Marlborough 44-0 Stratford Upon Avon.
Today’s fixture welcomed Stratford Upon Avon to The Common in grey, damp and miserable conditions. After a brilliant team performance last time out at Salisbury, Marlborough were firm favourites to take the points in this tie. Stratford Upon Avon who have only won one game all season would have to put a top performance in to challenge Marlborough.
The game kicked off with Stratford attacking the town end. Despite the cold, Marlborough made a hot start. They spread the ball wide right and a clever overlap from in-form Mitieli Vulikijapani led to the first try of the game inside two minutes. Will Grant narrowly failed to convert from a long way out. 5-0.
Despite the early try, Marlborough found themselves locked in a scrappy, slow game of rugby. Marlborough, however after a period of good possession finally made headway when in the 21st minute Lemeki Moala barged his way over the try line to score. Will Grant converted to put Marlborough 12-0 in front.
Marlborough then began to show their superiority. Mitieli Vulikijapani and Will Grant were combining well and threatening down the wings. Meanwhile, Stratford posed very little danger coming forward. On 35 minutes Lemeki Moala scored his second try of the game after pushing over in a maul following from a line-out. Will Grant converted to extend Marlborough’s lead to 19. 19-0 was the score at half-time.
Again, Marlborough came out of the blocks fast in the second half and instantly pushed to the line in a big maul but were held up and Stratford kicked sideways into touch. However, from the resulting lineout Marlborough pushed over in the maul once again and Semisi Rasivo put the ball down. Will Grant’s kick was pushed just wide by the howling wind. 24-0 after 44 minutes.
2 minutes later, Marlborough scored an almost identical try. Stratford were unable to deal with Marlborough’s powerful maul and it allowed Lemeki Moala to bring up his hattrick for the day and secure the bonus point. Will Grant failed to convert. 29-0.
Then the weather took a turn as the rain hammered down. The rugby returned to being rather scrappy, too. Stratford still offered nothing offensively but were brave in their defending, despite the score line. However, on 65 minutes Mitieli Vulikijapani stretched his legs, broke the line and sped away to score one of his textbook tries. Not many defences can stop him when he gets going. The try was not converted, and the score stretched to 34-0.
With 8 minutes remaining, the Stratford players exhausted and most of the supporters wanting a nice warm brew, Marlborough scored once again. Following a scrum 10 metres from the line, they showed their strength and stamina and pushed their way over. 39-0. Lemeki Moala with his fourth try of the day, which was not converted.
With the last play of the game, a solid team performance was rounded off by a quality team try when the ball was spread wide left and Mitieli Vulikijapani unselfishly offloaded to Will Grant to take Marlborough to a 44-point total. The try was not converted, and the final whistle blew. 44-0.
Marlborough face Trowbridge away next week and will look to close the gap on Royal Wootton Bassett who fell to Old Centralians today.