Buzzards give Newbury the Blues

Tom Byard. Pic: Steve Draper.
Tom Byard. Pic: Steve Draper.

Leighton Buzzard returned to winning ways on Saturday with a narrow 18-12 win over Newbury Blues.

Having slipped to a surprising defeat to Maidenhead last week, Buzzards turned the tables on Newbury, who started the day two places above them in the table.

Leighton welcomed back Number 8 Tom Byard after a spell on the treatment table, and making his league debut, Lock Forward Sean Austerberry for the visit of Newbury.

In the opening stages, and playing down the slope, The Buzzards hoped to take the game to their loftier opponents.

However, conceding a number of penalties allowed the Berkshire side to set up camp inside the home 22.

From one of the penalties, Newbury kicked for a line out and from the throw, secured the ball, set up a maul and drove over the try line for Blues Number 8 Josh Winfield to open the scoring.

Buoyed by their early success Newbury spent the next ten minutes in close proximity to the Leighton try line.

However, for all their efforts, stout defence from Buzzards rear guard saw the scoreboard remain unchanged.

Indeed it was the home side who grew in confidence with their scrummage driving the visitors back again and again.

In the mid-part of the half play was evenly matched and keenly contested.

Indeed it wasn’t until the 28th minute that the scorer was called upon to renew his duties.

Blues were penalised for offside and home Fly Half Dan David reduced the arrears with the penalty kick.

The game returned to the to and fro of the earlier stages of the half, but Buzzards were gaining in confidence.

In their dreams the home side would have liked to go into the interval in the ascendency.

A minute before half time their dreams came true.

From a line out close to the visitor’s line, they set up a driving maul and as they crossed the whitewash scrum half Ed Ratcliffe was on hand to fall on the ball and give the home side the lead.

With the conversion missed, Buzzards went into the interval leading by eight points to five.

The second half began with the visitors attacking and only two minutes after the restart they had the opportunity to bring the scores level.

Leighton were penalised for not rolling away. However, the Blues kicker was wide of the mark with the penalty kick.

The contest was evenly matched with both sides not prepared to give an inch. However, in the 50th minute it was Newbury who took advantage of some hesitancy in Buzzard’s defence, flanker Josh Love securing possession to burst through and score a second try.

The conversion kick was successful, putting the visitors into a 12-8 lead.

Still Leighton were not to be denied. Their pack continued to secure good ball for the backs, with Man of the Match Byard outstanding.

Now the backs were putting the visitor’s defence under constant pressure.

In the 60 minute, having spurned earlier scoring opportunities, centre Euan Irwin penetrated the visitor’s defence to feed winger Graham Magill who was on hand to touch down and put his side back in the lead. The conversion attempt was wide.

With only one point separating the sides, everything was to play for, with both sides giving their all.

However it was the visitors who ‘blinked’.

Again the home pack were setting up quality ball for Ratcliffe to supply his backs.

Maximising this possession the three quarters spun the ball across the line creating space wide out right for Magill to dive over for his second try.

David just failed with the conversion attempt.

With eight minutes left on the clock, Newbury were still within a converted try of taking the spoils.

However, Leighton remained in control running out winners by 18-12.

The result allowed Swindon to leap-frog Newbury into fourth in the league, with sixth place Leighton set to take them on next Saturday.