Leighton Buzzard lost for a fifth time in a row on Saturday as they went down 24-11 to Swindon.
It’s a slump which has seen them go from battling for fourth place in South West 1 East, now cast adrift from the leading pack down in ninth.
But though the result was far from ideal, Leighton’s performance was significantly improved compared to recent weeks, with the pack holding up well in both the scrum and at lineouts, giving captain Euan Irwin hope for forthcoming games.
However Swindon used the pitch and weather conditions more effectively and were clinical with their second -half opportunities.
But despite an encouraging start, Leighton were soon behind as Swindon’s left winger scored the first try after five minutes.
The Buzzard pack though were securing possession and a strong burst from Zak Tift was held up just short. However pressure was building and it was not long before Leighton were level – stealing Swindon line-out ball after 13 minutes, the forwards drove over with hooker Greg Falcon securing the touchdown.
Dan David’s conversion hit the post leaving the score tied at 5-5.
Leighton had the best of territory and possession for the rest of the first half but could only secure two further Dan David penalties after 23 and 31 minutes to show for their efforts – leaving the half-time score 11-5 in Buzzards favour.
As in the first half it took Swindon only 5 minutes to score a try. Leighton were perhaps guilty of trying to play too much rugby in running from their own twenty-two and once the ball was turned over, Swindon crashed over.
The conversion put the home side ahead by a point at 12 -11.
Much of the second half followed a similar pattern. Buzzards pack securing possession but Leighton unable to clear against the wind and on a very heavy pitch. When Swindon turned the ball over they were clinical and secured two further tries, the first of which was converted giving them a 24-11 lead.
In the last minute, flanker Ryan Fraser was sent off for illegal use of the boot.
Despite this very disappointing end to the game, Buzzards can take encouragement from their commitment and the excellent display from the pack and were, perhaps, unlucky not to have secured a losing bonus point.
Leighton welcome Trowbridge next week, the side immediately below them.