Long Buckby battled back from 11-0 down to claim a narrow 12-11 win at Rugby St Andrews in Midlands Division Three South East.
The only two good things about Buckby’s first half were the weather and their defensive work.
Despite having the advantage of a stiff breeze on their backs for the first half an hour Buckby couldn’t quite switch into gear.
Rugby took advantage, and thanks to wo penalties they led 6-0 at half-time.
The game had been simmering throughout the first half as players from both sides became frustrated at some poor officiating, and within three minutes of the kick off Long Buckby lost Sam Evans to a yellow card, apparently for playing the ball in an off-side position. From the penalty St Andrews kicked to the corner and won the line-out to drive over for an 11-0 lead.
From the restart Buckby won a scrum and subsequently a free kick. Ryan took this quickly and fed Luke Foster who passed to Andy Oliver.
He only had to run the ball in when the referee called them back and gave a penalty to Buckby because St Andrews had encroached within 10 metres.
Understandably Buckby protested at the lack of advantage and, as a result, the penalty was reversed and Andrew Tarplee joined Evans in the sin bin.
This should have been the point at which Andrews pressed home their advantage but they were still unable to break the Buckby defence and, showing his frustration, their 17 strayed offside in the red zone and saw his second yellow of the day which meant he could take no further part in the game.
Shortly afterwards Buckby were back up to 15 men and by now the Andrews forwards were ‘blowing’.
Buckby pressed into the St Andrews territory. Tim Lewis drove the ball on and popped it off to Ben Walton who fed John Paul Watters. He pressed within five metres before feeding Oliver who crashed over to make the score 11-5.
Andrews were now beginning to crumble and gave away penalty after penalty which Buckby used to keep them pinned in their own 22. With the clock ticking down Jonny Nixon weaved his way forward and fed Andrew Tarplee who charged to within 10 metres of the white wash supported by Tobias Gooney and Evans. Fergus Murray picked and drove before the ball was spun back left for Oliver to crash under the posts enabling Palmer’s conversion to grab a one point lead.
There was still time for the kick off and for a moment it looked as if replacement winger Tom Evans might grab another try but in the end it was St Andrews who conceded another penalty allowing Buckby to put the ball into touch for their sixth win on the bounce inflicting on St Andrews their first home league defeat of the season.
Team: Tobias Gooney, Fergus Murray John Paul Watters, Sam Evans, Andrew Tarplee, Jake Toseland, Andrew Frankland, Ben Walton, Richard Ryan, Jonny Palmer, Nick Denman, Luke Foster, Ed Sitch, Jonny Nixon, Andy Oliver. Replacements: Sam Goodhall, Tom Evans, Tim Lewis
DAVENTRY All Blacks had a day to forget as they were thrashed 45-5 at Rushden & Higham.