In their second game after the Christmas break, Bucks RFC faced off against Wanderers in Turf City. Having already lost to Wanderers earlier in the season, this game offered a chance to see how both teams were faring as we enter the latter stages of the competition. Wanderers began the brighter of the two teams, earning and converting an early penalty. Continuing this early pressure, Wanderers forwards crossed the try line only for Bucks to hold up the ball. The ensuing scrum resulting in Wanderers being awarded a penalty try. This purple patch continued before the half as Wanderers scored another try, going into the break with a 15-0 lead.
Bucks came out after halftime looking to prove why they were crowned champions last year. Jonny Barber converting an early penalty and once on the scoreboard, Bucks began to eat into Wanderer’s lead. When Adam Field decided to send up a speculative crossfield kick to the far corner, he was not expecting Nick Li to be the player running onto it. However, the diminutive hooker and his bright pink scrum cap leapt like a salmon to contest for the ball, managing to force the ball back into Bucks hands. The athletic and acrobatic demonstration resulted in Bucks scoring their first try through Gui Galy and his French flair. Bucks started to visibly grow into the game, the forwards working a well rehearsed lineout move and forcing themselves towards the line. Rob Grant taking the reward for the forwards hard work, sneaking over from close range, despite rumours in the bar that evening that he beat 3 defenders during a 50m breakaway. The following conversion from J. Barber tying the scores up at 15-15.
Wanderers, not impressed with having let a 15-point lead slip, managed to string together some phases despite the wet conditions. Putting the ball through the hands, the Wanderer’s winger powered through his opposite number for a try in the corner. With the sides exchanging penalty kicks the score was brought to 25-18 in favour of Wanderers and it looked to be out of reach for Bucks. After some well worked interplay, Bucks got the ball to their flying Welshman (dubious heritage), Adam Field, who powered through to score a try as the clock turned red. Jonny Barber with a difficult conversion in front of him duly obliged and the game finished 25-25. Both sides were frustrated at not having won the game, however excitement is building at the top as we move towards the business end of the season.