Leighton Buzzard moved up to eighth in Midlands 1 East after cruising to victory over bottom club Market Rasen & Louth.
The 42-19 win, their fourth of the season, also saw them pick up a bonus point as they ran in six tries against their opponents at Wrights Meadow.
However whilst the final score suggests a convincing performance, this was a far from straightforward victory against the league’s bottom side.
The visitors provided spirited opposition and Leighton’s inability to secure their own set-piece ball for long periods of the game will be a cause for concern.
Buzzards were ahead after only seven minutes. A well-worked forward move after a lineout allowed Jacob Barker the opportunity to touch down to give Buzzards a 5-0 lead.
The visitors were working themselves back into the game and from a Leighton line out that was significantly overthrown, the Buzzard defence was carved open. With the try line beckoning, a last ditch tackle by Arran Perry prevented the try.
Despite a period of pressure the Buzzard defence held firm –but with their scrums and lineouts misfiring, Leighton had only limited possession to work with.
However the backs looked dangerous when in possession and halfway through the half, scored one of their trade mark long distance tries.
Flyhalf Jack Whitehouse stole possession in the tackle, allowing Euan Irwin to break into the opposition half and to pass to fullback Ben Beaumont to score under the posts. Jocky Marshall converted to give Buzzards a 12-0 lead.
Five minutes later another Whitehouse – Irwin combination in midfield set winger Arran Perry into space to score Buzzards’ third try, which again Marshall converted.
Undeterred by these setbacks Market Rasen were continuing to control significant amounts of possession and territory and created space for their left winge , who, having breached the defensive line, touched down under the posts.
The continuing problems in securing Buzzards ball, was providing opportunities to the visitors and, in a nervy end to the half for the home supporters, Market Rasen added a second converted try to leave the halftime score 19-14.
The early part of the second half was very similar to much of the earlier play. Buzzards looked dangerous with their limited possession, although they extended their lead to 22-14 after twelve minutes with a Jocky Marshall penalty.
Four minutes later Buzzards scored another long range try – winning the ball 10 metres from their own line, a spectacular combination of excellent handling, decisive breaks and continual support secured a bonus point try. It was appropriate that Jack Whitehouse, the initiator of the move, should be on hand to score the try to give Buzzards a 27-14 lead.
Effective use of the replacements bench, with Paul Greenway adding substance to the scrum and 17 year old Jacob Murtagh not only adding dynamism, but also improving the lineout throwing meant that the Buzzard set-piece was looking more solid than at any earlier point.
Jordan Cummings added a fifth try following a drive from a lineout to give Buzzards a 32-14 lead.
But back came Market Rasen with a try in the corner following strong running from their scrum half.
With the lead only 13 points at 32-19, and ten minutes left, Buzzards took the opportunity for Darren Braybrook to kick a penalty to take the lead to 35-19 and leave Market Rasen the improbable target of at least three scores to win the game.
In fact there was only time for Buzzards to score their sixth try and the fourth from inside their half.
This time Arran Perry made the decisive break and, having made sixty metres, was held up just short.
It says much about the mobility of the Buzzard pack and fitness levels that it was a front row forward, captain Michael Lynch who was on hand to take the try-scoring pass. Darren Braybrook converted to make the final score 42-19.
Buzzard’s next game is a Bedfordshire Cup game away at Bedford Swifts on Saturday November 18, kick off 2:15pm