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BUZZARDS SURPRISE LEAGUE LEADERS BUT ULTIMATELY FALL SHORT

LEIGHTON BUZZARD 12-20 OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS

Whilst Leighton’s losing run continued, there was much to encourage their supporters with a
spirited and committed performance against league leaders Old Northamptonians. At no
time did the match look like first versus eleventh in the league table, as Buzzards led for
much of the first half against their normally free-scoring opponents.

Old Northamptonians, (O.N.s), kicked off with the advantage of the slope but against what
was originally a slight breeze. Buzzards started better, playing with good tempo with backs
Euan Irwin, Tom Winch and Ollie Taylor combining in breaking the gain line. Leighton now
had a period of pressure close to the line with second rows Callum Creber and Ryan Eaton
prominent. After only eleven minutes Leighton were held up over the goal line, but attacked
again from the resulting goal line drop-out. Eventually pressure told with scrum half, James
Brett scoring after sixteen minutes. Brett converted his own try for Buzzards to lead 7-0.

O.N.s first serious attack did not come to halfway through the half, but Leighton defended
well and, when the ball went loose, kicked through to counterattack. By now the visitors were
growing in confidence and putting the Leighton scrum under pressure. After twenty-two
minutes, good handling in the backs released their left winger to score in the corner. With the
difficult conversion missed, Buzzards led 7-5. The visitors dominated territory for the rest of
the half, but Leighton defended well and looked to attack on the break. Almost with the last
play of the half, O.N.s drove over from a lineout to lead 7-10 at half-time.

Whilst Buzzards now had the benefit of the slope, they were against a strengthening breeze.
It took eight minutes for the league leaders to extend their lead, this time following a moment
of real skill – as the fly-half placed a precisely-judged kick into the corner for the right winger
to score unopposed. Six minutes later, Leighton cut the deficit– an excellent break by Eddie
Wiggins made space for replacements, Sam Beaumont, on debut, and Ben Cullen, with
Cullen touching down in the corner. Neither of these two second-half tries were converted,
leaving Buzzards trailing 12-15.

Midway through the half, the visitors extended their lead with real speed on the left wing to
score their fourth try. Again, the difficult conversion was missed, leaving the score 12-20.
The remainder of the half was competitive and, whilst Buzzards were unable to add to their
score for, at least, a losing bonus point, they also prevented O.N.s from adding to their total.
At the end of the match O.N.s were very complimentary of Buzzards’ performance
describing it as “one of the hardest games they played this season”

Next week Leighton travel to Olney, hoping to translate their undoubted spirit and
commitment into the more tangible benefit of league points.