Leighton Buzzard’s difficult run of fixtures against the league’s top sides continued with defeat away at second-placed Bedford Athletic.
The home team, universally known as Beds Ath, has averaged in excess of 60 points in their home league games prior to Saturday, fully illustrating the scale of Buzzards’ task.
The weather was cold and wet as Leighton kicked off in muddy and heavy conditions. Early pressure and a good break gave Beds Ath a 7-0 lead after three minutes.
Straight from the kick-off, the Beds Ath no. 8, rampaged forward and the large home pack pinned Buzzards back deep in their half. Leighton defended well but ultimately the pressure told, with the Beds Ath left winger joining the line to score under the posts. After nine minutes Buzzards were 14-0 behind.
Leighton began to establish themselves – whilst the pack was under pressure they were securing their own ball and the backs mixing strong running with well judged kicking game.
After 13 minutes a chance to reduce the lead was missed when a Darren Braybrook penalty drifted wide. Shortly afterwards, Beds Ath scored a penalty of their own to extend the lead to 17-0.
Late in the half, Buzzards missed another penalty, and their chance of getting on the scoreboard.
The second half was only two minutes old when prop Kristian Hastings suffered a shoulder injury and had to be replaced.
Nine minutes into the half pressure on the Leighton line finally told for Beds Ath’s third try.
Again the try was converted- the Beds Ath kicker gave an excellent display, kicking all six attempts at goal, despite the difficult conditions.
Again Buzzards responded well, their defence brave and committed although their strong running attack rarely threatened the home try line. Indeed so good was the Buzzard defence there was a palpable sense of relief amongst the home team when they finally scored their fourth, and bonus point, try.
A further try in the final minutes, together with the 100 per cent kicking record, gave the score a slightly unrepresentative feel and Beds Ath a 38-0 victory.