Leighton Buzzard’s promising start to the year was stopped in it’s tracks by Old Northamptonians as they lost 33-12 on Saturday.
While the difference in the league saw second taking on 12th, Leighton put in a plucky performance but were put down by twice conceding two tries in three minutes both at the beginning and at the end of the match.
Having lost the toss, Buzzards kicked off with the benefit of the slope and slight wind but it didn’t help early on.
After many phases an overlap was engineered and the first try scored. Following the next kick off, the pattern was repeated with the second try coming two minutes later.
With one try converted ON’s led 12-0 after only five minutes and Leighton had hardly touched the ball.
Slowly Buzzards fought their way back into the game – the scrum was solid and the lineout was functioning well.
After 15 minutes a penalty was kicked to the corner and, from the resulting lineout, Ryan Fraser was driven over by the pack. Geoff Branwhite added the conversion to leave Leighton 12-7 down.
Old Northamptonians added a further try of their own from a lineout after 22 minutes before Buzzards produced a copy of their first try from an attacking lineout. Again it was Ryan Fraser who scored and again Geoff Branwhite converted to leave the half-time score 19-14 to the home side.
After the cut and thrust of the first half, the second period was a more dour affair. Whilst ON's had most of the possession, they rarely threatened the Buzzard line, whilst Leighton also struggled to add to their total as defences held firm. With only five points between the teams Buzzards remained tantalisingly in a losing bonus point position and with a chance to secure a victory.
However, as in the first half, two tries in 3 minutes ended Buzzard’s resistance. Fully 30 minutes of the half had been played when the home side finally broke through to score their fourth try which, with the conversion, put them 26-14 ahead. Almost straight from the restart, Buzzards’ attempt to play a more expansive game proved costly as a speculative pass was intercepted for a clear run to under the posts. Again converted, ON's led 33-14.
There was no further scoring as once again both defences held firm. Whilst bitterly disappointed that they didn’t have even a losing bonus point to show for their efforts, the Buzzards can take encouragement from pushing promotion-chasing Old Northamptonians so close.
Buzzards remain in twelfth place and next week welcome eleventh placed Paviors to Wright’s Meadow.