‘Superb’ Leighton win two in a row to breathe life back into their season

Leighton vs Huntingdon'Pic: Steve Draper
Leighton vs Huntingdon'Pic: Steve Draper

Leighton Buzzard head coach Tom Mowbray praised his side’s game management as they made it back-to-back wins on Saturday.

Having lost five in a row before their win over Bugbrooke last week, Leighton were 25-18 winners over Huntingdon to move up to eighth in Midlands 1 East.

Mowbray felt his side were superb in their performance on Saturday and were good value for their victory.

“We’ve been working so hard on our game management over the last few weeks and we put in a superb performance to come away with the win.

“A special mention has to go to Jack Whitehouse for how he controlled the game . Also, Reece Harris-Smith put in a man mountain effort in defence and attack.

“The boys need a well deserved rest this week and we look forward to welcoming Kettering to Wright’s Meadow on February 17.”

In a tight opening to the first half, only an Ollie Taylor penalty after nine minutes was the difference between the sides before Huntingdon equalised midway through.

As the half developed, the Buzzard scrum with Jon Henkes solid at tight head, was beginning to take control over their larger opponents and were to win a number of scrums against the head throughout the afternoon.

Fly–half Jack Whitehouse was giving Buzzard territory with his long angled kicks but it was two moments of individual brilliance in three minutes from Whitehouse that gave Leighton a significant lead.

After 32 minutes he jinked his way through the home side defence to score under the posts – shortly afterwards he nearly repeated the trick but, when tackled just short, passed to James Brett to score.

There was more than a hint of a forward pass in the second try, although the referee was well- positioned with a clear view and awarded the try. Both tries were converted by Ollie Taylor to give Leighton a 17-3 lead.

Huntingdon quickly responded with a try – driving over from a five metre lineout – the successful conversion making the halftime score 17-10.

A Huntingdon penalty early in the second half had cut the Buzzard lead to four points.

However when a Buzzard attack was stopped illegally in the Huntingdon twenty-two, the referee showed the home side’s left winger a yellow card.

The penalty gave Ollie Taylor the opportunity to restore Leighton’s seven point lead and numerical advantage gave Jack Whitehouse the opportunity to kick long into the space vacated by the absent winger.

As pressure grew from territory, the Buzzard pack drove over with Greg Falcon scoring Leighton’s third try. The difficult conversion was missed but the lead was now 25-13.

However Huntingdon continued to be competitive and their lineout, with their captain particularly prominent, continued to be a good source of possession.

With Buzzards infringing, when caught in possession trying to run the ball from their own half, the home side kicked for the corner.

With the Buzzard line under pressure, Ash Walsh was shown a yellow card. Once again the home side kicked for the corner and almost inevitably drove over. With the conversion missed, Leighton led 25-18 with 12 minutes left.

Whilst the home side knew that a converted try that would level the game, the Buzzard line was rarely threatened to leave the final score 25-18.

This victory moves Leighton into eighth place. Buzzards have a week off from league action before welcoming fourth-placed Kettering to Wrights Meadow in two weeks time.