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Second Half collapse costs Buzzards


Leighton Buzzard’s good recent form deserted them in the second-half of their latest league game away at Kettering. Having controlled the first half and gained a deserved lead by half time, they allowed the apparently inspired home team to score twenty second-half points without reply.

Buzzards kicked off in dry and still conditions. Despite Leighton having not conceded a try in their last two league games, it took the home side only five minutes to breach the Buzzard defence. Over-ambitiously running the ball from their own twenty-two, Leighton conceded the first of many penalties at the breakdown. This allowed Kettering to kick for the corner and put pressure on the Buzzard line. Whilst the initial defence held firm, the home side finally spread the ball wide to score in the corner. With the conversion missed, Kettering led 5-0.

This initial set back seemed to spur Leighton – upping the tempo they controlled much of the next thirty minutes. Their initial score followed a fine break by Ollie Taylor and the recycled ball giving Mike Robert the opportunity to touch down. James Brett converted to put Buzzards ahead 5-7. Brett missed the opportunity to put Leighton further ahead with a long, but straight penalty attempt, drifting wide.

However, pressure was beginning to tell and finally, with ten minutes left of the half, captain Owen Forsythe drove over for a deserved second try. Again, James Brett converted, to extend the lead to 5-14. Despite a period of late pressure from Kettering, this remained the score at half-time.

Whatever was said at half-time, Kettering were appeared a different side in the second half. Their cause was helped by a needless penalty for obstruction from the kick off allowing the home side immediately to cut the deficit to 8-14. As the half developed, Kettering were now playing with a speed and commitment rarely seen in the first half. They did seem certain to score after fifteen minutes but knocked-on as they crossed the line. However, two minutes later, they took a 15-14 lead with a converted try in the corner.

Buzzards discipline was now causing problems as the penalty count rose and after twenty-three minutes the referee gave a final warning of potential yellow cards if the indiscretions continued. Shortly afterwards Kettering drove over, which with the conversion made the score 22-14. With ten minutes left, a penalty extended the lead to 25-14.

Try as they did, Buzzards seemed strangely unable to raise their game and, whilst they had opportunities, they rarely threatened the line. Tom Winch might have scored with a clever kick ahead but was tripped, earning the miscreant a yellow card. However as this was with only one minute left , there was little time to benefit from the numerical advantage.

Next week, Buzzards travel to league leaders, Old Northamptonians, knowing they need to raise their game.