause difficulties both in open play and at the scrum. After twenty minutes the visitors right winger jinked over and four minutes later scored his second and the visitors third try. With one conversion the lead had been cut to 29-17.
If the home crowd were becoming slightly nervous, their general anxiety was calmed by James Pratt’s second fine try with ten minutes left. James Brett, who had taken over the kicking duties from the substituted Wheeler, converted from the touchline to make the score 36-17. There remained time for the visitors to gain a bonus point with a fourth try – a penalty try awarded as the home scrum was adjudged to have collapsed close to their line. However this was the final score to leave Leighton victorious at 36-24.
Buzzards move up to twelfth and next week travel to bottom-placed Northampton Old Scouts.