Buckingham RFC opened 2020 with a 31-22 defeat as they let an eight-point lead slip in the final 20 minutes at Windsor on Saturday.
The improving hosts had picked up 14 points in their three pre-Christmas fixtures, but neither side gained early dominance as the two packs tried to assert themselves at scrum time.
Harry Scarr’s 20-metre run sparked the opening try after 12 minutes, and when he was brought down, the ball was fed to Nick Sumner who found an opening and ran half-the-length of the pitch to score. Kinman’s conversion gave Buckingham a 7-0 lead.
As the forwards upped the pressure, Windsor lost their tight head prop to injury, while the loose-head flanker was yellow-carded for ruck infringements.
And Buckingham took advantage with a second try in the 24th minute when Maffu Glendinning’s quick free-kick was driven towards the Windsor line and Jim Barker touched down near the corner for 12-0.
Back to full strength, Windsor hit back after 34 minutes when a lapse in concentration undid Buckingham’s resolute defence, allowing their winger to play the advantage from a knock-on and cross under the posts. The simple conversion made it 12-7.
Windsor continued to pressure and soon after a five-yard scrum near the Buckingham posts was won against the head and the number eight touched down. The conversion put the hosts 14-12 up
But Buckingham got their noses back in front from the restart when Windsor infringed in the ruck, Ed Kinman’s penalty kick from 30 yards giving them a one-point lead.
Henry Sweeney and Craig Craker replaced Matt Warren and Matt Bruce early in the second half, and the visitors scored again just before the hour.
Flanker Sweeney pounced on a loose ball on halfway and ran in an opportunist try. Kinman added the extras (22-14).
Windsor got a try back after 64 minutes as an unsuccessful kick for touch was gathered and returned, with their scrum-half running through the line to touch down. The conversion cut the gap to 22-21.
The game turned nine minutes from time when Sumner was blocked chasing his own kick into clear space within Windsor’s 22, and from the resultant plays, the hosts carried the ball deep into the Buckingham’s half where they gained a penalty for hands in the ruck in front of the posts.
Windsor kicked the penalty for a 24-22 lead.
The home side then sealed the game in the second minute of stoppage-time when the number eight broke from a scrum 10 yards out and popped the ball to his fly half for a last-gasp converted try.