Leighton Buzzard returned to winning ways on Saturday as they beat Bugbrooke 19-10 to remain within touching distance of the midtable pack.
Having lost two in a row, Leighton found themselves in the bottom three of Midlands 1 East, but with five clubs separated by five points, Leighton’s win keeps them reach of the group.
Despite the home side having more of the ball, Leighton’s mix of sheer doggedness, commitment and ability to take limited chances paid off.
Leighton kicked off and found themselves almost immediately under pressure.
Despite continuous pressure, it was a moment of individual brilliance that opened the scoring after 21 minutes, and it came through an individual effort from the league’s most dangerous runner.
Adam Pepper, just as he had done earlier this season at Wrights Meadow, scored a fine individual try from half-way, and with the conversion,
with the conversion Buzzards trailed 7-0.
Finally Leighton managed to instigate their game plan, retaining possession through the phases and managing to make inroads into the opposition’s half.
The result was almost immediate - slick hands in the centre made space for Arran Perry to make the decisive break with winger Darren Braybrook on hand to take the try-scoring pass. With the conversion missed, Buzzards trailed 7-5 after 25 minutes.
Leighton nearly went ahead when Geoff Branwhite was held up just short after a Darren Braybrook break, but shortly afterwards a Branwhite penalty gave Buzzards 8-7 lead at half time.
The second half started well for the Buzzards - a Bugbrooke dropped ball on half-way after only four minutes allowed Darren Braybrook to kick ahead and skilfully control the bouncing ball to win the chase comfortably to score his second try.
Whilst the conversion was missed, a further Geoff Branwhite penalty five minutes later extended the Buzzards’ lead to 16-7.
Possession and territory was more evenly shared in the second half. Leighton’s kicking from hand was erratic – a number unintentionally going directly into touch – the game plan was being followed.
Mike Robert, playing at inside centre as captain Euan Irwin been moved to fly-half, had an excellent game punching holes in midfield, keeping the Buzzard pack on the front foot.
Half way through the half Buzzards missed a relatively straightforward penalty and nerves increased amongst the travelling support when a Bugbrooke penalty cut the lead to 16-10 with 10 minutes left.
However a further Geoff Branwhite penalty restored the nine point difference at 19-10 meaning the home side would need to score twice in the last seven minutes to deny a Leighton victory. In fact neither side could add to their total as Buzzards played out time.