Side step and another superb display from Amori NailagoMarlborough 16 - 17 North Dorset
Marlborough narrowly lost the 1st XV Cup final on Saturday against North Dorset after dramatically missing a penalty in the last minute. North Dorset had taken an early lead from a catch and drive at a lineout. A tight game was then altered by the sending off of Marlborough prop and head Coach, Chris Budgen after an intervention by the linesman. The harsh decision certainly affected the Marlborough set piece but is to the credit of the whole team to play 60 minutes with an influential player off the pitch.
Avenai Cakaunitavuki taking on his opponentThe only other score of the first half was a penalty by full back Nathan Morgan. The kick right on half time made the half time score 5 -3 to the Dorset side.
The second half remained tight. Marlborough scored next after some great work by centre Jamie Laing to set up Pita Robanakadavu. The winger has shown some great finishing this season and did so again to put the Wiltshire side in front witrh Morgan getting the extras for a 10-5 lead.
The Dorset side then answered with a try of their own to once again take the lead and a scoreline of 12-10. The Wiltshire side stepped up their game and once again outside half Amori Nailago really started to get his side going. Nailago was getting great support from his centres Laing and Avenai Cakaunitavuki. The midfield trio playing some superb rugby. The side were pushing for the next score and on one attack where it looked like they were about to score, a pass from Morgan was intercepted and North Dorset ran in for an unconverted try.
Breaking through is James FarrellThis made the score 17-10. The Marlborough pack had been determined throughout the day and playing with one less player too, the performance of number 8 Lario Tuliva deserves huge praise in getting the team and in particular the midfield some decent ball to work with. The work rate of the team was earning them penalties and Morgan kicked two to once again bring the scores close at 17-16. In the last minute of the game Morgan had a kick to win it and agonisingly the wind affected kick just missed.
Congratulations go to North Dorset on their cup win and every success as they progress into the next rounds of the national competition. As for Marlborough they can take huge confidence in the spirit and determination of the side. The team have huge potential and some very exciting players. Next week the club hosts 2 games at home followed by the players Christmas meal.
Marlborough 10 - 3 Devizes
On a wet and miserable day on the Common, Marlborough beat local rivals Devizes to gain their first win of the season in a double header - a semi final in the Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Cup and Southern Counties South league match. Marlborough were without club coach and prop Chris Budgen and also James Farrell so Richard Trevaskis and Will Grant stepped up to fill their boots. Both having great games.
Captain Jonny Mantle led his team out with light raining falling that just got worst as the game went on. This made for challenging conditions for both sides with a slippy ball and the ground underfoot not favorable. For most of the match the defences were on top and although both sides tried to run the ball the tacklers were always doing a great job. Hugo O'Neill was very influential at the breakdown and not allowing Devizes any quick ball. Quote of the day came from Jon Berry who said "I've never tackled so much in my life !"
Marlborough played up the slope in the first half and they did well to hold out Devizes. The conditions meant that outside half Moree Nailago was making good use of a kicking game and pinning Devizes back in their half. Devizes had chances to score but the home defence held strong and was also helped by some crucial knock ons. The visitors did miss a penalty attempt at the end of the half but the first half ended 0-0.
Marlborough knew where they wanted to play the second half and to keep the pressure on with Nailago kicking for territory and also for his centres and wings to run onto. Unfortunately, O'Neill was sin binned for a breakdown offence and Devizes tried to take advantage of their numerical advantage. Once again the home defence stepped up and started to get an advantage in the scrum. Trevaskis grew into the game and got better as the game went on, Sam Gouldbourn playing in the second row was also having an outstanding game.
When O'Neill came back on it was the visitors who started to concede penalties. Marlborough missed 4 long range penalties but then came the game's crucial score. Another kick through by Nailago bounced right for Nakeleto Nadakeke who dived over to score. Full back Brad Cannon kicked the conversion.
Devizes responded with penalty after the restart to make the score 7-3. This was closely followed by another penalty to Marlborough and a 10-3 score. As the weather got worse the defences seemed to get better. Marlborough knew how much the win would mean and Devizes were determined to fight back. They pushed hard in the final minutes and got deep into the home team's half. From a penalty lineout, a not straight throw relieved the pressure and then at the resulting scrum the home team were delighted to kick the ball out and win the game.
This was a hard fought win against the team who were the league leaders. It also means a cup final against North Dorset on November 28th. The team can now push forward from this having played 5 of the top 6 sides and gain a huge amount of confidence.
Next week is a week off for all sides due to the World Cup final so training will be on Tuesday and then a deserved rest on Thursday. Sat 7th November is Dorchester away.