Rugby: Late penalty knocks Buzzards out of the cup

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LEIGHTON Buzzard had another break from league action when they travelled to Kenilworth with hopes of progressing to the next round of the Intermediate Cup.

Unfortunately, despite some great results on the Midlands 2 East (South) front – with four straight wins putting them second in the table – Buzzards couldn’t take that form into the county competition as they lost 20-19, despite racing into a 14-0 lead early on.

Just like in previous weeks, Leighton started the match at a fast pace and Kenilworth were finding it hard just to keep up with the speed that they were moving the ball.

Leighton were unlucky after a few minutes not to take the lead when Dan David kicked just wide with a penalty.

With 20 minutes on the clock, the visitors were awarded another penalty but rather than going for the posts this time they went for the corner instead.

And from the lineout that followed, Kenilworth gave a number of penalties away and were lucky not to have had a man sent to the sin bin as the referee had warned them that the next person would go.

It was from one of these penalties that the very quick thinking Ed Payne tapped the ball and did an outrageous dummy to score out wide. David added the extra points and Buzzards were 7-0 ahead.

Having enjoyed the greater share of the ball, it seemed only a matter of time before Leighton scored another try, and this was to be the case after Kenilworth had given another penalty away, and Buzzards used the same game plan by going for the corner. It was from the lineout that the forwards took good ball and Ryan Fraser was driven through to score, with David against converting the extras.

With half time fast approaching the hosts finally managed to put some phases of rugby together, and it was from a lineout close to the Leighton line that prop forward Dodd got on the scoresheet, O’Brien added the extra points to make the score 14-7 to the visitors at the break.

Having given away a try right on half time, Leighton wanted to start the second half the way they had the first, but Kenilworth had other ideas and started putting some good phases of rugby together again.

And they were rewarded after the hour mark with a good try by full-back Whitehall, again converted by O’Brien to bring the scores level.

With the game going into the final quarter, Leighton should have scored a couple more tries, but the referee gave forward passes and good play came to an end.

Leighton then gave away a penalty just inside their own half and O’Brien again stepped up to slot the ball over the posts, and for the first time in the game Kenilworth were in front.

However, Leighton were not beaten yet and coach Nathan Brookes – who had only come into the side when Ed Ratcliffe had been concussed in the warm up – gave the scoring pass to Aaran Perry to go over in the corner.

David was then unlucky with the conversion that fell just short, so with only a couple of minutes left to play, Leighton found themselves back in front by two points.

Kenilworth knew they had nothing to lose by running the ball from their own 22, and with a nicely worked chip they found themselves back in the Leighton 22. At this point Leighton were trying desperately not to give away a penalty, but the referee seemed to have other ideas and gave Kenilworth a penalty chance to win the game.

O’Brien slotted the ball over to give the hosts the lead by just a single point with only injury time left on the clock.

Leighton were told they had time to kick off, and from the next phases of play they were unlucky not to score, but again they gave away a penalty in the opposition 22 and Kenilworth were able to get the ball off the park to win the game by a single point at 20-19.

So Leighton can now concentrate on the league, with Wellingborough being their next opponents at Wrights Meadow on Saturday.