Buzzards do the double over Wycombe

Wills Messum climbs highest against Wycombe. Pic: Steve Draper

Wills Messum climbs highest against Wycombe. Pic: Steve Draper

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Leighton Buzzard completed the double over High Wycombe on Saturday, winning 28-23 as they look to finish the season strongly.

A mid-season slump has seen Buzzards drop down the South West 1 East table to ninth, but back-to-back wins has seen them close the gap to the pack ahead to five points.

Sam Richbell

Sam Richbell

They were made to work for their victory against High Wycombe though, and were never given time to relax.

Whilst there were many moments of fine play by The Buzzards, this was, in truth, a disjointed display, with nervousness creeping in late in the day as they fought to hold on.

The early exchanges were played mostly in midfield although a penalty for an infringement at the breakdown allowed the home side to take a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes.

As in recent weeks Leighton’s pack looked strong, pushing the Wycombe scrum back and dominating the line out with Wills Messum and Zak Tift to the fore.

However too much ball was kicked away allowing the home team to attack through hard, straight running which the Buzzards defended without undue concern.

When Leighton attacked wide they looked dangerous but overlaps were wasted or passes dropped.

Finally pressure told - a Dan David penalty equalled the score at 3-3 after 22 minutes.

In the next attack no. 8 Sam Richbell, shrugged off a number of attempted tacklers to run fully 30 metres to score a fine individual try under the posts. With Dan David’s conversion Buzzards were 10-7 ahead.

Only three minutes later Buzzards had scored again – following an initial break from Geoff Branwhite, Darren Braybrook chipped through for winger Ollie Taylor to score in the corner.

Dan David converted from the touchline to put Leighton 17-3 ahead.

Leighton appeared to be in control – the forwards on top in the set piece and the backs looking threatening.

Such was the confidence that a penalty in front of the home team’s posts was run rather than taking the easy option of three points.

The message appeared to be that Buzzards had the game under control and were looking for bonus point tries.

Whether this riled the home team is unclear but they fought back with a penalty after 30 minutes - then with half-time approaching a charged down kick allowed High Wycombe to score a converted try to leave the home side only trailing by four points, 13 -17, at half-time.

A further High Wycombe penalty reduced the lead to a single point early in the second half but Buzzard scored their third try through Wills Messum after 52 minutes. The conversion was missed, leaving the score 22-16.

However the lead was not to last long - following an offence at a ruck close to the Buzzard line, Sam Richbell was shown a yellow card. Sensing their moment High Wycombe took a tap penalty and drove over for a try, which with the conversion put them in front, 23-22.

Now potentially facing defeat in a game they apparently had been in control of, Buzzards raised their tempo.

Whilst they could not score a further try, the home side were now being penalised on a regular basis for offside allowing Buzzards more control over possession and territory.

From two such home side indiscretions after 60 and 69 minutes, Dan David was able to kick the penalties to give Buzzards a 28-23 lead ; a lead they retained to full-time.