Buckingham’s troubles returned in their first game of the new year on Saturday when they suffered a 23-12 home defeat to Witney in South West One East.
Following a much-needed win at Bletchley in their last outing, it was business as usual at Maids Moreton as Buckingham went toe-to-toe with their Oxfordshire visitors but were unable to sustain their momentum in the second half and ended with another defeat to remain third from bottom.
A game played in a good atmosphere throughout started in the best possible way for Buckingham as they retrieved the Witney kick-off and James Hulston weaved his way through the onrushing attackers before collecting his own neat chip over the defence to touch down for a try with just a minute played.
Witney’s response was almost immediate, however, as they notched a converted try a mere three minutes later.
More Witney pressure then caught Buckingham offside and they increased their lead with a successful penalty before the home side’s pack began to get on top.
Though they battered the Witney line for over 10 minutes, the away side’s defence stood firm and they broke out to charge back to the Buckingham end, where they crossed for a second try.
After the conversion was missed, the hosts finally turned pressure into points as, after a Witney forward was sin-binned, the Buckingham eight produced one of their trademark pick and drives for Phil Wright to score.
Calum Gillie’s excellent conversion brought Buckingham to within three points at 15-12 at half-time.
After the change round, errors began to creep into the Buckingham play as two knock-ons and some aimless kicking from defence allowed the visitors to seize control.
Witney went close with a penalty before another one enabled them to get their powerful backs in motion once again and seven minutes into the half, they scored their third try to lead 20-12.
Buckingham showed spirit and they had chances to set up a tense finish but all too often their good play was spoilt by an inability to cut out basic errors, a trend that continues to blight their season.
The home side were unable to convert their chances whereas Witney were clinical and they landed a late penalty to ensure victory.
Buckingham face a daunting task this Saturday when they entertain unbeaten runaway league leaders Chippenham. Kick-off is at 2.15pm.