1st xv Match reports 2018 - 2019

1st xv v Oadby Wyggestonians 9th February 2019

BUZZARDS SECOND-HALF FIGHTBACK IN VAIN

OADBY WYGGESTONIANS  29-15  LEIGHTON BUZZARD

Whilst their winning run came to an end, Leighton Buzzard played some of their best rugby of the season for thirty minutes during the second-half against Leicester-based Oadby Wyggestonians in their latest Midlands 1 East league game. Buzzards had lost at home to these opponents by fifty points earlier in the season, so no one was underestimating the scale of the challenge. Having conceded four tries in the first half hour and lost their pack leader to injury, Buzzards showed considerable spirit and skill to narrow the gap during the second half.

The home side kicked off with the benefit of a strong cross-wind towards Buzzards left-hand corner. It took Oaddy Wyggs only four minutes to open the scoring. Their huge pack gained a penalty at the first scrum as the Buzzard pack was driven back. The penalty was quickly taken and driven over for a 5-0 lead. Worst was to follow, as pack leader Harry Cootes suffered a serious injury to his collar bone and shoulder, and was taken to hospital.

The home pack was now dominating and, with the wind against them, Buzzards were finding it difficult to escape their half. The home team added further tries in the fifteenth and eighteenth minutes, which, with one conversion, made the score 17-0. However the best try of the half was to come from Buzzards. An expertly timed and weighted pass from Jack Whitehouse made space inside their own half for fleet–footed centre Eddie Wiggins. With a combination of jinks and dummies, Wiggins ran half the length of the pitch, almost untouched, to score under the posts. James Brett converted to leave Buzzards trailing 17-7.

Buzzards were still struggling against the power of the Oadby scrum, conceding a pushover try after half-an-hour . The successful conversion made the score 24-7. Whilst this was the final score of the half, there were further injury concerns prior to the break. At another scrum the Buzzard pack lost their footing but the drive continued over the buckled forwards. Regrettably the referee failed to blow for safety reasons and there was a long delay with both Adam Lackey and Jacob Murtagh receiving extensive treatment. Luckily there were no serious injuries, although Lackey was unable to continue leaving Leighton without any further replacements.

Perhaps it was a team camaraderie bonded together by adversity, but the Leighton team started the second half with renewed spirit, commitment and no lack of enterprise. A James Brett penalty was an early reward to bring the score back to 24-10. Despite having a difficult afternoon at the set piece, the forwards were now exerting pressure. After many drives close to the line, scrum-half James Brett dummied and jinked over  The conversion was missed to leave the score 24-15 with twenty-five minutes left.

The Buzzards enterprise continued and they came close to adding to the score when they were over the line but unable to ground the ball. This pressure led to Oadby Wyggs conceding an increased number of penalties and two yellow cards after twenty–five and twenty-seven minutes. The second of these penalties was in front of the posts but now playing against thirteen men chose to go for the try. Unfortunately a knock–on stopped the move and with it the chance of unexpected glory.

In the remaining minutes Oadby Wyggs came back into the game, but the Buzzard defence was resolute. Whilst it was a team effort, try -saving tackles from Dan Baroux and Andrew Harris-Smith were particularly memorable.

With five minutes left James Brett was shown a yellow card for an offence at a ruck. The home side chose to take a scrum and drove over against a tiring Buzzard side for a pushover try to leave the final score 29-15.

Buzzards remain in thirteenth place but with three sides relegated they are eighteen points from safety. However with seven games left , three of their home games are against the sides in the places immediately above them – starting with Old Northamptonians who visit Wrights Meadow next week.