Buckingham handed themselves a lifeline at the bottom of South West One East when they earned a crucial 15-11 victory at local rivals Bletchley.
Both sides have struggled for any sort of form this season with Bletchley rooted to the bottom of the table and Buckingham just one place higher.
The game was dominated by the referee’s whistle as he awarded a total of 22 penalties. Once again the Buckingham forwards played a major part in the game and were far too good for the heavier home eight, constantly shunting them off the ball on their own scrum and winning a good share of the line-out.
Therefore it was no surprise when they drove over from a scrum of their own with Phil Wright the scorer after 10 minutes.
Both sides continued to struggle in open play with a number of handling errors spoiling any worthwhile attacks, but Bletchley finally got on the scoreboard with a penalty on 25 minutes.
Soon after, Calum Gillie missed a chance to improve Buckingham’s fortunes when he missed a kickable penalty and things then took a turn for the worse for the visitors when flanker Pat Ockendon was yellow carded as the referee lost patience with the continuous transgressions.
Bletchley kicked the resulting penalty five minutes before half-time to trail by just one point at the break.
The home side then caught Buckingham cold straight from the restart as they caught the loose ball from kick-off and ran in a try within 60 seconds to take an 11-7 lead.
That served as a wake-up call for Buckingham, who bombarded the Bletchley line for a sustained period and eventually the pressure told with the visitors crashing over to retake the lead, Lawrence Brown the scorer.
Though the conversion was missed, Buckingham were now on top with a Gillie penalty widening the gap to 15-11.
Although the visitors’ backs showed signs of improvement, they were unable to add to the score and it was left to the forwards to run the clock down and end 2014 with a long overdue victory.
The result lifts Buckingham up a place to 12th in the South West One East.
Buckingham start the New Year with home games against Witney followed by the visit of unbeaten league leaders Chippenham. Both games kick-off at 2.15pm.