Marlborough Rugby: Marlborough squeak home by narrowest of margins in entertaining game at Blandford
Blandford 34 - 35 Marlborough
Marlborough won a very entertaining game with the last kick of the match.
The weather was very different to recent weeks. It was good and conducive to good running rugby.
Marlborough put on good early pressure and took a 10-0 lead via a penalty after 5 mins from Garth Bari and then a try after 8 mins following a flowing backs move with Bari coming into the line from full back to finish it off. Bari also converted. Blandford immediately responded by converting a penalty from in front of the posts following an offside at the ruck that formed after the kick off.
After 15mins Michael Sims gathered a loose ball just inside the Blandford twenty-two and sped over in the corner, once again showing his great pace, the conversion was missed. Blandford again responded, this time with a converted try after 20 mins, having taken advantage of some poor defensive organisation by the visitors. Again a score came straight from the kick off, when the home team tried to clear the ball from their twenty-two, man of the match Sam Gouldbourn charged down and scored under the posts, Bari converted.
The pattern of score and then response continued as firstly Blandford got a penalty from a long way out after 25 mins. And then scored from a driving maul after 27 mins and converted. The half ended when Bari kicked a penalty on half time.
The second half saw Marlborough defending early Blandford pressure. Jake Williams was off injured and James Clancy came on as replacement. Gouldbourn, who was outstanding both going forward and in defence, and Inosi Laqekoro, running onto high balls and getting over the gain line, were the stand out players for the visitors. Lemeki Moala having his first start for Marlborough also was excellent in the loose and made a huge impact in the scrums.
There was no score in second half until 60 mins, Avenai Cakaunitavuki broke through two tackles with a straight and very powerful run to core under the posts. Clancy converted as Bari was down with an injury. This made it 32 -20, then Marlborough then had a bit of a low point, crowd got behind Blandford and they scored two converted tries 65 mins driving maul, then a backs try 76mins just poor defending from Marlborough.
Finally with the game at 34-32 to the home team the visitors woke from their slumber. Gouldbourn again won the restart and Marlborough played some really exciting rugby.
Finally winning a 79th minute pen in front of the posts between the ten metre line and the twenty-two. Bari converted. The ref said there would be time the restart but it would be the final play. Sam again won the ball and the visitors gratefully kicked it to touch. For a very entertaining win.
The ref (who was excellent) said it was the best match he had ever refereed.