Old Centralians 76 - Marlborough 12
Last Saturday, the 1st XV went over the border into Gloucestershire to play the return leg of the league series against Old Centralians. The game had to be played at Hartpury College due to Old Cents ground not being suitable due to the recent bad weather.
Last time both teams met was back in November on the Common where Marlborough won by just one point. This game was to be played on a well used all weather pitch, very different conditions to those which Marlborough has become so successful on all throughout February – mud and more mud.
Old Cents gave the 1st XV a master class, they were just too good for the boys. They played a very fast, aggressive, attacking rugby on a hard pitch. Marlborough are certainly not known as soft team, but this time they came the worse off with three players having to visit A & E. Just as the team was starting to get back together after a very long spell with numerous injuries, it looks like the run of good luck has been drawn to an abrupt end.
Though the final score was Old Cents 76 – Marlborough 1st XV 12, Marlborough did have some good phases of play, managed to turnover ball at times and executed two very nice tries, it just wasn’t enough. The boys have a week off to give them a chance to get over the disappointment and to draw a line under the game and move on. There are still four games left to play until the end of the season and aim is to win them but definitely no more injuries.
Marlborough Rugby: Marlborough overcome both Storm Dennis and Chippenham on wet and windswept Common
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.
Marlborough 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.
Old 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.
Just 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.
Windsor 9 - Marlborough 19
On Saturday the firsts ventured over the border into Berkshire to play the return leg against Windsor which would be a bit of grudge match due to Marlborough halting Windsor’s hopes of promotion a couple of seasons ago on their own territory.
Beaconsfield 24 - Marlborough 43
Last Saturday Marlborough travelled to Beaconsfield with more enforced changes from their previous week’s team who were victorious over Buckingham on the Common. Two veteran players were called up to play for the 1st XV, Ben Saqaniavene and Bill Navesu and both of them were awesome – age is just a number!
Funding for development of youth and ladies rugby in Marlborough helped by new pitch side advertising boards"Another step forward in funding the development of rugby in Marlborough" said Marlborough Rugby Club chair, Gary Sharp as the advertising barriers were installed along one side of the main pitch on The Common.
Banbury 38 - 19 Marlborough
On Saturday, Marlborough travelled over the border into Oxfordshire to play the return leg of this league fixture. The sun was out, the air was fresh, and hopes were high of another good performance. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case; in the warm up Will Grant gave the team a scare when there was concern as to whether he would be able to play due to a very painful shoulder but he did manage to complete the full eighty minutes.
Marlborough 29 - 8 Wimborne
On Saturday, the first home game of the New Year and Marlborough finally pulled it out of the bag and got a win. This boost was vital for the team after not winning a game since the middle of November and where some lack lustre performances had been given, finally the tide had turned, and Marlborough came out and gave possibly their best display of the season.
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