Buckingham RFC put up plenty of fight before South West 1 East leaders Old Centralians (OC) showed their class to run out winners on Saturday.
Almost immediately from the kick-off, Buckingham held up the first maul of the afternoon and from their first drive the hosts went ahead through Henry Sweeney’s try.
The conversion was missed on a breezy afternoon, but Buckingham had an encouraging 5-0 lead.
The home side continued to dominate scrums and occupied OC’s 22, but failed to convert this into points, and then lost some forward momentum when number eight, Jim Barker was sidelined with a head injury.
This unsettled Buckingham and a high tackle led to a penalty which OC converted to cut the gap to 5-3.
Following several exchanges from both sides, OC began to get more continuity and scored their first try on 28 minutes, which was converted for a 10-5 lead.
OC then started to put their game together and, disappointingly for Buckingham, the visitors returned a kick with interest to scored another unconverted try in the corner.
The leaders finished the half in the ascendency with their bonus-point fourth try, this time converted, to lead 22-5 at half-time.
Like the first period, Buckingham began the second brightly, earning an early scrum.
Ill discipline forced OC back another 10 metres closer to their posts, and with options either side of the scrum, Jamie Lee ran in a try.
The conversion was missed, but Buckingham were back within two scores at 22-10.
But playing to their strengths, OC immediately struck back with an unconverted try to take their lead out to 27-10.
Yet once again from the restart, Buckingham won a scrum on the 15m line.
Rowan Cooke, on his first game back after a lengthy injury lay-off, skipped past four OC defenders to score under the posts.
Ollie Horton landed the simple conversion and again Buckingham were in touch at 27-17.
Despite a yellow card, however, OC showed their pedigree and demonstrated why they lead the league by scoring two tries in the closing minutes, including one conversion to finally take the game away from Buckingham.
Buckingham head to Old Patesians on Saturday.