Buckingham fail to boost survival hopes with nail-biting draw

Andy White.
Andy White.

Buckingham once again missed the opportunity to climb the South West One East table when they could only draw 24-24 with bottom of the league Salisbury on Saturday, further increasing their relegation woes.

On a sunny afternoon, both teams welcomed the chance to play in dry conditions after the recent rain, and it was Salisbury who made the early inroads into the Buckingham 22.

However, the visiting forwards made their intentions clear by shunting the opposing eight several metres back at the first scrum as they drove over for the first try, scored by Phil Wright and converted by Andy White for a 7-0 lead.

But, just when it seemed Buckingham would take control, Salisbury proceeded to dominate the rest of the half as, on 23 minutes, they swept up field and brushed past several weak tackles to level.

Five minutes later they repeated the trick and then, on the stroke of half-time, made it a hat-trick of tries with Buckingham once again offering little resistance and Salisbury, leading 19-7 at the break, on course for only their fourth win of the season.

Buckingham came out with more intent after the restart, though, with White’s penalty reducing the arrears before a kick to the corner enabled the forwards to gather the lineout ball and power over, Steve Gibson chalking up his debut first team try, while White’s kick narrowed the gap to two points.

The visitors continued to make mistakes, however, and Salisbury were able to stretch their lead to seven points after some more sloppy defending.

Buckingham then came storming back from the restart and had the home side on the back foot before, from a line-out, the ball was wrapped up and driven over for Wright’s second try, with White’s nerveless conversion bringing the scores level.

The final ten minutes were a nail-biting affair for both sets of supporters as chances were missed and defences held firm, leaving Buckingham to rue yet another missed opportunity. They remain second bottom and host Devizes this Saturday at 3pm.