Buzzards crush the Swans to move fourth

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Leighton Buzzard moved up to fourth in South West 1 East with a stunning 41-15 victory on the road against Swanage & Wareham.

After crushing High Wycombe 52-0 last week, Buzzards made it back-to-back victories down south, making light work of Swanage to move within nine points of top spot.

Pitch conditions were good and there was a strong crosswind but the heavy showers had stopped by the time the home side kicked off.

Buzzards were immediately dominant - their good ball retention and strong running were quickly rewarded when captain Euan Irwin crashed over from a quickly taken penalty.

With kicking conditions difficult the conversion was missed but Leighton were 5-0 up after only two minutes.

Buzzards had only to wait another seven minutes to score their second try.

A home side’s clearance kick was well taken by Darren Braybrook on half way – the winger threw a 30 yard cross field pass to full back Geoff Branwhite who carved open the Swans defence and passed for captain Irwin to score his second try.

With Branwhite’s successful conversion, Leighton led 12-0.

Perhaps showing signs of over confidence, Buzzards attempted to run a quick penalty from their own line - they succeeded only in conceding a penalty in front of the posts allowing Swanage and Wareham to reduce the deficit to 12-3.

This minor setback prompted Leighton to adopt a slightly less gung-ho approach kicking for position.

It was from a 5 metre lineout that the pack orchestrated a perfect driving maul for Sam Richbell to touch down.

After only 20 minutes the Buzzards led 17-3.

Steadily the home side were beginning to secure more possession and territory.

Despite losing their captain for 10 minutes due to a yellow card, the Buzzard defence rarely looked like being breached leaving the half time score 17-3.

Within a minute of the second half starting Buzzards secured their bonus point with a fourth try.

Excellent work and fast hands through the backs put left wing Ollie Taylor to out-sprint the cover defence to score under the posts. With the conversion successful the lead was now 24-3.

Straight from the kickoff Tom Byard broke clear but 10 metres out chose to pass rather than surely score himself – the pass went loose and somehow Swanage survived.

Buoyed by this let off the home side began to increase the pressure and were rewarded by a try from a forward drive following a line out which, with the conversion, left the score 24-10.

Suddenly the momentum was with the home side with Buzzards conceding penalties, making mistakes and causing nervousness amongst the travelling support.

Fears increased when Swanage scored a second try- again from a forward drive. The conversion was missed but with 20 minutes left the score 24-15.

However, suddenly realising that a game they were totally in control of was in danger of slipping away, Leighton produced 10 minutes of decisive rugby, scoring three tries, all from their own half.

Firstly, a Tom Byard break was supported by Ollie Taylor who made the scoring pass to Captain Euan Irwin to score his third try.

Minutes later, Geoff Branwhite sprinted 90 metres following an interception and, with ten minutes left, Tom Byard broke from a lineout on halfway to score in the right corner.

In the difficult conditions only one further conversion was successful leaving the final score 41-15 to Leighton Buzzard.

Despite the 15 minute second half wobble this was a fine performance - solid pack and lineout, physical straight running and speed and enterprise in the backs.

With other results going their way the Buzzards moved up 4 places to fourth – although in a very tight league only five points separate third and tenth.