MOBILE BUZZARDS TURN ON THE STYLE
St IVES 7 – 52 LEIGHTON BUZZARD
Leighton Buzzard continued their winning start to the League season with a convincing victory away at Cambridgeshire-based St. Ives. This was a victory based on the mobility of the whole team, the clinical taking of opportunities but also a resolute and determined defensive effort.
Having won the toss, Buzzards chose to play into the stiff wind and slightly uphill. The clash of styles and game plans were clearly evident from the start. St Ives had a much heavier pack and would rely on straight running by their bigger forwards,whilst Leighton would move the ball and play at an increased tempo to emphasise their mobility.
It took five minutes for Buzzards to take the lead. Receiving the ball twenty metres from the line, left winger Eddie Wiggins drifted past three defenders to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed to leave Leighton 5-0 ahead. Wiggins played a major part in extending the lead eight minutes later- following a scrum on half-way, he combined with Arran Perry with a number of slick interchanges for centre Perry to score. Ollie Gronert converted for Leighton to lead 12-0.
With less than twenty minutes gone, Buzzards had scored their third try. Debutant winger, Ellis Bisgrove, touched down following a kick ahead and swift transfer of the regained ball. Six minutes later Leighton secured the four-try bonus point as Zak Tift made the initial thrust for prop Owen Forsythe to score. With Oliie Gronert converting both, the score was 26-0.
Despite Buzzards’ convincing lead, St. Ives did have periods of pressure. Utilising the wind to get good territory, their large pack offered an attacking threat and around the half-hour mark, they were camped close to the Leighton line. During this period Buzzards conceded penalties in quick succession for both collapsing a maul and then a scrum and were perhaps fortunate there was no further sanction. But the defence held firm to leave the half-time score 26-0.
Now with the wind to their benefit, Buzzards started the second half camped in the St. Ives twenty-two. After a number of phases the pressure told, as captain Jack Whitehouse glided through untouched to score Buzzards fifth try – 33-0. Shortly afterwards full-back Harri Sayer , who was an attacking threat throughout, collected the ball in his own half and ran fully sixty metres to be tackled 5 metres out and therefore just failing to score what would have been a brilliant individual try.
However it did not take long for Buzzards to extend their lead. Breaking from their own half, the ball was quickly recycled and debutant scrum-half Ieaun Thomas showed a keen awareness of space to put hooker Jacob Murtagh in at the corner. Ollie Gronert converted from the touch-line to make the score 40-0.
Despite the score, possession was for much of the second-half was equally shared. The pack continued to challenge their heavier opponents with Man of the Match, Dami Adebyo, outstanding. Following a period of pressure on the Buzzard line mid-way through the half the forwards turned the ball over. With an awareness of the opportunity, the ball was spread wide – the fact that instrumental in the try were two recent replacements, Mike Robert and Matt Bloxham, emphasised the strength of the bench. The try was scored by Eddie Wiggins with Ollie Gronert again converting from the touch- line – 47-0.
St Ives kept pounding away at the Buzzard line – it says much for Buzzards’ spirit that, with the game already won, they defended as if their lives depended on it . Finally the St Ives scrum scored a push-over try to make the score 47-7. There was very nearly a second try for the home team but a last -ditch tackle dislodged the ball from the St. Ives fly-half as he crossed the line. There was just time for one more length of the pitch team try – the fact that it was scored by hooker Jacob Murtagh again showing the mobility of the pack.
Buzzards can take a number of positives from this 52-7 victory – particularly from a fine team performance a brave and determined defence and a mobility and awareness that allowed opportunities to taken.
Next week Buzzards welcome Stewart and Lloyds to Wright’s Meadow