Second-placed Swifts seen off as Buckby close in on title glory

GOTCHA! - action from Long Buckby's win at Bedford Swifts last Saturday
GOTCHA! - action from Long Buckby's win at Bedford Swifts last Saturday

Long Buckby have got one hand on the Midlands Four East (South) title trophy after they claimed a fourth successive win against the team second in the league.

In a quirk of the fixture list, Buckby’s past four league games have been against the team directly below them in the table, and on Saturday it was a trip to Bedford Swifts for the leaders.

It was a tough challenge for Buckby, and a real test of their title credentials, but they scored five tries in a 33-24 victory, and now have a 12-point lead at the top with just five fixtures remaining.

Buckby have lost just one game all season, and haven’t tasted defeat since November. This weekend they will aiming to maintain their advantage as they host bottom-of-the-table Bourne at Station Road.

At Bedford, the home side persisted in using the catch and drive from the line out with their big men crashing in at first receiver.

While it brought its rewards, Buckby’s defence were more than up to the challenge and ran in those five tries to pick up a bonus point win.

Andrew Frankland got the scoreboard moving for Bucks with an eatly penalty, before the first try came from Ed Sitch following good work from Tim Dixon, Luke Foster, Ryan Clark and Jonny Nixon.

On 15 minutes Swifts scored a penalty to make it 8-3, before Buckby scored their second try, this time through Foster, top open uyp a 13-2 advantage.

It was 20-3 by the half-hour mark. Bedford struggled to clear their lines and were forced to dot down in their own in goal area. From the five-metre scrum Frankland scored a try and kicked the conversion.

Just befor the break Swifts scored a converted try of their own, and it was 20-10 at half-time.

Another penalty from Frankland early in the second half stretched Buckby’s lead, but Swifts scored another converted try on 46 minutes and were back in it at 23-17.

Buckby soon went back on the attack, and flanker Jake Toseland went over in the corner. The conversion was missed but Buckby lead 28-17.

Bedford again responed with a converted try to move to within four points of Buckby at 28-24, but the visitors still felt in control.

With two minutes remaining, Buckby forced Bedford to try and clear their lines from a tight angle and touch was missed. Gov Kandola runs the ball back and the ball goes nicely through the hands before Frankland goes over for his second try to closse the game out at 33-24.

Man of the match was Richard Ryan.

Match facts

Team: Tim Lewis, Tim Dixon, Tom Haynes, Fred Saunders, Sam Evans, Ben Walton, Jakes Toseland, Andrew Frankland, Richard Ryan, Ryan Clark, Nick Dixon, Luke Foster, James Hare, Ed Sitch, Jonny Nixon.. Replacements: Fergus Murray, Gov Kandola, Simon Dixon

Scorers: Tries: Frankland (2) Sitch Toseland Foster; Conversions: Frankland; Penalties: Frankland (2)