Buckingham’s roller coaster season took another twist at Maids Moreton on Saturday when they took second-placed Salisbury all the way before losing 17-16 with the final kick of the game.
With Salisbury only four points behind leaders Maidenhead and having beaten Buckingham at home by fifty points, the home side knew they had another tough game in prospect, but urged on by well over 200 spectators they matched their visitors throughout an enthralling contest. Regretfully their inability to put possession into points cost them what could have been an important victory.
The game was only two minutes old when a loose pass in the Buckingham backs was snapped up by Ollie Lenton, the very quick Salisbury left wing, who ran free to score the first try, the conversion giving the visitors an unexpected seven-point start.
Three minutes later Salisbury were adjudged to have strayed offside and Andy White put over the penalty to get Buckingham on the scoreboard.
The flurry of points continued when Salisbury scored again through Shane Johnstone after good work by the forwards and they were 12-3 in front with less than ten minutes played. Back came Buckingham with a good kick by White which gave the mobile pack an opportunity to get their hands on the loose ball. A searing run by Andy Turvey was taken by James Bernard and Phil Wright enabling Pat Ockendon (pictured right) to crash over wide out on the ten minute mark. Buckingham were back in the game at 12-8.
Sustained period of pressure by the home side saw Salisbury stretched to the limit with kicks by White and good distribution by scrum-half Will Kiddle, but unforced errors during the final yards were to cost Buckingham dear, as on the stroke of half time the Salisbury winger again got the better of the defence to give them breathing space at the restart.
However Buckingham went through several phases forcing Salisbury to concede a penalty which White kicked to narrow the gap to 17-11 as the last quarter beckoned, both sides enjoying their share of possession as the minutes ticked away.
Finally Buckingham surged forward from another penalty and when the ball reached Turvey his powerful running took him past several defenders to score in the corner for 17-16 and the spectators holding their breath. The kick from wide out looked to have made it but it swung and hit the upright, the final whistle leaving both sets of supporters with completely different emotions.
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