BUZZARDS DEFENCE HOLDS FIRM FOR NERVY VICTORY
LEIGHTON BUZZARD 20-18 NORTHAMPTON OLD SCOUTS
Leighton Buzzard secured their fourth successive home victory in their latest Midlands East 1 match against Northampton Old Scouts. The victory was based much on their defence, preventing the visitors from scoring in the last half-hour to secure a nervy two point victory.
Having lost the toss, Buzzards kicked off with the benefit of the slope. Conceding early penalties put Leighton under pressure and the visitors came close to opening the scoring but were held up over the line. After struggling to get a foothold in the game in the early minutes, Buzzards finally gained continuity of possession through a number of phases. Centre Arran Perry made the decisive break before off-loading to captain Mike Lynch to open the scoring. Darren Braybrook converted to give Buzzards a 7- 0 lead after thirteen minutes.
A penalty for an illegal tackle allowed Northampton Old Scouts to reduce the lead to 7-3. A Darren Braybrook penalty restored the seven point advantage midway through the half, although another penalty for the visitors two minutes later made the score 10-6.
Leighton’s second try came after half an hour – Mike Robert charged down a kick close to the line and Buzzard seventeen year-old back-row forward, Jacob Murtagh, reacted quickest to touch down. With the conversion hitting the post, Buzzards led 15-6.
Leighton were now in the ascendancy and pressurising the Old Scouts line. The Buzzard scrum was looking dominant – with Jon Henkes making his season’s debut adding strength and solidity to the front row. From an Old Scouts’ five metre scrum, Leighton turned over possession allowing Jacob Murtagh to touch down for his second try. Although the conversion was missed, Leighton took a 20-6 lead into half-time.
With three first-half tries, the scrum in ascendancy and the backs creating chances the home crowd settled back anticipating a dominant second-half performance. If the players also thought so, then the warning signs were quickly apparent. Northampton Old Scouts secured an early attacking platform and working through the phases, scored a fine try in the right-hand corner after only three minutes – 20-11.
The penalty count was preventing any continuity for Buzzards and a hamstring injury to Wills Messum significantly reduced their line- out capability. After a period of pressure close to the Buzzard line, the visitors took a quick–tap penalty to score their second try in the corner. There was more than a hint of crossing, but the try stood, and with an excellent touch line conversion, the score was 20-18 with more than thirty minutes left.
Whilst the remainder of the match was competitive, neither side could put together the continuity to threaten the try line and on a cold day the defences of both teams held sway. However the two point difference and knowledge that any score for the visitors would put them ahead made for a nervous ending and it was a relieved home crowd when the final whistle went.
1st team coach Tom Mowbray said
“This was definitely a game of two halves! In the first half we played some great rugby which we dominated possession and territory, through this pressure we scored three good tries. 17 year old Jacob Murtagh stood out with his 2 tries from the back row and our front row of Lynch, Henkes and Collins caused chaos in everything they did. Disappointingly, through our mistakes in the second half it was all too easy for Old Scouts to come back into the game. I’m looking forward to training this week to get the boys ready for Old Northamptonians next week and look for our first win on the road.”
Leighton remain eighth and next week travel to seventh-placed Old Northamptonians.