Leighton Buzzard brought down the curtain on action at Wrights Meadow with a whimper rather than a bang as they lost 34-8 to Salisbury on Saturday.
The visitors, sat in second in the South West 1 East table, were efficient in their victory, showing how to do the basics right while putting Leighton to the sword.
Salisbury kicked off and, whilst the first few minutes were played in midfield, it was soon clear that Buzzard’s lineout was mis-firing. From an over-throw on a Leighton lineout, possession was turned over and a clever grubber from the Salisbury fly-half allowed an easy touch-down. With the conversion Buzzards were 7-0 down after five minutes.
Worse was to follow 10 minutes later - a dropped ball in midfield was intercepted and whilst the initial attack was stopped just short, quick recycling allowed the visitors to score their second try to lead by 12 points.
However, the Buzzards showed real attacking intent – a great break from Darren Braybrook split the Salisbury defence open but when the recycled ball was spun wide the overlap was wasted.
Further opportunities went begging and Leighton’s pressure only told through a Lee Walker penalty in the last minute of the half, to make the score 12-3 at the break.
The second half started well for Buzzards with a succession of driving mauls allowing Michael Lynch to cross the line after four second half minutes. The conversion was missed but with the score now 12-8 Leighton were back in the game.
However Salisbury were not rattled and continued to stick to their conservative but efficient gameplan. Following a rolling maul from a lineout after 13 minutes, they scored a converted try and a penalty six minutes later gave them a 22-8 lead.
Any remaining hope of a Buzzard comeback ended with a yellow card for Tom Byard for an offence at a scrum close to the Buzzard line.
Unsurprisingly, Salisbury chose a scrum from the resulting penalty and under pressure a penalty try was awarded.
With the score now 29-8 with ten minutes left, the large, but athletic, Salisbury pack were in control and it was no surprise when they added a further try following a lineout to leave the final score 34-8.
Despite being well beaten, Leighton remained competitive throughout with Ryan Fraser, Buzzard’s man of the match for the second week running, outstanding.
Buzzards remain eighth and next week travel to ninth-placed Windsor.