Leighton Buzzard ended their pre-season in style with a dominant 42-7 win over neighbours Tring on Saturday.
With a fine display by the pack, excellent defence and speed and endeavour in attack, this was close to a complete performance.
The only blot on the afternoon was a shoulder injury to centre Darren Braybrook which is likely to keep him out for many months.
Leighton started the match with the benefit of both wind and slope. In the early exchanges Buzzards had little possession as the strong Tring pack and straight running backs controlled the ball without threatening.
The Buzzard pack began to take control with second row Ed Taylor scoring the first try after 12 minute.
Ten minutes later the Buzzard pack pushed a driving maul from 10 metres out over the Tring line, with hooker Greg Falcon touching down . Both tries were converted by Geoff Branwhite, who had an excellent afternoon with the boot, maintaining a 100% kicking success throughout the match.
Just after the half-hour mark Buzzards scored one of their trademark tries from a move which all began inside their half.
Collecting a kick in his own 22, full back Ben Beaumont set off on a dazzling 50 metre run – although finally stopped on the left wing, the ball was recycled and spread wide for Raef Braithwaite to score in the right hand corner and extend the lead further.
There was an intense period of pressure from Tring late in the first half but the Buzzard defence held firm as they took a 21-0 lead into the break with them.
Despite the healthy half time lead, the game was far from won with the wind and slope now in the visitors favour and the first few minutes of the second period were played almost entirely in the Buzzard 22.
However a turnover close to the Leighton line gave Geoff Branwhite the opportunity to make a stunning break – the ball was passed through many hands for Jordan Cummins to score the fourth converted try.
After that, the floodgates were thrown open. Geoff Branwhite added a further individual try before Ben Beaumont scored the sixth try, which his excellent performance merited, to put Buzzards 42- 0.
The resolute Buzzards defence was finally breached with almost the last play of the game from a quickly- tapped penalty allowing Tring’s Tom Whyld to score a consolation try.
The victory acts as perfect preparation for the forthcoming season, which gets underway next Saturday as Leighton travel to Melton Mowbray to star their Midlands 1 East league campaign.