Marlborough 5-38 Royal Wootton Bassett
On the back of a good team performance and win at Oxford Harlequins last week, Marlborough faced a Royal Wootton Bassett side in top form. On a seven-game win streak, Bassett sat second in the table, two points above Marlborough. The gloomy, grey and bitter weather was no problem for the crowd, who came out in numbers for the eagerly anticipated fixture. Marlborough kicked off the first-half and were attacking the Town End.
Bassett came out of the blocks fast and from the first whistle showed an array of neat passing to sustain some early pressure in the Marlborough half. Within three minutes they had scored the first try of the game. The rapid number 9 broke through Marlborough’s defence and passed wide to the right for the try. It was a good try which caught Marlborough napping early on. The conversion skimmed the bar as it went over. 0-7.
Marlborough have reacted well to conceding tries in recent weeks, but Bassett defended the pressure resolutely. On 13 minutes they intercepted a stray Marlborough pass 20 metres from their try line and broke quickly with some lightning quick off-loading and running to score again. Elye Darragh with the try, which was not converted. 0-12.
Then the game began to get fiery. The referee was on hand to cool a couple of the players down after some hard tackles were flying in. Shortly after, Marlborough won a lineout 10 metres from the Bassett try line. Marlborough put men in the maul and drove over the line. Semisi Rasivo the man to touch the ball down. Will Grant kicked wide to leave the score at 5-12.
The game continued to be fought hard. Marlborough were marginally on top for the remainder of the half but were unable to convert territory into points. Despite their 12 being sin-binned, Bassett made one last attack before half-time. They won a line-out 10 metres from the Marlborough line and spread the ball across the line quickly to score down the left. There was nothing Marlborough could do to stop that try, which was not converted so the half-time score was 5-17.
Early in the second half Joe Visei was taken off for a head injury he sustained earlier in the match. On 51 minutes the situation got worse for Marlborough. Some poor play gave the ball away to the Bassett player who showed some tidy football skills to kick the ball to the line and score. The try was converted, and the game was beginning to get away from Marlborough. 5-24.
Feiloaki Ngungutau who came on to replace Joe Visei was sin-binned on 56 minutes for a dangerous tackle. The game was getting feisty once again which played into the hands of Bassett who were happy for the game to slow down. The match continued to be hard fought but there were no scores until the 75th minute, when Bassett scored another slick try off the back of a line-out. The try was converted very well as the light began to quickly fade. 5-31.
Two minutes later and with virtually the last play of the game, Bassett scored once more. The number 10 Thomas Fieldsendwho had caused trouble all day long for Marlborough played a key part in setting up another good try which was converted to rub salt in the wounds of the weary and dejected Marlborough players. The full-time score was Marlborough 5-38 Royal Wootton Bassett.
It was a stern test for Marlborough against a side in top form. It will be interesting to see how they fare against top of the table Newbury Blues next Saturday. Meanwhile, Marlborough are away to Salisbury at 2.15pm and will be looking for a bounce-back performance to see them return to winning ways.