Club host local derby
By Buckingham Rugby
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Aylesbury travelled to hosts Buckingham no doubt determined to avenge their home loss having been previously prevented from having the opportunity when Buckingham forfeited their cup clash. Aylesbury also needed to win to prevent a full house of losses to all four teams above them in the league. Buckingham however were in no mood to accommodate them and were keen to keep in touch with league leaders Beaconsfield. The game turned out to be a typical local derby slug-fest in difficult windy and wet conditions with neither side being able to retain the ball for long periods so as to manufacture clear scoring opportunities with two noticeable exceptions which led to the only two tries of the game by the home side.
Aylesbury kicked off into a blustery wind and with ball curling back managed to regain possession and set up a number of rucks where their forwards tried to bludgeon their way forward. Hard hitting defence kept them at bay and led to turnover ball from which fly half Nagy hammered the ball down field. Aylesbury retrieved and kicked back but giving the home side a net gain which was a feature of the half. Buckingham then tested the Aylesbury forwards defence as they set up a series of close drives around the edge of the rucks with hooker Williams and second row Barker gaining valuable hard yards, which led to an Aylesbury infringement and penalty to the home side. Nagy then, from a narrow angle, tried to do a “Henry Slade” right into the Aylesbury corner but just failed and Aylesbury managed to catch and return the ball. Nagy was immediately able to make up for his error, and get the reward for his ambition, when he fielded the return kick and set the Buckingham back line running. The ball was worked along to winger Tom Warren, who under pressure, put in a teasing low kick forcing the Aylesbury full back to turn and allow the ball to come loose where it was pounced on by centre Jamie Lee who had stayed in support, and who dived over to score close to the posts, giving Nagy a simple conversion .Score Buckingham 7 Aylesbury 0.
Aylesbury restarted, with the kick reflecting the difficult conditions and skidding into touch on the 10 metre line. Buckingham won the lineout. The ball then was fed back to Nagy by Joe Chalmers who had a good game at scrum half and tidied up a number of difficult balls. The set move however broke down and Aylesbury managed to retrieve the ball and run it back past the half way line. Buckingham’s defence stayed firm and again the ball was lost and found its way to full back Tommy Oi, who proceeded to thump it downfield in to the dead ball area leading to Aylesbury having to drop out back to the home side , which again was returned with interest and led to a line out in the Aylesbury 22. Aylesbury worked their way out of the 22 and with the scrum half employing the necessary tactic of a low raking kick from a quick break from the scrum found themselves in the Buckingham 22. Aylesbury were never able to settle in the opposition 22 for any period as their lack of discipline led to a number of penalties giving the home side an easy exit and chance to regain field position from which Buckingham were awarded a penalty just inside the Aylesbury 10 metre line. Nagy’s attempt at converting the same, well struck, but drifting just wide of the left hand post.
Both sides continued the war of attrition with Aylesbury trying to run the ball out of their half but being met with uncompromising tackling with second row Stuart Tomlinson and vice captain Lee to the fore. Any hope of an Aylesbury breakthrough seemingly pinned on their elusive winger d’Almeida and abrasive No.8 Horne.
Buckingham forwards fronted up well to the large Aylesbury pack and showed some good offloading with prop Craig Dumbarton and Barker combining well. This interplay leading to a ruck and drive first from Williams and then the dependable Phil Wright at No.8.The ball was then fed to Nagy who took the ball to the line before picking out Flanker Matt London at full pace to crash through the defensive line , being stopped within 10 metres of the line but managing to get his hands free to hand the ball on and then make its way to the supporting Lee who set up Coxon for a try in the corner , which went unconverted. Score Buckingham 12 – Aylesbury 0 after 30 mins, which is where the score stayed until half time despite no lack of honest endeavour from both sides.
The second half started promisingly for the home side with them camping in the Aylesbury 22 and with Nagy finding winger Coxon with a fine kick pass to set him off towards the try line only to be well tackled and the ball passed inside but then spilt , allowing Aylesbury to clear their lines from the ensuing scrum. There was not to be any respite however, and from the lineout, which proved to be a substantial weapon in Buckingham’s armoury throughout, both in attack and defence, the ball was won and a break in the centre led to a series of rucks almost in front of the posts. With persistent infringements the only way to prevent Buckingham forward crossing the line the referee eventually showed a yellow card to the Aylesbury no.8. From the resulting penalty Nagy made it Buckingham 15- Aylesbury 0 with only 7 minutes gone of the second half.
With Aylesbury having to score three times to get a result the home support’s attention was now focused on not just the win but a bonus point win. This was never to be however, due to the greasy conditions coupled with both sides’ dogged determination to defend their line and prevent any further tries being scored.
The closest Aylesbury came to a clear chance was when their centre intercepted a cross field kick and seemed set to run into the corner from the half way line. He did not feel confident with ball in hand in the heavy conditions and kicked downfield into the 22. The spirit of Buckingham’s defence was then exemplified by the chase back where backrowers Wright and Will Cooper arrived along with centre Matt Hawker to allow Wright to gather the ball and drive into the oncoming attackers and with his teammates’ support, recycle and clear the ball.
Buckingham could have extended their lead by a further penalty within Nagy range, but also with the hope of a possible bonus point, decided to run the ball and catch Aylesbury off guard. Good defence led to the ball going loose and Aylesbury managed to get out of their 22.
With all the players now covered in mud and difficult to distinguish, an altercation arose, which led to nearly all the players rushing in and feeling they needed to push someone, even though they were unsure of who that should be! The referee was clearly similarly unable to decide who had done what albeit the end result was an Aylesbury penalty which led to them planting the ball close to the Buckingham line. This led to the best period of constant pressure for Aylesbury, but unable to guarantee their own lineout ball ,and with neither side gaining real dominance in the scrum, and even on the one occasion when Aylesbury did so , Buckingham’s Wright picked and drove to make those difficult yards to enable Chalmers to put in a clearance kick.
The final whistle went with the feeling that neither side had achieved what they had hoped for, but another win keeps Buckingham in contention for the title but with a stiff test to come this week with Windsor away.
Man of the Match is a difficult call with all of the forwards battling well but at times towards the end being indistinguishable as to who did what. In the backs Nagy continues to impress with his skill and bravery ( in this game it seemed he was particularly targeted as he brought the ball to the line with some borderline late tackles) but coach White may be a little frustrated at the lack of territory rugby played in the conditions. The award goes to Vice Captain Jamie Lee for his commitment to tackle and stepping in at first receiver to do so in defence , along with his support play leading him to score and assist in the two tries of the game.