Leighton Buzzard welcomed Amersham and Chiltern to Wright’s Meadow for the latest round in London League 1 North at the weekend
A great fightback made this a game of two halves with Amersham and Chiltern winning the first half and Leighton Buzzard unlucky to lose the game despite scoring all the points in the second half.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine in contrast to the game at Amersham earlier in the season which was played in gale-force winds and freezing conditions.
Leighton were unable to take the kick-off securely and were immediately under pressure from the visiting pack. Strong defence, which was top become the trademark of the home side throughout the game kept the visitors out but Leighton were unable to secure any meaningful possession to break out of their own half.
Amersham put the first points on the board with slick handling in the backs to lead by seven points after 15 minutes. 5 minutes later the visitors added to their score with a try from the forwards, claims for a forward pass were ignored and the visitors were in the lead and in the driving seat 0-14
Ten minutes later the lead was further extended by the visitors, Leighton were defending well but the fast rucking from the Amersham and Chiltern side eventually wore down the defence to give them space to score. 0-21.
Leighton had a chance with their first real foray into the opposition 22 m area when a penalty for offside was awarded Infront of the post, but the kick drifted wide. The half time score was 0-21 and the home crowd was worried there may be more in the second half.
The Buzzards had different ideas and attacked from the restart. Driving deep into the Amersham half and putting pressure on the visiting team. Amersham then spent ten minutes with only fourteen players as the Amersham flanker was sin-binned for taking the man out beyond the ruck. The visitors were starting to get rattled and more infringements crept into their game.
An interception just inside the visitors’ half allowed Standoff Starling to score. The missed conversion made it 5-21. This was followed a few minutes later by another break by Starling, this time from the back of a ruck. He was caught just short of the line but good recycling by the Buzzards allowed Ollie Taylor to force his way over the line. 10-21.
The penalty count against the visitors was creeping up and a penalty in front of the posts allowed Buzzards to keep up the pressure. More rucks close to the line resulted in 1st team debutant Leigh Draper popping the ball up to Will Batchelor, who was hanging around close to the line. Two steps and he scored in the corner. The try was converted by Starling to make it 17-21 and all to play for.
Leighton were unable to add any additional points and as a result, the final score was Leighton Buzzard 17 Amersham and Chiltern 21.
Leighton came away disappointed to lose this game but they did show they have what it takes to compete at this level. The team needs consistency to convert that competitiveness into league points
Next week Leighton Buzzard travels around the M25 to Brentwood for the next match in the league campaign.