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Due to the frozen conditions, Leighton Buzzard’s latest league game, against promotion-chasing Lutterworth, was switched to the all-weather pitch at Harpenden. Whilst the lines were cleared, the rest of the pitch was covered in snow although underfoot conditions were playable.

Lutterworth kicked off in bitterly cold conditions on a still, dry evening under floodlights. Leighton started well and showed an intention to run when possible. However, as the half developed, it was Lutterworth who dominated possession and territory.

In the middle period of the half, the visitors were camped in the Buzzard twenty-two with a succession of attacking scrums. However, the Leighton defence gave an early indication of their resolve, thwarting numerous attacks and, on more than one occasion, holding the ball up as Lutterworth appeared to cross the line.

When they had possession Buzzards showed attacking intent, without threatening the line, leaving the half-time score 0-0.

Leighton started the second half well – a break by Ollie Taylor and Jack Kempster was stopped deep into Lutterworth territory. Shortly afterwards, the deadlock was broken when Buzzard scrum-half James Brett, nervelessly slotted a penalty kick. Twelve minutes into the half, Leighton led 3-0.

Following the opening score, most of the attacking came from Lutterworth, although Buzzards had opportunities, notably following an Eddie Wiggins kick chase.

As the minutes ticked away, the persistence of the Lutterworth attack intensified, matched by the commitment of a determined Buzzard defence. With ten minutes left, Buzzard prop Joe Healy was injured and unable to continue, leaving the re-organised Leighton pack under intense pressure.

In the final minutes Lutterworth had a couple of kickable penalties – bravely they decided to go for the win rather than accept a draw. With the clock well into injury time it looked as if Buzzards’ rear-guard action would take the victory. However, with a bitter denouement, Lutterworth squeezed over in the corner, and with the last action of the game, added the conversion to leave the final score 3-7.

Buzzards were left with a losing bonus point and can take heart from an inspired defensive operation against the new league leaders.

After a Christmas and New year break, Buzzards are away to Market Harborough on Jan 7th.