WINDSOR OVERPOWER BUZZARDS WITH SECOND-HALF DISPLAY
WINDSOR 34 – 17 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard travelled to Windsor for their penultimate game of the season – with the two teams only separated by points difference a close game was anticipated. The Buzzards had the advantage of their largest travelling support of the season -attracted by the spring weather and the most scenic ground in the league with the magnificent backdrop of Windsor Castle.
Having won the toss, Leighton chose to play against the moderate wind in the first half. Things didn’t go to plan from the start – unluckily losing prop Michael Lynch with an ankle injury after only 4 minutes and then Jordan Cummings four minutes later when he was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Yellow cards were to become a constant factor in the first half, with the referee showing four, equally distributed between the two sides, in the first forty minutes. It was from the penalty arising from Windsor’s first yellow card that Dan David gave Buzzards the lead 3-0 after 13 minutes.
Leighton were playing well at this stage – Tom Byard was making decisive breaks but the vital final passes did not go to hand. Finally Buzzards scored one of their trademark tries – originating in their own half, the ball was transferred through many pairs of hands for Ed Ratcliffe to make the final break to score a fine try. With Dan David’s conversion, Leighton were 10-0 up after 24 minutes.
Windsor worked their way back into the game with a conservative game plan where they seemed reluctant to spread the ball wide – however from an attacking scrum on the half-hour the ball was swiftly transferred for a try to reduce the deficit to 7-10. With the last play of the half and, immediately following a harsh yellow card shown to Sam Richbell for an apparent high tackle, the home side leveled to 10 -10.
With scores level and, with Leighton now having the advantage of the wind, the travelling Buzzards were confident. However, whatever the Windsor coaches said at half time worked well – the home side adopting a more expansive game and playing at an intensity unseen in the first half. The first warning signs came with an unconverted try after 6 minutes and the lead was doubled to 20-10 when the mounting pressure led to a further unconverted try ten minutes later.
With the home side’s big pack increasingly dominant in the loose and Leighton being unlucky with further injuries, two further converted tries were conceded. With ten minutes to go the score was 34-10 and a very difficult finale was feared. However, this Buzzard side has an undoubted spirit and commitment – determined to play their game and not give an inch despite the inevitability of the result. It is to their credit that they scored the final try through no. 8 , Sam Richbell , converted by Dan David to leave the score 34-17. This commitment was epitomised by an excellent debut on the wing by Reece Harris-Smith, who became the forty-third player to represented Leighton in the league this season.
Next week The Buzzards travel to fourth-placed Witney for the final game of the season.