Witney stage second half fightback to stun Buckingham

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In their first league game back in South West 1 East, Buckingham 1st XV looked to have found the formula for a winning start, only for it to go horribly wrong in the second half, eventually losing 20-19.

Buckingham manufactured a superb try within four minutes as a searing break by Calum Gillie was taken on by Andrew Jackson before James Bernard burst past the last defender to score the try.

Andy White converted to put the home side 7-0 up.

For the rest of the half Buckingham played some exhilarating rugby with Charlie Smith and Phil Wright making inroads in the Witney midfield while the mazy running of James Hulston was also causing problems and it was his inside pass to Jackson that allowed Gillie to go over for the second try just before the half-hour mark.

Witney responded with a penalty, but they were penalised for offside and the quick-thinking Clapham set off before offloading to Tom Amos, who was on hand to score.

White’s conversion sent Buckingham into a 19-3 lead at the interval.

Injuries hampered Buckingham but they still appeared on course for victory, particularly when Clapham looked to have scored in the corner, only for the referee to controversially rule it out.

A penalty from Witney reduced the arrears and the visitors continued to chip away at the Buckingham lead when a converted try left Witney trailing by six.

Disaster then struck as a poor Buckingham pass was intercepted, allowing the Witney scrum-half a free run under the posts, resulting in a straightforward conversion to win the game.

This weekend Buckingham 1st XV take on Cheltenham at home at 3pm while the Academy host Luton, the IIs play Windsor and the IIIs travel to Bletchley.