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Leighton Buzzard lost to a strong Colchester team in their latest home match in London 1 (North) league. Whilst Buzzards showed spirt and produced an encouraging second-half performance, no one was left in doubt about the scale of the task against sides with experience and big budgets.


Leighton kicked off downhill but were quickly on the back foot. A clever kick, utilising the new 50-22 law, gave Colchester an attacking lineout, ten metres from the Buzzard line. Securing possession, the visitors created pressure leading to a try under the posts. With the conversion a formality, Buzzards trailed 0-7 after only 3 minutes.


Undeterred, Buzzards pressed forward and enjoyed pressure of their own. A yellow card was shown to a Colchester centre for obstructing a quick penalty, giving Leighton ten minutes of numerical advantage. Callum Strachan came close from a lineout move and Matt Bloxham made a splendid break from his own twenty-two but Buzzards were unable to open their account.


Halfway through the half, the visitors added a penalty and ten minutes later scored their second try after winning the ball against the head at a Buzzard scrum. A further penalty after thirty-four minutes made the score 0-20. The half ended with controversy – a cross-field kick was gathered by the visitors’ left winger by the corner flag. Whilst there was considerable doubt both about the grounding and touch, the referee awarded a try from fully 35 metres away to leave Leighton 0-25 behind at half-time.


Whether it was a rousing half-time talk or a lingering sense of injustice, Buzzards started the second half with renewed purpose. The forwards, with Russ Orr-Burns prominent, drove forward and after good retention through several phases Owen Forsyth scored. Ewan Starling converted to make the score 7-25 after only three minutes.


Ten minutes later Colchester added another try following excellent play in the backs but back came Leighton again. Jacob Murtagh just failed to gather his charge down with the try-line beckoning but shortly after Buzzards scored their second try. A beautifully weighted kick from Ewan Starling was collected by Tom Winch to score unopposed. Once again, Starling converted to leave the score 14-30. Buzzards came close to narrowing the gap shortly after, with a well-worked lineout move but the referee called play back adjudging that the throw had not gone 5 metres.


Despite a good second-half performance from Leighton , Colchester were a fine side and ended the match the stronger with tries in the thirty-first minute and with the final play of the game. Whilst the result had not been in doubt, these late scores , making the final score 14-42, perhaps put a slightly unkind reflection on Buzzards’ efforts.


Next week Buzzards travel to league leaders Sudbury.