LACKLUSTRE LEIGHTON FROZEN OUT
WELLINGBOROUGH 22-0 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard produced one of their most disappointing performances to be well beaten by Wellingborough in their latest Midlands 1 East league game. In very cold conditions with a bitter wind frequently blowing snow across the pitch, Buzzards failed to alter their game to take account of the conditions. It was not a day for expansive running rugby and Wellingborough stuck to their straightforward, but efficient, game plan.
Director of rugby, Dave Larham, commented “It was a very disappointing display and we got precisely from the game what we deserved; nothing. We can’t blame the weather, pitch, referee or any of the other environmental factors that impact on team sports; this performance lacked passion, belief and the basic game understanding and core rugby skills needed to win a game of rugby at this level. The result puts us back into a dogfight to maintain our place in this league and Level 6 rugby. We will expect and demand a different level of performance on Saturday when Melton Mowbray RFC visit Wrights Meadow.”
Leighton kicked off and much of the early play was in Wellingborough territory. However it was clear from early in the game that the Buzzard scrum was under pressure, which was to be a feature throughout the game. After fifteen minutes, Wellingborough were awarded a penalty deep in the Buzzard twenty-two. With both goal-kicking and lineouts difficult in the conditions, particularly with the Leighton lineout performing well, the home side chose to take a scrum. The decision was rewarded as the Wellingborough pack drove over for the first try to leave the home side 5-0 ahead.
Much of the first half followed a similar pattern. The home side retained possession well, dominating in the scrums. Although the Buzzard lineout continued to function well, Leighton had limited possession which they lost too frequently in contact and through over ambitious moves. Buzzards did think they might be about to take the lead after half-an–hour when Ben Beaumont intercepted a pass with a clear run for the line but the referee called play back for an earlier penalty. As half-time approached, pressure from territory and possession resulted in the home side’s second try and a 10-0 half time lead.
Following a half-time”roasting” from captain Mike Lynch, the Buzzards did start the second half with more intent. Left winger Luke Stanbridge, who was to make a couple of good breaks on his return to the first team, was held up just short after only three minutes. However, despite the first fifteen minutes of the second half being Leighton’s best period in the game, they had no points to show for it.
Slowly and, apparently, inevitably the home forwards exerted pressure and Leighton became trapped in their twenty-two. Mid-way through the half and after a succession of penalties the Wellingborough scrum was stopped illegally and the referee gave a penalty try – 17-0.
Five minutes later, centre Euan Irwin was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. Again the home side chose to take a scrum from the resulting penalty and, after a twenty metre drive by the home pack the ball was passed out for a try in the right-hand corner. Buzzard number eight, Jordan Cummins, had made an excellent effort at a last-ditch tackle and appeared to have dislodged the ball, but the referee, who was well positioned, adjudged there to be downward pressure.
The remaining twelve minutes were played out without further points, leaving the final score 22-0. Buzzards slip a place to 9th on points difference and will be confident of improvement at home to twelfth-placed Melton Mowbray next Saturday.