Leighton find their Grove

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Leighton Buzzard moved up to third in South West 1 East with a strong 29-17 win over Grove at Wrights Meadow.

Additionally by scoring 4 tries, Buzzards secured the bonus point and took their try tally to 19 in just the last three games.

Winning the toss, the Oxfordshire-based visitors chose to play with the benefit of the strong wind. Despite early enterprise from the home team, keen to play their running game, it took 13 minutes to open the scoring with a penalty from Geoff Branwhite giving Leighton the lead 3-0.

Four minutes later a promising Buzzard move was interrupted by a deliberate knock on by Grove close to the halfway line.

Geoff Branwhite, making his 100th appearance for the Buzzards, spotted the defence was out of position and took a quick tap penalty.

The break was decisive and the ball was quickly transferred to supporting winger Darren Braybrook to score close to posts. With Branwhite’s conversion Buzzards led 10-0.

However with the wind, any loss of possession would be kicked deep into Buzzard territory.

It was from such a position that Grove secured good possession and, working through the phases, broke through in midfield to score a try.

With the conversion the score was 10- 7 after 22 minutes.

Leighton’s reply though was only one minute in the making – the Buzzard pack was already looking solid and from a lineout outside of the Grove 22, they drove forward at speed allowing Sam Richbell to peel off and drive over.

Despite the blustery conditions, Branwhite converted, giving Buzzards a 17-10 lead which they held to half time.

With the advantage of the wind Leighton started the second half well – within three minutes of the restart pressure had told for Tom Byard to crash over.

With the Branwhite conversion Buzzards lead 24 -10.

Despite this success early in the half, injuries in the Buzzards forwards allowed Grove to become an increasing and a constant threat – on more than one occasion last ditch defence holding the visitors at bay.

However, it was Buzzards who scored next.

A Branwhite break from his own half supported by a fast interchange from Tom Byard and Darren Braybrook and then back to Geoff Branwhite to score the try of the day and secure the bonus point.

The final 20 minutes showed increased Grove possession with their forwards becoming more dominant.

Buzzard defence held firm until the final play of the game when the line was finally breached, which with the conversion left the final score 29-17.

Their third win in a row sees Leighton climb the table to third, but the tight nature of the South West 1 East league sees the gap to seventh place just five points.

Buzzards face a huge test of their resolve next Saturday as they travel to take on league leaders Salisbury.