BUCKINGHAM 1st XV produced a fine performance to end Drifters’ two-year unbeaten home record in the Southern Counties North.
In one of the most entraining and high quality games of the season, Buckingham ran out deserved 18-13 winners to go third in the table.
With Andy White’s injury side-lining him for the second week in a row and three forwards missing, Dave Hawkins took over the fly-half spot and new player Jak Ciuness filled the fullback berth.
Both sides started strongly, testing and probing each other’s potential with play taking place between the two 22s in a tense opening 15 minutes.
Eventually the deadlock was broken when Jamie Hulston’s penalty gave Buckingham a 3-0 lead.
Drifters continued to move the ball well through their backs but hard tackling by Andrew Jackson and Chris Stanford kept them at bay as a missed penalty was the nearest they came to a score.
With the interval approaching, Buckingham mounted another attack down the left and from a winning a line-out, the ball was moved at pace to Hulston, who made the extra man to send Theo Mettenheimer over in the corner for a textbook try.
However, on the stroke of half-time, Drifters got on the scoreboard with a penalty to leave the game nicely poised.
Buckingham stepped up a gear in the second half with all the forwards playing their part in a series of controlled driving mauls, keeping the home side on the back foot by retaining possession.
A Hulston penalty sailed narrowly wide before he was forced to leave the field with a hamstring problem – yet another injury worry for coach Alan Lane to cope with – but with 10 minutes played another drive from the rampant Buckingham pack ended with a try for Phil Wright.
Six minutes later a repeat performance saw the hard working Andy Thompson get his try and Buckingham appeared in total control at 18-3.
But Drifters refused to give up their impressive unbeaten home run easily, and they were finally rewarded for their endeavour with ten minutes to go – a sweeping move ending with an excellent converted try before a penalty set up a nervous last few minutes but the visitors survived to record a superb win.
Buckingham face an even harder encounter this weekend when they host league leaders Grove tomorrow at 2.30pm.