AMERSHAM AND CHILTERN 17-3 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard lost their latest London 1 (North) League fixture away at Amersham and Chiltern. The game was competitive and, at times, fractious played in a persistent and bitter gale. Despite their best endeavours, Buzzards did not make the most of the wind advantage in the first half and failed to breach the determined home defence throughout the game. Yet again, Buzzards conceded late tries to leave the score harshly reflecting their efforts.
Having lost the toss, Buzzards kicked off with the benefit of the wind. Leighton started well – the scrum, with a front row of Owen Forsythe, Will Batchelor and Joe Healy, looking particularly solid. A penalty after three minutes gave Buzzards an early 3-0 lead. Leighton had a chance to add to this score shortly after following a neat blind side break from James Brett, but the wind blew his kick ahead dead.
In a game dominated by the two defences, it was Amersham and Chiltern (A&C) that made the first decisive break in midfield, leading to the first try. With the conversion successful, the home side led 7-3 after 17 minutes. Following the try, Buzzards were to enjoy a long period of pressure in the A&C twenty-two. The scrum was now dominant, and the home side were conceding numerous scrum penalties as the pressure grew. Joe Healy came close to scoring but Buzzards could not breach the A&C try-line. This was to be a decisive period of the game as it would prove exceptionally difficult to play against the elements in the second half.
Late on in the half, and with the home side on a rare incursion into Leighton territory, Buzzard winger Dan Chalmers was shown a yellow card, apparently for a succession of team penalties. Buzzards could feel hard done by – as the earlier succession of scrum penalties in the red zone by the home side had escaped similar sanction.
Buzzards started the second half trailing 7-3. It was immediately clear that kicking into the wind was futile, so Leighton tried to run and retain possession. Captain Jacob Murtagh, number 8 Callum Strachan and centre Eddie Wiggins were all prominent with numerous attempts to make a decisive break from their own half but to no avail as the home side’s defence held firm.
With Buzzards struggling to get out of their half, most scoring opportunities fell to A&C, but Leighton’s spirited defence held out. As the game slipped towards a second-half stalemate tempers flared. After a mass outbreak of pushing and shoving, the referee decided that each side should receive a yellow card. However, the recipients of the referee’s cards seemed to be far from being the players most responsible – Joe Healy, the unfortunate Buzzard player to take the team punishment.
Finally, 31 minutes into the second half, the home sides forwards scored from close range to take the lead to 12-3. They added a final try with the last play of the game, inexplicably after eleven minutes of injury time.
A disappointing result and a game dominated by the wind. Despite the defeat, no one could fault the commitment of the Buzzard side. Next week Leighton welcome Brentwood to Wright’s Meadow.