1st xv Match reports 2018 - 2019

1st xv v Old Northamptonians 16th February 2019

With their perilous league position, this was a must win home game for Leighton Buzzard against Old
Northamptonians, who were only three places above them at the start of the game. Whilst there
were encouraging signs, including three excellent tries, this was an inconsistent performance as
Leighton failed to keep to their game plan. There was also further optimism from the debut of Harry
Charter, who was the third teenager in this youthful Buzzard team.

Having lost the toss Leighton kicked off downhill, but into the wind. Once again Buzzards started
poorly – with little possession and quickly under pressure. Whilst the initial defence was strong, it
was little surprise when O.N.’s crashed over for the opening try after six minutes to leave Leighton
trailing 0-5.

Buzzards responded positively to this early setback and had a period of pressure in the visitor’s
twenty-two. However they were unable to convert this into points and were unlucky to fall further
behind when O.N.’s kicked a penalty after sixteen minutes to make the score 0-8. Again Buzzards
attacked, this time from a break by Raef Braithwaite. When the attack was stopped illegally,
Leighton tried an over -ambitious cross-field kick from the penalty, when surely building pressure
through the forwards was a better option.
Once again, Leighton were the architects of their own downfall – a loose pass was intercepted
leading to a second try for the visitors. Halfway through the half and Leighton were trailing 0 -13,
which felt an unfair reflection of the game at that time. For the remainder of the half Buzzards had
good possession but lacked a cutting edge – or when the breaks came, the last pass or off-load was
missed. With no further points the half-time score remained 0-13.

Leighton started the second half well. An early Jack Whitehouse break was then taken forward by
Ross Bevan. When he was tackled just short of the line, the ball was recycled for winger James Pratt
to score in the opposite corner. With just two minutes of the half played, Buzzards were back to 5-
13. Five minutes later Will Batchelor was shown a yellow card for a high tackle that only the referee
saw. Despite being briefly down to fourteen men, Leighton were in the ascendancy. As he did last
week, Eddie Wiggins jinked his way through for another fine try and, whilst the straightforward
conversion was missed, Buzzards now trailed only 10-13.

Shortly after Buzzards second try there was an injury break. Perhaps this caused a momentary lapse
in concentration as from the restart the visitor’s centre carved through untouched to score under
the posts. From a situation where Leighton were in the ascendancy and the visitors looking
concerned , O.N.’s now led 10-20 and the dynamic of the half had changed. Ten minutes later they
scored a fine try following an intricate move in the backs to take the score to 10-27.

There remained time for winger Raef Braithwaite to show his exceptional pace and score a super try
from halfway and O.N.’s to reply with a further try with the last play of the match. This left the final
score 15-32.

Next week Buzzards are in cup action before returning to league action away at Oundle.