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Marlborough Rugby: Marlborough maintain unbeaten start to season with narrow win over Walcot

Walcot 17 - 22 Marlborough

Marlborough kept up their unbeaten start to their league campaign with a hard fought away win against Walcot.

A number of late drop outs, injuries and a suspension meant the team were short of a few regulars.  The starting team knew they were in for a tough afternoon.

The early exchanges saw Walcot on top at the set piece as Marlborough tried to find their rhythm.  Walcot took an early lead with a penalty before missing two more efforts.  Marlborough also missed a penalty opportunity.

With the home team forwards starting really well, the visitors looked to use their exciting back line to attack, a loose ball was picked up by Waisale Navunidakua who surged forward and set up winger Ratu Vuira.  The pacy winger was clear, out ran the defence and scored under the posts.  Garth Bari converted.

The pattern of the half continued with Walcot making some good hard yards and Marlborough keeping a high tempo looking to break out.  Walcot could have scored in the corner but for a try saving tackle by Will Turner.  As half time approached a good line out ball was by Matt Hamblin near the half way line, Will Grant span it out to Amori Nailago who beat the initial line of defenders and ran clear.  The Walcot chasing defenders managed to tackle him but Nailago was over the line and grounded the ball.  The conversion was missed and a half time score of 12-3.

At half time coach and prop Chris Budgen, urged his men to be patient and cut out the silly mistakes.  However, just after the half was started Marlborough suffered a yellow card for a swinging arm.  With a man advantage Walcot scored a converted try and got the score back to 12-10.

From the restart the visitors won a penalty but Bari's effort came back off the post.  The visitors kept up the pressure and stayed in their opponent's half.  From slow line out ball, Nailago set up his centres and Navunidakua broke to again put Vuira in space.  He beat the defenders and again scored under the posts.  Bari converted for 19-10.

The game then entered a tense final phase, an altercation between a number of players resulted in both teams being reduced to 14 men for ten minutes.  With both teams reduced to 7 in the scrum, Walcot took advantage of a big blind side to break and score a converted try.

The home team sensed a late victory but with time running out it was Marlborough who were on the attack. O ne penalty attempt was missed but a few minutes later another attempt was scored by Bari for 22-17 and shortly after the full time whistle went.

Next week sees a home game against Blandford and hopefully a few returning players

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