SOUTHEND 76 – 0 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard suffered their heaviest defeat for over twenty years as their
inexperienced side was overwhelmed by a strong Southend team. It was a credit to
Buzzards’ youthful team that their commitment never wavered and, hopefully, they
will learn from the experience.
Somewhat surprisingly, given the final score, it was Leighton who started the best.
With Buzzards retaining the ball and showing good ambition, most of the early play
was in the Southend half. It took the home side eight minutes to get into the Leighton
twenty-two but straightaway scored their first try when a well-worked chip into the
huge dead-ball area was touched down. Another well worked move at the front of the
line out led to a second try, so mid-way through the half the home side led 12-0.
Increasingly the experienced Southend team were controlling possession and
territory, with Leighton defending bravely. This task was made significantly more
difficult when Ollie Taylor was shown the first yellow card of his lengthy career for not
retreating at a quick penalty. The extra man seemed the incentive for the home team
to play a faster and wider game, stretching the Buzzard defence across the huge
pitch. Whilst their third try was from a forward drive, their backs quickly added three
additional tries with excellent back play. Rarely can the ten-minute advantage of an
extra man have been so ruthlessly exploited. With five of the six first-half tries
converted, Southend led 40-0 at half-time.
The home side extended their lead to 45-0 early in the second half with another fine
try. Despite this early set back Buzzards had an improved period of play, although
possession and phases of play remined mainly elusive. In a rare attack, Jack
Whitehouse made an excellent break but when the ball was recycled and moved
wide the attacked was blunted. Perhaps too eager when possession was secured,
Buzzards appeared to lack the patience to go through the phases and too often the
ball was kicked away.
Midway through the half, the home side had a eight-minute burst of three tries –
despite determined tackling, with captain Jacob Murtagh leading by example,
Southend’s support play was both impressive and unremitting. With two of these
three tries converted the score was 64-0.
Finally, with seven minutes to go it looked as if Buzzards would score. Good
anticipation from winger Felix Fiske led to an interception and with an apparently
clear run to the line, but the referee called play back for an earlier offence.
Two late tries made it an even more chastening afternoon and a final score of 76-0.
Buzzards welcome Colchester to Wrights Meadow next Saturday. A large home
crowd of former players is anticipated and may be just the boost the Buzzards need.