Leighton blown off course by second half try bonanza

Pic by Steve Draper
Pic by Steve Draper
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Leighton Buzzard’s brilliant win over Towcestrians last week was eclipsed as they went down 30-3 to Trowbridge on Saturday

The sides were separated by just one place in South West 1 East, but Trowbridge were comfortably the better side.

The strong wind blowing down the pitch meant that Leighton Buzzard were going to find it difficult to kick their way out of trouble in the first half, and so it turned out. Despite having the majority of possession in the first ten minutes all Leighton could do was run at a strong home defensive line.

The visitors managed to work their way into the Trowbridge half on a number of occasions but were unable to get near the try line for the first points.

In fact it was Trowbridge who managed to score first when turnover ball from a breakdown was spun wide to allow the fast left winger to score out wide.

The conversion was missed, as the home side took a 5-0 lead.

Leighton came back strongly and again forced their way into the Trowbridge 22 meter area and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts which was converted by Dan David. The game then settled into a period where neither side dominated but two penalties to the home side allowed the captain to add to the points and make the score 11-5. One kick was from the half way line managed to cross the bar with a little help from the strong wind.

There were a number of penalties against the home side but it was to everyone’s surprise when the first yellow card was given against Leighton centre Irwin.

This was despite a warning to the home side just before by the referee on the number of penalties they were giving away. This was quickly followed by two yellows for Trowbridge.

In the second half Trowbridge managed to find a way to play against the wind and broke through to score three unanswered tries, two of them converted without reply. The home side had their tales up and going into the last twenty minutes things were starting to look ominous for Leighton but they fought back and managed to stem the flood of the home attack and came close a number of times but were not clinical in attack and there were too many missed tackles and dropped passes which meant the visitors were unable to put any points on the board.

There was better news for the 2nds though, as they comfortably saw off Stockwood Park in a one-sided 70-10 drubbing.

Leighton’s starting line up contained four ‘products’ of the Academy. Will Batchelor and Patrick Fraser were in the Second Row, whilst Ben Beaumont and Ieuan Thomas were at Centre and Left Wing respectively.

The Buzzards started the game playing into a strong wind. The opening exchanges were fairly even as Stockwood’s sizeable pack sought to overcome the more expansive game plan favoured by the visitors.

It took some time for Leighton’s team to gel, but in the 15th minute Flanker Jacob Barker broke through the home defence, to set up Full Back Lee Draper for the opening try. Fly Half James Pratt kicked the conversion.

Only a minute later Leighton were penalised allowing the Stockwood Fly Half to reduce the arrears with a successful penalty kick.

Back came Buzzards, and in the 18th minute winger Kyle Knott finished off some good work by the backs with the second try. Pratt added the extra points with the conversion.

It was now all one way, with tries coming at regular intervals. Centre Luke Stanbridge (22 minutes), Scrum Half Charlie Esdon (24 minutes, Pratt conversion), Stanbridge (35 and 40 minutes) to secure his hat trick.

At half time the score was 36–3 in Leighton’s favour.

The second half started in much the same vein. After only two minutes after the restart, following a rapid counter attack, centre Ben Beaumont waltzed through to touch down under the posts. Esdon kicked the conversion. Two minutes later, Flanker James Davies was the next Leighton player to add his name to the score sheet.

To their credit Stockwood never gave up and in the 55th minute, following a well controlled driving maul, scored a pushover try, followed by a successful conversion.

However, normal service was resumed two minutes later when replacement scrum half James Ward finished off more good work from the backs. A minute later Esdon scored his second try and kicked the conversion. Ward scored his second try in the 65th minute.

The best was saved till last when winger Ieuan Thomas scorched down the left wing leaving home defenders in his wake to release Pratt for the final try.