Despite scoring six tries, Leighton Buzzard were taken all the way by lowly Buckingham on Saturday, eventually winning 38-29.
With Buzzards in sixth place in the league table and the home side, languishing third from bottom, the visitors held high hopes of victory.
The Bucks kicked off playing down the slope, and in only the third minute took the lead. Leighton were penalised for not rolling away at a maul and home side fly half James Hulston converted the penalty.
If Buzzards were affronted by their opponents taking the lead, it took them only six minutes to redress the situation. Leighton’s backs attacked from within their own half - a rapid exchange of passes saw full back George Adams slice through the home defence to take the lead. Fly Half Dan David kicked the conversion from wide out.
In the 16th minute number eight Tom Byard extended the visitor’s lead emerging from a heap of bodies following a driving maul. David added the extras to make the score 14–3 to Leighton.
Buckingham were defying their lowly position, with their pack putting the visitor’s defence under pressure and forcing them to give away penalties. From one of these, in the twenty fourth minute, Hulston reduced the arrears.
Back came Buzzards and in the 29th minute, skipper Nick Turney drove over the whitewash. David’s conversion opened the lead to 15 points.
With a minute remaining of the first half remaining, Byard scored his second, and his side’s bonus point securing try.
In the final minute of the half Hulston made no mistake with the penalty kick, but Buzzards were leading by 26-9 at half time.
In the second half, the home pack immediately renewed pressure on the Leighton’s defence forcing flanker Peter White to give away a penalty. Hulston reduced the arrears further with the resultant kick - White was shown a yellow card.
With two minutes remaining of White’s enforced absence, following a further misdemeanour, Byard joined him in ‘the bin’. With an injury making matters worse, Leighton were now down to twelve players.
In the 57th minute Leighton were penalised again - the metronomic Hulston keeping his side in the game by kicking the penalty.
At this stage, Buzzards needed something special to regain control of the game. In the sixtieth it came via centre Euan Irwin, who broke through the home defence to make the score 31–15 in the visitor’s favour.
Back came Buckingham, scoring a penalty try as the Buzzards pack collapsed a maul, with Hulston adding the extras.
In the 77th minute, with their one piece of real quality play in the half, Leighton attacked from deep, their backs combining for Byard to score under the posts. David kicked the conversion.
If the visitors thought their afternoon’s work was done, they received a ‘wake up call’ in the last minute when the home side produced a replica of their earlier score, the referee again awarding a penalty try. Hulston kicked the conversion to make the final score 38-29 in Leighton’s favour.
Buzzards were made to work hard for their bonus point win to keep them sixth.