Leighton Buzzard 20 Leicester Forest 19
Leighton Buzzard welcomed second place Leicester Forest in a top of the table clash on Saturday at Wright’s Meadow. Earlier in the season Leighton had won well away at Leicester Forest on their Artificial Surface so were hopeful of another win at home. The visitors were determined to make a game of it and the result was a closely fought contest right up to the last minutes.
The opening twenty minutes saw the defence tested at both ends of the park as both sides attacked from deep and fought for every scrap. Buzzards just about started the scoring early on when Captain for the Day Euan Irwin broke down the left side of the park but a missed pass let off the visitors. The deadlock was eventually broken after 27 minutes when Zak Tift broke away on his own ten metre line to run the length of the park to score. The missed conversion made it 5-0. Forest were not shaken and attacked from the restart. A break down the wing was well taken and a smooth pass to the winger gave them their first points . Conversion gave them a 5-7 lead on the 30 minute mark.
Buzzards came back strong and quick thinking from Fly Half Starling meant he took a short penalty just inside the visitors’ half, a kick ahead bounced just short of the visiting winger and James Pratt came at speed to pick up the ball on the bounce and score in the corner. 10-7
The action for the first half was not over and Forest added another score before the break to lead 10-14 at half time.
In the second half Buzzards were working up the pitch when Winger Wiggins broke through the middle and the Buzzards drove deep into the visitors 22m area, a quick pick up from scrum half Brett put him in under the posts to retake the lead. 15-14. Starling added the points 17-15.
At the restart Buzzards were unable to gather the ball and Forest pounced to score out wide to make it 17 – 19 with 30 minutes still to play. Forest showed some good attacking skills but the Buzzard defence held strong, holding the attacking side up over the line twice before managing to clear the home lines.
For the remainder of the half both sides played good entertaining rugby but were unable to bother the scorer until the dying minutes of the game. Under pressure in their twenty two area Forest tried to clear their lines with a kick but replacement flanker Adam Stacey, returning after a long lay off due to injury, charge down the kick and hooker Ash Walsh forced the penalty just to the side of the posts with minutes left on the clock. Starling stepped up to take the points and the lead 20-19, which turned out to be the final score.
Overall a great game of rugby, which either side could have won but another notch on the Buzzards belt. Captain Irwin commented that “this was the best way to prepare for next weeks cup Final when we welcome Malvern and a really enjoyable game to play in”.
Next weeks game in the RFU Intermediate cup Final is at Leighton Buzzards Ground outside Stanbridge with a 2pm kick off. Buses are running from the town as there is limited parking on the day and entry for over 16s is £5. All welcome