Clinical and classy Beaconsfield clinch the league title
Promotion now distant
Buckingham suffered their heaviest defeat in a long time at the hands of a very lively and clinical Beaconsfield side on Saturday. The win clinched the Southern Counties North league title for the home side, and with Windsor winning at Wallingford with a bonus point, it pushed Buckingham into third place. With two home games to play, it will be a major surprise if Windsor do not retain second spot and take the subsequent promotion play-off place.
Buckingham were fielding a few unfamiliar faces with Oli Crompton and Charlie Gulliver making rare appearances in the back line, and with Will Ellis and Billy Arthur on the bench. Veteran Seth Williams, taking a chance that his wife would not go into labour during the match, was a late addition to the side after Mathew Payne fell ill !
With a large crowd on the touchline following a packed house pre-match lunch, the visitors started brightly on a pitch that was in fine condition given the recent rains. The home side then came back into the game, and the first ten minutes were pretty even with Buckingham fly half Ed Kinman putting in a couple of good kicks to touch. Buckingham pressure won them a kickable penalty after 12 minutes and Kinman duly took the 3 points.
After a further spell of evenly balanced play, Beaconsfield cut loose in the second period of the first half, running in four unanswered tries before half time to take full control of the game. Whilst some of the tries were assisted to a certain extent by visitor errors ... failing to field high kick and chase balls, losing their own line out, chip ahead kicks not quite coming off ... the pace of the home wingers and sharpness of their half backs and centres were key to them clinically taking every half chance that came their way. Half time 26 - 3
The second half was similar to the first in that there was no scoring in the early stages, followed by a burst of four tries in the final quarter ; this time however the tries were shared, with Buckingham showing great resilience in striving to make the score line more respectable and reflective of the game as a whole.
Euan Prime was to the fore with a couple of strong runs, supported by skipper Jamie Temple. Oli Crompton cleared up well after a Beaconsfield hack through, Will Ellis came on and made a threatening break and finally, after 20 minutes, Kinman got the first Buckingham try with a neat step and break from 10 metres out in front of the posts. Conversion ok 26 - 10
The champions elect stormed back and on 27 minutes, their centre ran an excellent line at pace from outside the Buckingham 22 to score under the posts, try converted 33 – 10. The visitors stuck at it and on 35 minutes picked up their second try of the afternoon when a somewhat ‘unconventional’ cross kick by Kinman bounced around in the in goal area before Matt Hawkins found his bearings and dropped on the ball to score. Kinman again converted, 33 – 15.
That score line would possibly have been a fair reflection of the game, but Beaconsfield responded with two long range penalty goals from their excellent no 9 as they ran down the game into injury time. The final blow to the away side came when a botched restart from the second penalty goal kick off led to a scrum on the half way line and a final devastating break from the home three quarters to conclude the scoring, 46 – 15
In summary, a well deserved win for Beaconsfield, who will move up to level 6, perhaps in SW or perhaps in the London leagues again. They have clearly been the best side in the league this season. Buckingham should finish in third place, one better than last season, and will feel that with this year’s experience under the belts of their young three quarters (Jamie Lee excepted !), they will be pushing for promotion again next season.