RUGBY: Injury-hit Buckby are no match for Rushden

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Injury-hit Long Buckby were no match for a powerful Rushden & Higham side in their latest Midlands Three East South clash.

For several weeks now, Buckby have been struggling to field a competitive side.

The previous weekend they were forced to forfeit a cup fixture, and on Saturday, although they got a team together, they were always going to struggle to get a win.

A squad of 18 did travel, and Buckby even led at half-time, but the home side’s strength and power told in the end.

A sticky pitch led to a sluggish opening from both teams, and it was the 22nd minute before Rushden took the lead with a try , although there was more than a hint of a knock-on in the build up.

Buckby came back well and for the remainder of the first half had their best spell of the game.

Andy Frankland returning from injury at No 8 was rapidly forming a good partnership with fellow back rowers Chris Page and Sam Thomas making their seasons debuts at six and seven respectively.

Full back Andy Oliver made a break on the blind side and this was continued by first Ed Sitch and then James Hare bringing play up to the Rushden 10m line. Tom Haynes and Andrew Tarplee, who both get better as the season goes on, cleared out and Tim Lewis supported by Dave Wardle drove the ball on. This time the Rushden hands were unable to prevent quick ball and scrum half Doug Burroughs swung the ball left. Sam Thomas drew in the defence and popped the ball to Jonny Palmer who scored on the right to level the scores.

Buckby’s tails were up, and before the break they went 8-5 ahead through a Nick Denman penalty.

Having finished the first half so well Buckby did the exact opposite in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

Rushden were in the mood and scored three quickfire tries to ease into a 22-8 lead.

Buckby briefly rallied and lookled like they might at least grab a losing bonus point when both wingers Sam Goodhall and Hare went close.

But Rushden held firm.

The Buckby injury curse then returned as Doug Burroughs and John Paul Watters left the field - with Frankland having also gone off before the break.

This allowed Rushden to re-assume their ascendancy, and the scored two more tries in the closing stages to complete the win.

The defeat leaves Buckby in ninth place in the table. On Saturday they host St Ives at Station Road.

Long Buckby: John Paul Watters, Tom Haynes, Tim Lewis, Andrew Tarplee, Dave Wardle, Chris Page, Sam Thomas, Andrew Frankland, Doug Burroughs, Jonny Palmer, Nick Denman, Ed Sitch, Sam Goodall, James Hare, Andy Oliver. Replacements: Ollie Sitch, Ross McPhillips, Jonny Nixon. Scorers: Tries - Jonny Palmer. Pens - Nick Denman

DAVENTRY had another off day as they went down 26-8 to St Ives.

This weekend the struggling All Blacks return to Stefen Hill where they will play Stockwood Park (2.15pm).