Leighton Buzzard’s miserable start to the season continued on Saturday as they went down 29-13 at home to Bedford Athletic - their fourth consecutive defeat.
The league table makes for uncomfortable reading as Leighton sit 12th with just six points to their name, while Athletic maintained their 100 per cent start, making it five wins from five.
With captain Mike Lynch injured, Euan Irwin skippered the side and, having won the toss, chose to play down hill but against the wind.
The game started disastrously for Leighton. Within two minutes the home defence was caught far too narrow and a clever kick made space for the Bedford Athletic winger to score with ease. With the conversion successful, the visitors were 7-0 ahead.
Buzzards responded quickly – with their first set move in the backs Mike Robert was put clear from half way and drew the last defender to give Ben Beaumont the scoring pass. The conversion was missed leaving Leighton trailing 7-5 after eight minutes.
The Buzzard backs were to look dangerous throughout the first half but the pack was coming under pressure from the visitor’s large forwards.
Following a penalty kick to the corner, the Leighton line was threatened by a series of driving mauls that were held up just short. Finally the ball was spread wide and the Bedford Athletic winger entered the line at pace to score a fine try that, with the conversion, made the score 14-5 after 17 minutes.
Maintaining possession through a number of phases, the Buzzards managed to build momentum and were rewarded with a try after 25 minutes.
In a move similar to the visitor’s try eight minutes earlier, Buzzard fullback, Ben Beaumont chose an excellent line and with genuine pace carved the Bedford Athletic defence open to score his, and his team’s second try. With the conversion missed Leighton trailed Bedford 14-10.
Almost immediately Bedford Athletic responded with another try from a fine backs move to make the score 19-10.
Whilst the lead was extended with a long range penalty after 33 minutes, a Darren Braybrook penalty two minutes later pulled Buzzards back to 22-13. As half-time approached, the visitors kicked a penalty into the corner.
Winning the resulting line–out, Bedford Athletic managed to do what they had been threatening earlier and drive the maul over the line for their fourth try. The conversion made the halftime score 29-13.
Buoyed by a rousing half-time talk and with the realisation that not only did they now have the benefit of the wind but that they also had a real cutting edge in the backs, the Buzzards started the second half with renewed optimism.
For much of the second half Buzzards had the benefit of possession and territory but could not break down the visitors defence.
Amazingly after an open first half with excellent tries scored by both sides, the second half remained pointless with neither side coming close to adding to their totals, leaving the final score 29-13 - Leighton’s fourth straight loss.