Buzzards U16s endure mud bath
32 hours of rain makes 'real' rugby impossible.
Leighton Buzzard U16 5
Daventry U16 5
it had been raining heavily prior to kick off in this fixture at Daventry Rugby Football Club and the Leighton Buzzard team consisting of 16 players, 10 forwards and 6 backs, turned up in the middle of a what was apparently the 32nd hour of rain, to have a go at the locals.
During the warm up, it became clear that most of the players were going to have to play in positions that were alien to the Buzzards, there being no hooker (who apparently got lost on the way to the game), nor a specialist scrum half. Still, never ones to panic, the Leighton lads sorted a semblance of a squad and started the game against the wind and a Daventry side containing two 17 year olds.
Within two minutes of slipping, sliding and general mistake ridden rugby, it became difficult to discern one team from the other in the mud, apart from Nathan Hood at full back, who managed to remain absolutely spotless until the 23rd minute, when, the coaching staff decided to punish his lack of enthusiasm for the fray, by swapping around the temporary starting scrum half DK Keating, with KJ Evans, with Nathan moving onto the wing, Tom Byard (belligerent and skilful) into the melee at flanker and Overton (far too talented by half) filling in at full back. Within five minutes of the changes, continued pressure from the Daventry forwards eventually resulted in a try despite excellent defensive work from the Buzzards, who repelled a multitude of attacks aided by some dubious decisions and a lack of understanding of the laws of rugby union, by the adjudicator. The back row and fringe defence during this period of sustained pressure, was excellent, it looked like the Buzzards had been coached by Sean Edwards at some point.
The referee allowed Daventry to progress towards the Buzzard line at the end of the half, despite an offside controversy, only for Buzzards to finally be awarded a penalty in their favour.
The lineout throughout the first half was a bit of a lottery meaning that either Tom Overton, Mark Linguard or "Tank" Hunt, took turns at throwing the ball in and the brave Warren Luff, playing at hooker for the first time since U12s, was struggling to remember the technique involved in striking the ball back Buzzard's way. KJ Evans was superb throughout the game in shifting mauls forwards and taking on the opposition over the gain line.
The scrummage in the first half was excellent, with Guy 'Tank' Hunt and Calum Holmes, ably supported by the excellent Mark Harris and the workhorse Tom Jones, providing a momentum, which continued in the second half of the game.
Ten minutes into the second half sustained pressure on the Daventry line resulted in a scrum on the five metre, defending team put in. Leighton once again pushed Daventry backwards resulting in a hurried pass by the scrum half which to everybody on the touchline appeared to be knocked on by the fly half in his own in-goal area, but the referee had different ideas and allowed the fly half to pick the ball up and continue to kick the ball into touch for a lineout to Buzzards on the attacking 22. Tank Hunt took the throw which was won at the front by Mark Linguard, playing another mercurial game, and the ball was passed through the hands to James Earle who came back towards his forwards in order to gain support.
The ball was now on the 10m line and in the ensuing ruck, on the rare occasion the referee didn't blow as the ball emerged on the Buzzard side, Tom Jones picked and drove, slipping two fringe tackles, then opened his legs to run in like a gazelle, to score just to the right of the posts. James Earle lined the conversion up and nearly took out the corner flag as his supporting leg gave way in the mire, still 5-5 with twenty minutes to go.
Five minutes later and still in the Daventry half, Buzzards won a good ruck ball having turned the Daventry player in the tackle and shipped the ball wide through the hands to Conrad Braithwaite, who was tackled ten metres from the Daventry whitewash. Buzzards won good ball and KJ Evans, playing scrum half, passed the ball to James Earle, who broke a tackle in which he fell over. He got back up, having not been held, and made his way to the try line only for the referee to blow again, with a penalty to Daventry, for, in his opinion, not releasing the ball on the floor.
The remainder of the game was memorable for Buzzards' control of the ball from 1-15, the tackling of the back row and the back three and DK Keating's return for Mark Linguard (suffering from a sore back and frostbite to extremities), which heralded a period of tackling which Brian Jacks would have been proud of. A well deserved draw in extremely trying circumstances. Leighton Buzzard were:
Guy 'Tank' Hunt, Warren Luff, Calum Holmes, Mark Harris, Tom Jones, Scott Pollit-Evans, Mark Linguard, Tom Overton, DK Keating, George Adams, James Earle, Conrad Braithwaite, Chris Booth, KJ Evans, Nathan Hood, Tom Byard.
*A number of young Buzzard players have been invited to joint the East Midlands U17 squad for the season and hope to be selected to play in the prestigious international U17 festival in Rovigo, Italy, in May.
George Micans, Alex Brooks and James Davies from the Buzzards U17s team have been joined by a number of players from this season successful U16 squad, Chris Wood, George Messum, Tom Pratt and Tom Overton, who have already represented the East Midlands U16 side, earlier this seasons in the County championships. They are now joined by their U16 team mates Karl Evans and Tom Cormie, who have both forced their way into contention through excellent performances for the Bedfordshire U16s.
The squads first outing of the season last night at Luton, saw East Midlands defeat Leicestershire, 15-10, with the visitors scoring an injury time consolation try, in a game totally dominated by home team.
Chris Woods, who recently played for the Midlands division at U16 level, was honoured with the captaincy on the night, with George Micans acting as his vice captain and leading the forward pack. They were ably supported by messers Messum, Brooks, Cormie and Pratt, in this the first game of the current campaign.
Karl Evans had to drop out due to a recently sustained wrist injury, but is determined to take his chance along with Tom Overton and James Davies when East Midlands play their next match against Warwickshire, at Kettering, on Sunday April 13.
Congratulations to all the players, from all members of the Mini and Junior section of Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club.
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west