LEIGHTON BUZZARD 17 – 34 AYLESBURY
Leighton Buzzard lost their opening Regional 2 Thames league game at home to Aylesbury. However at half time, with the scores level and having played uphill, Buzzards were optimistic of an opening-day victory. Ultimately, Leighton could not recover from conceding three tries in seven minutes early in the second half, leaving Buzzards without even a bonus point for their efforts.
The match could hardly have started better for Leighton – early pressure and good handling gave Felix Fiske the opportunity to score the first try in the corner. Only sixty seconds had elapsed. The difficult conversion was missed leaving Buzzards 5-0 ahead.
Despite this excellent start, Leighton were soon under pressure with a high penalty count and with the Aylesbury pack causing difficulties at the scrum. It took the visitors eleven minutes to level the score at 5-5 – a missed tackle in midfield allowed the Aylesbury fullback to break the line and spread the ball wide for a try in the corner.
Unfortunately, after only sixteen minutes Buzzards suffered a considerable setback as scrum-half James Brett had to leave the field with what appeared to be a significant knee injury. Despite this misfortune, it was Leighton who took the lead ten minutes later – following a catch and drive from a lineout, Mike Robert touched down in the corner. With first choice kicker Brett off injured, the difficult conversion was missed leaving Buzzards 10-5 ahead.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining, Aylesbury once again drew level with a try in the corner, albeit with considerable good fortune as the winger dropped the ball forward as he attempted to ground it. Unfortunately, the referee was momentarily unsighted, and the try stood, leaving the half-time scores level at 10-10.
Now playing downhill, Buzzards started the second half well. An excellent break by centre Eddie Wiggins was stopped by the last defender, five metres from the line, by an illegal high tackle. The referee decided that a penalty, rather than a yellow card or penalty try, was enough sanction. When a further high tackle was made a minute later, a yellow card was shown, but the try-scoring opportunity had gone.
Despite Buzzards early attack, it was Aylesbury who took control. The visitors had probably kicked too much in the first half but now, without the slope, kept the ball in hand more and, as a result, were more threatening. A delicate chip put the winger in almost unopposed after nine minutes, and shortly afterwards the scrum-half scored twice, the second a fine individual try. With two of these tries converted, Buzzards trailed 10-29.
Midway through the half Leighton applied pressure and Eddie Wiggins scored Buzzards’ third try. Jack Cullen’s conversion made the score 17-29. Try as they did, Leighton could not find a fourth try which would have earned at least one and possibly two bonus points. In fact, it was the visitors who scored a late unconverted try to leave the final score 17-34.
There was encouragement in the level of application from a young team and from the promising debuts of Iestyn Hopkin at full back and Harry Nossiter off the bench.
Next week Buzzards travel to Amersham and Chiltern.