MARKET HARBOROUGH 35 – 12 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
In what is becoming a recurring theme, Buzzards showed they can compete against the top sides, but once again fell short. After a tight first half, with Leighton gaining a narrow lead, a very impressive second half performance from the home side was too much for the committed Buzzard side.
The heavy midday showers had abated, leaving damp conditions with a strong cross wind as Buzzards kicked off. Leighton started with confidence retaining possession in the Market Harborough half. This brought an early penalty which James Brett kicked to give Buzzards a 0 – 3 lead after only two minutes. This bright start continued with an excellent run by Tom Winch resulting in another penalty. Once again, James Brett, who kicked well in very windy conditions, successfully converted to give Buzzards a 0 – 6 lead.
It was halfway through the half before the home side threatened the Buzzard line, but the final tackle thwarted an overlap opportunity. However, Market Harborough were now beginning to control territory and after twenty six minutes, scored a fine try in the corner. The successful touchline conversion gave the home side a 7 – 6 lead. With five minutes of the half left, Brett kicked his third penalty to restore the Buzzard lead at 7 – 9 and with the home side missing a penalty with the last kick of the half, this remained the score at half-time.
After an even first half, there were warning signs for Buzzards early in the second period. The home side’s set piece became more dominant, securing good ball for their backs to display an attacking threat rarely seen in the first half. After a period of excellent goal-line defence by the committed Buzzard team, the ball was passed wide for an unopposed score in the corner, leaving the home side 14 – 9 ahead.
Buzzards responded with a break from Tom Winch, who was Leighton’s best attacking threat all afternoon. Whilst the line wasn’t threatened, it gave James Brett the opportunity to add his fourth penalty to reduce the deficit to 14 – 12.
Halfway through the half, a brilliant try-saving tackle by Jacob Dove prevented what appeared to be a certain try. However, with the home side now dominant, Dove’s valiant efforts only delayed the inevitable.
Controlling possession and territory allowed the home side to show why they are one of the League’s strongest sides, securing fine tries in the 23rd, 33rd and 38th minutes. With all these converted, this gave the home side a 35 – 12 victory.
Towards the end of the game, there was evidence of the success of the Buzzards’ youth policy, with an excellent break from Ben Cullen and an encouraging debut for Tom Maynard.
Next week Leighton welcome Newbold-on-Avon to Wright’s Meadow.