BUZZARDS INTO CUP SEMI-FINAL WITH AWAY VICTORY
OLD LAURENTIAN 7- 23 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard moved into the last four of the Midlands area intermediate cup with a solid performance against Rugby-based Old Laurentian. This was a particularly impressive win as firstly, Buzzards were without this season’s two leading try scorers and secondly, they were the only away team to win in Saturday’s quarter-finals. The other remaining sides Malvern, Leek and Newark will not fancy the long trip to Leighton, when the draw is made in the next week.
Buzzards kicked off in dry, sunny but cold conditions. Immediately the Buzzard pack was dominant in the scrum, although much of the early exchanges were in midfield. Leighton came close to opening the scoring in the eleventh minute when debutant winger Marc Bredenkamp was stopped just short after a fine handling move. However it was the home side that took the lead – although Buzzards were complicit in the score. A loose pass went to ground and was kicked ahead and regained to allow Old Laurentian to touch-down under the posts. With the conversion a formality Buzzards were 7-0 down after seventeen minutes.
Leighton’s response was almost immediate. A splendid break from Jack Whitehouse from his own half, cut open the home defence and, drawing the last man, passed to the supporting James Brett . Just as it seemed certain the scrum-half would score, a splendid last-ditch tackle resulted in him being held up over the line. However from the resulting scrum, Reece Harris-Smith touched down as the dominant Buzzard pack drove over. With the conversion missed, Buzzards trailed
Straight from the kick-off Jack Whitehouse, who was by far the most decisive runner on either side, scythed through the Old Laurentian defence. Once again it was James Brett who was in support and this time made sure the try was scored. Lee Walker’s conversion put Buzzards 7-12 ahead.
Ten minutes later Buzzards added a third try – breaking from their own half , the ball was transferred through many hands before Reece Harris-Smith , who had a splendid game, scored powerfully in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed to leave Buzzards 7-17 ahead, which remained the score to half-time.
The second half was more attritional and played mostly in midfield. An injury to prop Jon Henkes after only two minutes of the second-half, slightly reduced Buzzards dominance at the scrum. A Lee Walker penalty after four minutes extended the score to 7-20 and a further penalty eight minutes later pushed the lead to 7-23.
Although the home side now needed to score three times to take the lead, the game remained competitive. Old Laurentian continued to remain a threat with their strong running backs but were let down by handling errors on numerous occasions. A yellow card given to Andy Harris- Smith after twenty minutes, only served to strengthen Leighton’s resolve to defend as if their lives depended on it. Both sides had opportunities but the defences held sway, leaving Buzzards victorious at 7- 23.
Buzzards will be delighted that with many key players unavailable they have shown their strength in depth and once again the mobile pack has dominated the scrum. Coach Tom Mowbray may well be more pleased that from the last half-hour of the Vipers match, the Long Buckby game and now this match , Leighton have played three hours of rugby and only conceded one score – and that from their own error.
Next week Buzzards return to league action with a tricky game away at Market Bosworth