1st xv Match reports 2018 - 20192019-2020

1st xv v Wellingborough 13th April 2019





Leighton Buzzard’s five-year spell in level six rugby came to a disappointing end with defeat at home by Wellingborough. With conditions ideal for running rugby and nothing but pride to play for, an entertaining match was anticipated. Unfortunately, it was a poor, bad tempered game, dominated by the referee’s whistle. With over forty penalties conceded, the game was disjointed and not the predicted spectacle of open rugby.


Having lost the toss, Leighton kicked off with the benefit of the slope and a slight wind. The first quarter of the match was played in midfield with neither side looking like scoring. After only five minutes, both sides received a yellow card, including Buzzard player-coach Tom Mowbray, following a scuffle as a reaction to a Wellingborough tip-tackle.  Midway through the half, Leighton skipper, Jack Whitehouse received a yellow card for an adjudged high tackle, when the visitors’ player appeared to have slipped moments before the challenge. Buzzard’s sense of injustice was not helped by the referee missing a Wellingborough head-butt shortly thereafter.


However as the game wore on, Wellingborough were in the ascendancy with the game primarily being played in the Buzzard half. Moments before Leighton were back to full strength, Wellingborough slipped a tackle to score close to the posts. With the conversion successful, Buzzards trailed 0-7 after thirty minutes. Wellingborough took a firm grip of the game in the last couple of minutes of the half. Firstly their scrum-half jinked over – with the conversion successful and then a penalty shortly afterwards, the half time score was 0 -17.


Leighton started the second half with increased determination with Ashley Walsh, Harry Charter and Raef Braithwaite all prominent in breaks early in the half. After eleven minutes Buzzards came close to scoring when the pack drove towards the line only for the ball to be knocked on at the vital moment. Despite this extra speed to the Buzzard game, Wellingborough were controlling much of the game  – whenever the ball was lost or a penalty conceded, the experienced Wellingborough fly-half would pin Buzzards back with long angled kicks. The visitors also took their opportunities – halfway through the half they reacted quickly to a Buzzard scrum loss to score their third try – 0- 24.


Over an hour into the game Buzzards did manage to score with James Brett dummying to make space to dive over. Brett converted his own try to cut the lead to 7-24.   Shortly after an excellent break from full back Harri Sayer made space for winger Felix Fiske but he was well-tackled by the last defender.


Two further yellow cards for Kieran Turney and Ashley Walsh in the last ten minutes reduced Buzzards to thirteen men. Perhaps it says much for Buzzards “never say die” attitude that they scored their second try when two men short  – a delicate James Brett chip was collected and touched down by Mike Robert to leave the final score 12-24.


Leighton finish in twelfth place in Midlands 1 East and with three sides relegated from a league of fourteen teams, they will play level 7 rugby next year. However they are a young side and have shown a commendable spirit and skill in the second half of the season that bodes well for next year. The final game of the season is this Thursday when they meet Bedford Athletic in the Bedfordshire Cup Final under floodlights at Wright’s Meadow. Kick-off 8pm.

Low Flying Birds!!!