Against a soundtrack of the FIA World Endurance races from Silverstone, Buckingham revved up for their first serious run-out of the season against tenacious visitors Market Bosworth. No lap records were set, but the Green and Whites can be reasonably happy with a good test of engine and tuning, resulting in a 31-27 win.
The first half of the game, played as the annual Kirk Nokes 1st XV fixture, was split into two 20 minute periods to allow for scheduled substitutions. Buckinghams early work looked sharp. A hard drive by the Market Bosworth no 8 led to a close range penalty, but Seth Williams, restored at hooker, cleverly smuggled the ball clear from the resulting driving maul. From a strong midfield scrum, an excellent flowing move followed, with slick handling in the backs and winger Josh Graham scooting over in the corner. Flyhalf Ed Kinman converted to open up a 7-0 advantage.
Buckinghams backs looked lively in the first period, with a good eye for space. Up front, the pack, bolstered by new recruits, impressively dealt with the Market Bosworth scrum and set up a run in try for no 8 Jim Barker. Kinman again converted stretching the lead to 14-0.
Bosworth to their credit, responded well and with typical East Midland forward determination worked their way up field winning a penalty and creating further space to break and score in the corner. The conversion was missed making the score 14-5.
With substitutes on, the second period of the first half in truth found Buckinghams tuning a little wayward, and a ragged passage of play with leaks in defence, their opponents again went to the corner to score an converted try. In increasingly blustery conditions the home side s engine spluttered a bit. Further pressure fromMarket Bosworth including their man mountain tight head prop (surely the biggest opposing player they will face all season) took them into the lead at 14-15. Heavy rain closing the first half.
Good half time work by the team mechanics paid off for the Green and whites in the second half, with the big performers stepping up, with a bullocking run by captain Euan Prime resulting in a forwards rumble with lock Matt London touching down. Kinman converted to regain the lead 21-15. In midfield, a thunderous tackle from Jamie Lee relieved pressure and led to a penalty calmly slotted by Kinman for more useful points 24-15.
Market Bosworth once again showed resilience and tenacity as their forwards fought back to unsettle the Buckingham defence. The Blue and Golds added two more tries one being converted.
Harry Scarr, replied for Buckingham as the engine began to purr again but Conor Wharton took a yellow card for the team. The home side clung on to withstand late pressure and to clinch the game 31-27.
After the Market Bosworth fourth try head coach Andrew White exclaimed '"what's wrong with us", probably not much is the honest answer. Buckingham will look to improve their defence, but this friendly fixture showed that the basic engine and set up are both competitive. Some fine tuning will be needed yes, but the Green and White machine looks in pretty good shape for this seasons South West 1 East league races.
It is hoped that this might become an annual home friendly against a competitive, friendly and vibrant opposition club.
Match report by Tim Hamper