Delighted de Groot praises a ‘fantastic’ display by Buxton RUFC

Action from Buxtons convincing 36-14 victory at Birstall.
Action from Buxtons convincing 36-14 victory at Birstall.

Delighted director of rugby Karl de Groot hailed a “fantastic” performance as confident Buxton inflicted a convincing 36-14 defeat on Birstall in the National League.

Having dispatched high-riding Belper the previous week, Buxton continued their fine form into the trip to Leicestershire for a win that cemented their fifth position in the 12-team Midlands 3 East (North) division.

De Groot, who made the scoresheet himself, said: “We played some fantastic rugby right across the squad in what was potentially a tough fixture. Birstall were a well-drilled, solid outfit when we last met, and I thought our recent away form meant the match had banana-skin written all over it.

“But the guys never looked like losing. Right from the kick-off, they were on fire, expecially the forwards.

“The key to the performance was our link-play, which enabled us to recycle quickly, get the big ball-carriers away and then work off them with the half-backs behind the gain-line. It was textbook stuff really, and great to watch.”

Buxton did have to weather some early pressure as the hosts strung together some good passages of play, utilising their big men to drive up midfield. But they soon clicked into gear, thanks to a rock-solid scrummage that allowed the back row time to force the pace.

The first 25 minutes did not produce a score of any kind, but then some slick ball-work from Tom Anderson at the set-piece lineout found Ben Austin, who timed his pass to perfection into the arms of de Groot and he was unstoppable from 15 metres out.

Birstall hit back with a 60-metre move that gave them a score under the posts, which was converted for a 7-5 lead at half-time. But the second period was all about Buxton, who fired on all cylinders.

A solo effort from Ben Rosamond almost paid dividends until he did score with a classic front-row try. He even deployed his legendary sidestep before crashing over, and Daniel Lomas converted.

Next, it was the turn of Ben Austin after a perfectly-weighted pass from de Groot, and although three yellow cards in quick succession threatened to hamper the visitors, they remained in control, with Will Beall, at number nine, running the show.

During the enforced ten-minute hiatus when they were depleted, Buxton conceded only one score. And when player parity was restored, the try count started to move again for the visitors. Rosamond struck again to edge him closer to that club record, while James Arthur and Dean Wagstaffe also went over, with Lomas kicking to his usual high standard.