Sam Evans’ second-half score was not enough for spirited Long Buckby as they suffered a 32-16 defeat to St Andrews on Saturday.
Second-row Evans gave the home side hope when he crashed over at the start of the second half, but St Andrews eventually proved too strong.
The away team defied a sin-binning to claim a victory that owed much to their powerful start to proceedings.
Jonny Palmer continued to keep Buckby in the game with his boot, kicking three penalties and converting Evans’ try.
But St Andrews made their way over for a late score to put a gloss on the result.
After half an hour of the first half and with Buckby 15-3 down, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the home side might be facing a very big defeat.
But with the last kick of the first half, a second Jonny Palmer penalty reduced the deficit to nine points.
Buckby looked to build on that effort at the start of the second half, emerging brightly and getting stuck into their opponents.
And that was despite the loss of a number of key players, who could not make the game due to Easter weekend commitments.
Young guns such as Josh Buckby, Michael Van Milligan, Fergus Murray, Mikey Kemp, Charlie McDermott and the slightly older Sam Chambers stepped up to the plate.
They were showing plenty of commitment to helping maintain the club’s league two status and St Andrews were pegged back further on 46 minutes as Evans went over.
Palmer added the extras and suddenly Buckby were back to within two points, sensing a comeback victory.
The sides then traded penalties and going into the last quarter Buckby were hopeful that they might pinch some surprise points against a side seven places above them in the league.
These hopes increased further when the St Andrews No.5 was binned for deliberately preventing a quick tap penalty, but if anything that seemed to increase the away team’s determination.
And, within minutes, they stole Buckby’s lineout ball and broke through for a try under the posts.
At 25-16 down, Buckby still had a couple of chances to take at least a point but their hopes were to be dashed in the final five minutes.
St Andrews turned the screw by kicking to the corner before going over for another try.
It was converted and Buckby were forced to make do with a 16-point defeat, despite their sterling effort.
Team: Buckby, Dixon, Huff, Tarplee, Evans, Van Milligan, Gooney, Murray, Kemp, Palmer, Oakey, Toseland, Chambers, McDermott, McNally. Replacements: Clarke, Wagstaff, Bayes.
Daventry suffer narrow defeat
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