South Lancs/Cheshire League
Buxton 1st XV 7
Crewe & Nantwich 20
A COURAGEOUS, but error ridden Buxton performance failed to capitalise on the sustained pressure they exerted on league leaders Crewe and Nantwich.
From the kick-off, Buxton stamped their authority on the game, with good rucking from Chapman, Scott and Jackson. This immediately forced Crewe to concede early penalties, giving Buxton good early field position via the boot of Waters.
From the ensuing line-outs Edge and Kirton-Darling commanded possession with salmon-like jumping. From this platform Buxton strung a series of phases together. Captain Bartram and Passey from the position of centre came in the line with purpose and grit.
Powerful counter running from Hodgson, Robinson and Shuttleworth aided Buxton to penetrate the tough rearguard action of Crewe.
However, this was not enough to break Crewe’s defence which remained solid despite a 20-minute period of sustained attack.
Buxton became frustrated and their concentration failed as they did not play to the whistle when Crewe took a quick line-out, chipped away and scored under the posts leaving the Buxton defence napping.
That score took the wind out of Buxton’s sails and within minutes Crewe performed an almost identical move chipping over the top of Buxton’s defence and gathering a loose ball to score under the Buxton sticks.
The half time team talk from ex-professional, coach DeGroot rejuvenated and inspired Buxton’s second half performance. Buxton found that Crewe’s weakness lay in their scrummage and Meir, Jackson and Chapman looked to expose it. Crewe resorted to the tactic of deliberately wheeling the Buxton scrum around 90 degrees, which although gifted Buxton a series of penalties it slowed their rhythm.
Buxton began to break the line as Campbell provided Waters with quick service and unleashed the back three of Batterbee, Robinson and DeGroot. After a series of line breaking runs, Bartram broke free and off loaded to Scott who crashed over the line to score a well-deserved team try.
Crewe continued to play with ambition and showed why they are league leaders and responded with a sustained period of pressure themselves. The pressure forced Buxton to concede a trio of penalties and Crewe, respecting the Buxton fightback, took the three points on offer. Immediately from the ensuing kick-off Crewe found themselves in the Buxton half and they opted to further their lead with a superbly-taken drop goal.
In the last 15 minutes the introduction of Storer at second row offered Buxton another dimension in the scrums and mauls. Buxton found themselves camped in the opposition half for much of this time and in the dying seconds Buxton reached the Crewe five-metre line, after repeated attempts to breach the try line. The ball was shipped down the blind side to the waiting hands of Scott who crashed over the line, but unfortunately the ball was not deemed as grounded by the referee.
Although another spirited and much improved performance, Buxton failed to take their scoring opportunities and this proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Buxton: Chapman, Jackson, Meir, Hodgson, Kirton-Darling, Edge, Shuttleworth, Scott, Campbell, Waters, Robinson, Passey, Bartram (c), DeGroot, Batterbee, Storer, C. DeGroot (coach) and Barber.