INEXPERIENCED BUZZARDS SLIP TO WARM UP DEFEAT
Leighton Buzzard travelled to Beaconsfield for their final warm-up prior to the commencement of the Midlands 1 East league season. With limited availability due to holidays, the Buzzard side was inexperienced and, despite being beaten, provided new coach Tom Mowbray with a number of encouraging points. The forwards scored three tries, the backs looked dangerous at times and seventeen year-old Jacob Murtagh made a very promising debut.
Kicking off on a very warm afternoon, Leighton, as often last season, made a slow start. Although a last ditch tackle prevented an opening try in the corner after five minutes, Buzzards were unable to clear and the home side drove over from a lineout to score in the corner.
Slowly the Buzzards warmed to their task. The forwards, with Ash Walsh and Dan Baroux prominent, were now driving forward and, with limited possession, Arran Perry was looking dangerous in the backs although more than once the decisive pass didn’t go to hand.
Buzzards were being frustrated by Beaconsfield’s tactics at the breakdown. After a number of penalties the referee’s patience snapped with the home team’s hooker being shown a yellow card. The Buzzard pack were now gaining ascendancy and, after a period of pressure drove over the line with Leighton’s French back row player Timothei Vampouille claiming the touchdown. Darren Braybrook added the conversion.
The second half was more competitive following a a period of Buzzard pressure – with more experience of playing together Buzzards would surely have taken one of the earlier chances but finally Richie Graydon drove over. Once again, Darren Braybrook, who was playing at fly half for the first time, converted .
Any hope of a fightback was swiftly dismissed. Whilst the initial Beaconsfield attack was held up over the line, the resulting scrum collapsed and the referee awarded a penalty try.
Once again the Buzzard pack drove forward and were unlucky not to have a penalty try as the home side collapsed a scrum. Choosing to take another scrum from the resulting penalty, Dan Baroux touched down with four minutes left.
Leighton remained in the ascendancy but were unable to add to their score when the match finished two minutes early following a head injury to a Beaconsfield player.
Despite the defeat there were many encouraging signs and, with players returning and stronger availability, Buzzards can look forward to welcoming promoted Oundle for the first league game of the season next Saturday.