Buckingham continue resurgence with gritty win

Pat Ockendon is hauled down by two Grove defenders. Picture by Jake McNulty
Pat Ockendon is hauled down by two Grove defenders. Picture by Jake McNulty

A rejuvenated Buckingham continued their recent resurgence with a gritty performance in a hard-fought 17-0 win over Grove in South West One East.

Buckingham appeared certainties for relegation prior to Christmas but recent wins over Bletchley and Devizes and now this victory against mid-table Grove have given the Maids Moreton side some hope of beating the drop.

Going into the game on the back of their Bucks Cup success the previous week, Buckingham had to withstand some early Grove pressure before taking control and after a Calum Gillie kick to touch, the forwards powered over for the first try on 10 minutes with Jamie Temple touching down.

The hosts continued to press and a long kick by fly-half Jak Cluness nearly resulted in a score for speedy winger Josh Graham, while at the other end, Grove’s forwards put together some good drives of their own but never got close enough to make them count.

With Gillie a constant threat round the scrum, the Buckingham back row kept their opposition fully occupied and the first half ended with both defences on top.

Grove began the second period as they did the first but they were unable to profit and instead it was the home side who, on their first foray into the Grove half, increased their lead when the visitors lost possession and the ball was recycled smoothly across the backs for Max Ikin to race over.

Gillie’s excellent long-range conversion put Buckingham 12 points clear and the hosts remained the more positive side as the hefty Grove forwards began to tire and it came as no surprise when, following another long kick from Cluness, solid work by the pack kept the defenders pegged back before another drive culminated in a try for Andy Thompson midway through the half.

Though that completed the scoring, play continued at a high tempo with Buckingham firmly in control as they made inroads into the heart of the Grove defence on several occasions while also dealing with any threat the visitors posed as they saw out a comfortable victory.

Buckingham, who remain in the bottom three and still seven points adrift of the team above them, travel to Leighton Buzzard this weekend.