Marlborough 27 - 8 Chippenham
Last Saturday (15 February), the playing conditions for Marlborough who were hosting Chippenham on the Common were just awful - heavy rain, gale force wind and a very sodden pitch, not the ideal conditions or so you would have thought.
The home side adapted really well to the playing conditions; as well as giving a first senior team start to 19-year-old scrum half Edi Moku. The team also welcomed back from injury, 18-year-old Kuki Daunakamakma. along with Colt player Ben Wilmot, again making the first team squad and impressing when he came on.
Marlborough’s scrum proved to be the dominant force due to the work done by forwards Coach Fa’ao Filise during training which is now really starting to pay off. Due to the conditions the line outs were a bit of a lottery for both teams.
In the first half, Marlborough played up the slope, with the wind behind them, there was some excellent tactical kicking by Daniel Jones, Mac Lewis and Jake Kane which kept Chippenham under pressure. Marlborough’s first try came from a patient build up by the forwards which ended up with the Captain, Insosi Leqekoro, scoring in the corner but the conversion missed, 5-0.
Chippenham tried to put pressure on Marlborough, but the home sides defence held. The next try was scored by Tui Tuilovoni after a hard and direct run from Mac Lewis sucking in Chippenham’s defence, offloading to Ovini, who beat his marker to score, again the conversion was missed, 10-0.
Chippenham then kicked a penalty taking the scores to 10-3. Ovini Tuitoga then went and got his second try following a nice move by the backs which showed excellent handling in the conditions, the conversion missed, 15-3.
Chippenham fought back with an unconverted try of their own as the Marlborough defence seemed to have switched off bringing the halftime scores to Marlborough 15 – Chippenham 8.
The conditions were going from bad to worse in the second half and the pitch was now cutting up very badly which was starting to negate Marlborough’s scrum. Again, the kicking by the backs, even into the gale was pretty good. Inevitably handling errors from both sides increased as the ball felt as though it had been covered in soap in the second half.
Marlborough squandered a couple of chances just dropping the ball when the try line beckoned. There was only one score in the second half with Ovini Tuitoga scoring his second hattrick in consecutive weeks, an excellent try under the posts but Daniel Jones converted this one – final score Marlborough 22 – Chippenham 8.
This was an excellent team performance by Marlborough who were superbly led by Insosi Laqekoro (Knoxy). It is difficult to pick out any individual performance as the whole team stepped up but young Edi Moku, making his first team debut in those conditions and playing as well as he did, does deserve a mention. Next week the 1st XV have a weekend off, hopefully this won’t cause the boys to go off the boil as the following week they are away to Windsor. This will be first time Marlborough has been back to Windsor in nearly two years after the boys won the play offs stopping the Berkshire side from gaining promotion. There will be a point to prove by the home side but that just adds to the anticipation, roll on the 28 February.
Daniel Jones scoring a cheeky tryMarlborough 31 - 24 Buckingham
A welcome return to winning ways for Marlborough 1st XV over Buckingham last Saturday (1 February). Hopeful that luck was about to change but nothing was certain, Marlborough again had to field a different team due to the ever-growing injury list. But this did give Willie Mataitini his first cap and again youngster Ben Wilmot was called up.
Macdonald Lewis hits the Old Patesians defence supported by colt player Ben WillmottOld Patesians 24 - 17 Marlborough
On Saturday the first XV travelled over the border into Gloucestershire to play against Old Patesians. This game was meant to have been played back in December, but it was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch. Again, it was a different side who turned up due to injuries; Marlborough now has a complete team of injured players on the side-lines. Young The slight bit of light at the end of the dark tunnel was that Colt player Ben Willmott made his debut for the firsts.
A cheering St John’s Academy Year 9 rugby team, flanked by their supporting Marlborough RFC coaches, proudly show off their medals and the Swindon Schools Rugby CupJust before the end of the Christmas term pupils from St John’s Academy gathered to celebrate rugby success. The Year 9 boys’ team, who were the first to benefit from Marlborough RFC coaching defeated Commonweal School in a floodlit fixture at Royal Wootton Bassett to win the Swindon Schools’ Rugby Cup final.
Trowbridge 31 - 24 Marlborough
Last Saturday, the firsts were away to Trowbridge for their first game of 2020, but it was not a performance many of the players would care to remember.
Taufa'ao Filise, Marlborough's Player Coach powers through the Oxford defenceMarlborough 25 - 34 Oxford Old Harlequins
After a two-week break (should only have been one, but the weather wasn’t playing nicely) the first XV were back on the Common and the opposition was from over the border – Oxford Harlequins. Sadly, it was a rather depleted Marlborough side that was put out due to the accumulation of injuries which have been sustained by the Marlborough squad. Three of the lads managed to injure themselves at training – not very helpful.