Leighton Buzzard ran riot against bottom side Swanage & Wareham on Saturday, running in a league record points score to win 67-12.
Running in 10 tries, eight of which came from inside their own half, the haul of points is the highest scored in South West 1 East, and moves Leighton to within a point of Windsor in eighth spot.
It was a memorable day for outside centre Darren Braybrook who scored five tries including a 10 minute second-half hat-trick.
The Buzzards were boosted by the return of Tom Byard and Ed Ratcliffe, following long term injuries, and so, for the first time for some months, could select a team close to full strength. They also gave a first team debut to 18-year-old Jake Hodges, at scrum-half, another product of the Buzzards excellent colts system.
The visitors won the toss but chose to play up the slope and against the wind in the first half. Early exchanges were all in the Swanage half but the visitors were defending resolutely and Buzzards only had a Dan David penalty after 6 minutes to show for their endeavours. However a clean break in midfield after 16 minutes led to a fine individual try for Darren Braybrook which, with Dan David’s conversion gave the Buzzards a 10-0 lead.
In the next 10 minutes the Buzzards scored three more tries. Firstly, Geoff Branwhite made an excellent break from inside his half and, drawing the last defender passed for winger Ben Beaumont to score. Three minutes later and again from their own half, slick interplay between Euan Irwin and Geoff Branwhite provided the opportunity for winger Ollie Taylor to score his first try.
Only four minutes later captain Euan Irwin made the decisive break for his centre partner Darren Braybrook to score his second try. With Dan David converting two of these tries Buzzards led 29-0 and had secured the bonus point after only 27 minutes.
With the forwards controlling the set piece and Jake Hodges, who had a hugely promising debut, providing a fast and precise service at scrum half, the backs had excellent ball to work with. Despite the quality of the earlier tries they saved the best to last when a move from their own half passed through many hands for Ollie Taylor to score his second try. Dan David, who again kicked well throughout the afternoon, converted for the Buzzards to lead 36-0.
Credit to Swanage and Wareham – with the last play of the half they scored their first try – after a period of pressure the ball went wide for their centre to put a well-judged kick behind the home defence for their winger to touch down to make the half-time score 36-5.
It took only three minutes of the second half for Buzzards next try - Euan Irwin collected a Swanage kick 10 metres from his own line and started a move, taken on by Ryan Fraser, for Ben Beaumont to score in the corner (41-5).
Ten minutes later Beaumont completed his hat trick try which, with Dan David’s conversion, made the score 48-5.
Between 20 and 30 minutes of the second half, the now rampant Buzzards scored 3 more tries – all from their own half and all finished by man of the match, Darren Braybrook. With two further conversions from Dan David, Leighton led 67-5.
As in the first half, the visitors finished strongly scoring a consolation try under the posts which, with the conversion, left the final score 67-12.
A return to the early season form and Leighton’s most complete performance of the season leaves Buzzards in ninth place, but only two points off seventh place and twenty points above tenth.
After the Easter break, Buzzards travel to Oxfordshire based Grove , who are currently in twelfth place.