Marlborough 39-15 Wimborne
Wimborne provided the opposition for Marlborough’s first game of the new year. Despite a break since the 22nd of December, Wimborne were a team in form with 3 wins in their last 4. Marlborough, on the other hand performed brilliantly in their last game with a 44-0 domination of Stratford. This was going to be a very tight game.
Marlborough kicked off, attacking towards the town and received an early wave of Wimborne pressure. They had the ball camped for the first few minutes inside the Marlborough half. However, Marlborough grew into the game. On 14 minutes the breakthrough arrived. Jonty Kay went over the line after a rather scrappy sequence of play, however the try was coming. Will Grant provided a beautifully taken kick from 30 metres to convert the try. 7-0.
Marlborough had the early control in the scrum and used it well to win the ball back on occasions. The game ebbed and flowed but 10 minutes later Wimborne were awarded a penalty right under the posts and the visitors took 3 points. 7-3.
2 minutes later Marlborough responded. MacDonald Lewis cleverly chipped the ball wide to Rhodri Campbell who ran powerfully to the line to score a great try. Will Grant was on hand to add the conversion points with another sublime kick. 14-3.
4 minutes later he stretched Marlborough’s lead another 3 points with a penalty kick. 17-3. However, Wimborne came back at Marlborough once more. They put in a spell of good pressure and broke the line twice with some nice passing and running. Marlborough held them up on the line and defended bravely for 5 minutes but Wimborne eventually scored on 32 minutes and converted. 17-10.
From the restart, MacDonald Lewis’ kick was brilliantly caught by Ben Caravou and Marlborough put themselves right back on the front foot. Lemeki Moala’s surge was held up on the line, but a penalty had been awarded in the build-up. Marlborough gambled and elected to scrum. Another good push was held up, but yet again a penalty had been awarded. This time, Marlborough used the ball quickly and spread it left for Garth Bari who touched it down. Will Grant converted to put Marlborough 24-10 ahead at half-time.
Wimborne started the second half and came out with intent. For 5 minutes they bossed the play and earned a deserved try on 46 minutes when a sharp attack down the left cut through Marlborough’s defence. The conversion was missed. 24-15.
The next ten minutes of the game were to be very important. Wimborne continued to pile on pressure and look dangerous. Marlborough, however, won a lineout 10m from the line following a kick to touch. Marlborough made the most of this small bit of territory and piled everyone into a huge maul and pushed over to score and to extend the lead on 53 minutes. Will Grant’skick was perfect once again. 31-15.
A moment of magic added more points to Marlborough’s total on 60 minutes. Ben Fulton put through an inch-perfect grubber kick to the corner and Ben Caravou dived to collect it and score. It was a sensational try. From wide left, Will Grant’s kick sailed just wide. 36-15.
Wimborne pushed and pushed for the final knockings of the game but just could not break through the valiant Marlborough defending. They were not helped by the game being frequently stopped for injuries preventing any momentum building up. A 20-minute spell of possession in the Marlborough half came to nothing.
After breaking out, Marlborough clinched the game with a last-minute attack, despite being a man down. Wimborne, held Marlborough up on the line but gave a penalty away in doing so which gave Will Grant the chance to finish off the game. He kicked successfully like he did throughout the match to make the final score 39-15.
This was a hard-fought and grinding win for Marlborough who are now level on points with Banbury who they face away from home next week. A game which will be hugely important in the context of the season. However, with the resilience they showed today, and standout performances from Will Grant, Todd Johnson and Rhodri Campbell they have proved they can dig in against anybody.