Little to cheer as Buckingham are outplayed at Cheltenham

Rugby. Buckingham v Reading Abbey. Phil Wright.'130410M-G639

Rugby. Buckingham v Reading Abbey. Phil Wright.'130410M-G639

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Buckingham’s ambition to improve their league position is on hold until the new year after a disappointing performance at Cheltenham last Saturday.

With seven first teamers absent through injury, the visitors struggled to find any cohesion and their inability to maintain attacking field positions cost them dear on the way to a 27-5 defeat.

Both sides made a scrappy start with play taking place in the middle third of the pitch and errors plentiful.

Cheltenham slowly took the upper hand and finally took the lead from a penalty awarded for holding in the 14th minute.

With this encouragement, the hosts stepped up the pressure.

With Buckingham then falling off the tackles the Cheltenham scrum-half darted through for the first try, converted for a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

As another Buckingham attack lost its way Cheltenham swept forward again to score a second try on the half hour mark for a 15-0 interval lead.

The pattern of play remained the same after the restart.

Steve Datchler and Sam Cook always looked dangerous with the ball in hand, but the usual Buckingham spirit was missing in the close quarter encounters and Cheltenham were only seriously threatened when a surging run by Sam Cook took play deep into the home 22.

Cook’s excellent inside pass to Andrew Jackson was carried on by the backs, until from a maul on the five metre line the ever-present Phil Wright forced his way over.

Buckingham’s purple patch was short lived but Calum Gillie also came close when chasing down a loose ball after Buckingham managed a turnover in the scrum.

Cheltenham soon regained control as they forced the visitors to back peddle, only a fine tackle by Datchler thwarting another score. Twice more Buckingham made a mess of attacking penalties allowing Cheltenham to regroup and power over for their fourth try and bonus point – the conversion concluding a miserable afternoon.