COLCHESTER 49 – 0 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard’s recent run of good form was put in perspective as they were well beaten by a strong Colchester side, who are pushing for a top-three spot in London 1(N) league. Against a strong pack, Buzzards’ possession was very limited to the extent that it was well into the second half before they managed a continuity of phases. However, as always, there was a huge defensive commitment from the Leighton team with crunching tackling to the final minute.
Colchester kicked off in wet and windy conditions. Immediately Buzzards were under pressure at the scrum and were penalised on numerous occasions – effectively preventing them securing significant possession. As a result, play in the first ten minutes was entirely in and around the Leighton twenty-two. It says much for the Buzzard defence, that Colchester chose to kick penalties, rather than attempt to score tries, in the thirteenth and eighteen minutes to give the home side a 6 – 0 lead.
In between these two penalties, Leighton had made a brief excursion into the Colchester half, but it was midway through the half that they managed to be in a position to exert pressure. Awarded a penalty inside the home team’s twenty-two, they kicked for the corner, but unfortunately the ball went dead. The resulting twenty-two drop out amazingly found touch five metres from the Buzzard line. The challenge for Leighton became greater when Jacob Barker was shown a yellow card for an obstruction in midfield.
It did appear that Colchester would add to their lead after half-an-hour but a try-saving tackle from winger Felix Fiske, dislodged the ball in the act of grounding. However, with a sense of inevitability, Colchester finally breached the Buzzard line shortly afterwards. With the try being converted, Colchester led 13 – 0, which remained the score to half-time.
After seven minutes of the second half, Ben Beaumont went off injured – this was the first of several injuries during the half, so that by the end all remaining fit players were on the pitch. This inevitably led to players playing out of position and stretched Leighton’s already small squad.
Colchester were now beginning to turn their pressure into points, adding four tries between the seventh and nineteenth minutes. With three of the four converted, Colchester led 39 – 0. Whilst these tries were scored in differing circumstances, they all came from having the vast majority of the possession and the ability to play through phases.
Leighton’s defence remained committed, with Calvin Maddock outstanding. Captain Jacob Murtagh led by example with a huge tackle count and, whilst he hardly touched the ball, Felix Fiske showed what a fine defender he is. On the counterattack James Brett was always looking for opportunities frequently from quickly taken penalties, but realistically Leighton did not come close to scoring.
However, after the burst of tries, Buzzards managed to stem the flow – in no small part due to Joe Healy tackling and then holding the player up as he crossed the line after thirty-three minutes. Colchester did manage two late tries, significantly both in the corner, as they stretched the tiring Buzzard defence, to make the final score
Buzzards returned well beaten but knowing they could be proud of their commitment to defend even when the match was already lost.
Leighton have a week off from league action before returning in a fortnight with the challenge of a trip to league leaders Sudbury.