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Buzzards fail to hold on


Leighton Buzzard lost their third league game in a row, this time away at Chingford – but as in all the previous defeats the Buzzards were unable to hold on to the lead. Taking the lead after ten minutes, Leighton held the advantage for over an hour, before a large Chingford team finally made their physicality pay. 

Leighton kicked off and, after only two minutes, had a chance to take the lead, but Ewan Starling’s penalty attempt drifted just wide. Immediately, the home side were on the attack, with their scrum dominating the set-piece. But Buzzards defended bravely and, when the chance, came they counterattacked with speed deep into Chingford territory.  When Buzzard possession was illegally halted, Ewan Starling converted the penalty to give Buzzards a 3-0 lead after ten minutes. 

Again, the Buzzard line was put under pressure, and it was testament to Leighton’s commitment in defence that their try line was not breached. Slowly as the half developed, Buzzards were gaining more territory and the scrum, whilst still under pressure, was more stable. Although both sides were showing attacking intent, albeit with contrasting styles, it was the two sides defence that dominated. Finally, at the end of the half Ben Beaumont was obstructed as he chased his own kick and Ewan Starling converted the penalty to give Buzzards 6-0 lead at half-time. 

Leighton came very close to extending their lead after 5 minutes of the second half. Both touch-judges raised their flags to signify a successful penalty attempt, but with a hesitancy that encouraged the referee to over-rule and disallow the score. 

As with the later stages of the first half, much of the second period was played in midfield. Chingford were determined to use their huge pack, although Buzzards stood firm, with no. 8 Callum Strachan prominent in matching their physicality. When in possession, Buzzards would kick for space or try to move the ball wide to utilise the speed of the back three of Ben Beaumont, Tom Winch and Ellis Bisgrove.     

Finally, after twenty-three minutes of the half, the Buzzard defensive wall broke. Perhaps surprised by a quickly taken penalty, a break in midfield got behind the Leighton defence to score under the posts. With the conversion a formality, Chingford took the lead 7-6, with just over fifteen minutes left. Now with their tails up, and only four minutes later, the home side put together a good move to score in the left corner to extend their advantage to 14-6. 

The game was now opening up and Buzzards came close to scoring after a break by Tom Winch with only five minutes left. However, and similar to the previous week, the ball was lost in an over-ambitious attack from deep defence, allowing Chingford to add a third try, with the final play of the match. This left the final score 21-6, which did not reflect Buzzards’ contribution to a game they led for 63 minutes.

Leighton can be proud of their spirit, commitment and defence from this match but they need to turn this into points when they welcome bottom-side Norwich to Wright’s Meadow next Saturday.