BUZZARDS LOSE UNBEATEN RECORD DESPITE LATE COMEBACK
MARKET BOSWORTH 27- 22 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard lost their unbeaten record with defeat away at Leicestershire-based Market Bosworth. However two late tries were enough to secure a losing bonus point and maintain their position as league leaders in Midlands 2 East (South).
With a number of senior players unavailable, the Buzzard team had an unfamiliar look. In particular the scrum, which has been rock solid in recent weeks, was under considerable pressure, limiting the amount and quality of possession.
Buzzards kicked off in dry conditions and with a slight crosswind. Almost immediately they were under pressure and forced to defend close to their line. Whilst a number of attacks from the home forwards were thwarted, the pressure finally told as the ball was passed to the backs for a try under the posts. With the conversion successful Market Bosworth led 7-0 after eleven minutes. Three minutes later Buzzards lost possession in contact and the home side quickly transferred the ball to the right-winger who scored in the corner for a 12-0 lead.
Buzzards were trying to run the majority of their limited possession but the home side’s defence was resolute. It took thirty-two minutes for Leighton to open their account with an Eddie Wiggins penalty to reduce the lead to 12-3. Then finally, with the last play of the half, Buzzards scored one of their trademark tries – breaking from their own half and passing through many phases and numerous pairs of hands, space was created for Jack Kempster to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed to leave the half time score 12-8.
Having started poorly and having limited possession, Leighton were relieved that they were only four points behind at half-time and were encouraged by the fluency of their try. However the home forwards were to have an early influence in the second half. Kicking a penalty to touch after five minutes, they drove a rolling maul over the line to extend their lead to 17-8. Whilst Buzzards had attacking moments – with replacement James Pratt prominent- the home defence stood firm. Then after twenty five minutes the Market Bosworth fly-half carved through the defence to score under the posts. Six minutes later the home side added a further penalty to make the score 27-8.
With limited time left, Buzzards increased the tempo of the game-which, with the benefit of hindsight, they probably should have done earlier – as the home forwards were showing signs of tiring. Buzzards added two tries in quick succession through Ieuan Thomas and Ash Walsh after thirty-eight and forty minutes. Eddie Wiggins converted both to leave Buzzards trailing by 27-22. There was a palpable sense of relief from the home side that there was not time to restart, with Leighton now in the ascendency.
Whilst disappointed to have lost, Buzzards can take positives from a spirited performance and fight-back against a well-drilled opposition. Additionally, the late losing bonus point keeps them a single point clear at the top of the table. Next week Leighton welcome Melton Mowbray to Wrights Meadow.