Out-of-sorts Buckingham suffer second defeat

For the second week running Buckingham failed to capitalise on home advantage as a lacklustre performance saw them go down to a 18-13 defeat against Cheltenham.

The back three did their best in looking for openings but the team seemed out of sorts and after a promising start, lost their way to allow a physical Cheltenham outfit to keep the scoreboard ticking over with a succession of penalties, six in all giving them the victory.

Driving play by the Buckingham eight in the early stages put the visitors on the back foot while the usual dependable defence dealt comfortably with any Cheltenham attacks.

After 14 minutes of midfield stalemate, Cheltenham were caught off-side and Andy White put the home side three points ahead. Buckingham were penalised shortly after the restart, though, as Cheltenham levelled immediately.

The visitors’ powerful pack finally got their backs in space, and only a try saving tackle by new centre James Francis kept the right winger at bay. Nevertheless, Cheltenham went into a three-point lead with a second penalty on 30 minutes.

A break by Phil Wright carried on by Theo Mettenheimer almost ended with a score, but Buckingham ended the half with their backs to the wall, conceding several penalties – although none troubled the scoreboard.

Five minutes into the second half, Buckingham were level, but more indiscipline from the hosts allowed Cheltenham back-to-back penalties for a 12-6 lead.

Buckingham were now finding it hard to generate any attacking momentum while the visitors were foiled by another excellent tackle by Francis before landing two more penalties as Buckingham struggled to keep any control.

Finally Buckingham broke through, as Jamie Hulston went on a long run on the left before a searing break by Andy Turvey saw him go from his own 22 to scoring wide out on the right. Hulston’s excellent conversion bringing the home side to within five points.

It was too little too late, though, and Buckingham will need to raise their game ahead of a long trip to Devizes on Saturday.