IMPROVING BUZZARDS LOSE IN THE END – Leighton Buzzard 17- 38 Old Northamptonians
Buzzards disappointing start to the Midlands East division 1 continued with a home defeat by second
placed Old Northamptonians but this was a vastly improved performance. Indeed for much of the
second half the game was in the balance with Leighton camped in the O.N.’s twenty-two – ultimately
two late converted tries gave an unrealistic feel to the score and Buzzards were left to rue many
Having lost the toss Leighton kicked off uphill but with the slight benefit of a cross-wind. An early
penalty gave Geoff Branwhite the opportunity to give the home side a 3-0 lead after just 2 minutes.
However the lead was short-lived as, 6 minutes later, the away backs showed a combination of slick
passing and speed to score their first try in the right corner (3-5).
Leighton responded with a fine period of play, consistently breaking the first line of defence and
recycling the ball. Eventually the pressure told with scrum-half Jake Hodges scoring in the corner.
Geoff Branwhite’s touchline conversion extended the lead to 10-5.
The first half continued with both teams having periods of pressure and opportunities but it was the
visitors who re-took the lead with a converted try after 26 minutes (10-12). Seven minutes later the
prospect of a breakaway try for the home side was stifled as the referee called play back for an
earlier offence. From the resulting penalty O.N.’s moved the ball wide for a score in the corner
extending their lead to 10-17.
In the last minutes of the half, Buzzards squandered two excellent chances out wide with a dropped
ball and a poorly directed pass to leave the half time score 10-17.
Knowing they had created a number of chances, Buzzards started the second half with renewed
confidence and determination. A penalty attempt, following a high tackle, drifted wide but after 7
minutes a set line-out move and swift interchange between Wills Messum and Greg Falcon made a
try seem inevitable – but as in the first half the try scoring pass went to ground.
Undeterred the Buzzard pack drove forward coming close to scoring on numerous occasions. Finally
Sam Richbell crossed the line only for the referee to be unsighted for what both sides knew should
have been the score –equalling try.
Perhaps encouraged by their good fortune the visitors finally made a rare excursion in the Buzzard
half after 28 minutes. However it was from a Leighton break with a potential overlap that the ball
was dropped – the away side fly-hacked through to score a converted try against the run of play to
extend their lead to 10-24.
With 12 minutes left Leighton’s determination remained strong, and captain Euan Irwin crossed the
line but once again, the referee adjudged the ball to have been held up. Finally the pressure told as
the pack drove forward for Chris Forbes to touch down. With Geoff Branwhite’s conversion the score
was back to 17- 24 with 8 minutes left.
However , in a cruel twist, it was O.N’s who would score again scoring two converted tries in the last
couple of minutes to make the final score 17-38. Hugely disappointed but proud of their efforts,
Buzzards can take many positives for next Saturday’s game away at Nottinghamshire side Paviors.