Buzzards win top-of-the-table clash with Leicester Forest ahead of this weekend's cup final
Malvern visit Wright's Meadow for RFU Intermediate Cup final
Leighton Buzzard beat second place Leicester Forest 20-19 in a top of the table clash on Saturday at Wright’s Meadow, writes Gordon Fletcher.
Earlier in the season Leighton had won well away on their artificial surface, so were hopeful of another win at home. The visitors were determined to make a game of it and the result was a closely fought contest right up to the last minutes.
The opening 20 minutes saw the defences tested as both sides attacked from deep and fought for every scrap. The deadlock was eventually broken after 27 minutes when Zak Tift broke away on his own ten metre line to run the length of the park to score, 5-0. Forest were not shaken and attacked from the restart and a break down the wing gave them their first points, to lead 5-7.
Buzzards came back strongly and quick thinking from fly half Ewan Starling meant he took a short penalty just inside the visitors’ half. A kick ahead bounced just short of the visiting winger and James Pratt came at speed to pick up the ball on the bounce and score in the corner, 10-7.
Forest added another score to lead 10-14 at half time.
In the second half Buzzards were working up the pitch when winger Eddie Wiggins broke through the middle and the Buzzards drove deep into the visitors 22m area. A quick pick-up from scrum half James Brett put him in under the posts and Starling converted for 17-15.
At the restart Buzzards were unable to gather the ball and Forest pounced to score out wide for 17–19 with 30 minutes left. Forest showed some good attacking skills but the Buzzard defence held strong. Both sides played good entertaining rugby but didn’t score again until the dying minutes.
Under pressure in their 22 area Forest tried to clear their lines with a kick but replacement flanker Adam Stacey, returning after a long injury lay off, charged down the kick and hooker Ash Walsh forced the penalty just to the side of the posts. Starling stepped up to take the points and the lead.
Overall a great game of rugby, which either side could have won but another notch on the Buzzards’ belt. Captain Euan Irwin said: “This was the best way to prepare for next week’s cup Final when we welcome Malvern and a really enjoyable game to play in.”
This week’s game in the RFU Intermediate cup Final is at Leighton Buzzards ground outside Stanbridge with a 2pm kick off.
Buses are running from the town as there is limited parking on the day and entry for over 16s is £5. All welcome.