Marlborough 12 – 15 Bracknell
On Saturday, second position Bracknell in the Tribute South West 1 East, came over the border from Berkshire to the Common, and what a welcome they received. Storm Arwen was still blowing a hoolie with a wind chill factor of at least minus three – welcome to Marlborough Common.
The home side started with their sixth captain of the season, James Marshall who did a sterling job in very, very difficult conditions. Another first was the half back pairing of Will Grant and Aaron James who have never played this combination before.
Marlborough started off playing up the slope and into the wind, but Bracknell were quick to work out their advantage, of playing down the Common and with the wind behind them. The visitors were dominant in the first half, but Marlborough were no pushover, they dug in and defended. The defensive drills practiced by the boys on the training ground on a Thursday are starting to pay dividends much to the delight of the coaches, Elisi and Fe’ao Vunipolla.
After ten minutes, Bracknell were the first to score through their forwards with an unconverted try – this was not a day for kicking. Within a short period of time, Marlborough evened up the score with a try of their own by loose head prop, Ash Horner. Horner saw a gap in the visitor’s defensive line and went turbo, no one was going to stop him making his mark, much to delight of the Marlborough spectators who soon warmed up with all the cheering. Sadly, this was not converted.
Just before halftime, Bracknell scored again but there was no conversion.
Half Time: Marlborough 5 – Bracknell 10.
Unfortunately, Marlborough’s start to the second half was not as good as they would have wanted which was then compounded by several penalties being given away. Unsurprisingly, Bracknell took full advantage and scored another try. This spurred Marlborough on, after some impressive forward pressure from Solomone Aniseko (Seko) who scored under the posts which was then converted by Aaron James.
Elisi decided it was time to bring on some young blood, eagerly waiting on the side-lines, enter Dylan Jimenez who came on at scrum half, Will Grant, moved to outside half. Again, great to see Dylan getting into the first team having come through the junior section.
Marlborough continually pressed Bracknell but their defence held firm. Marlborough were inches from the try line, Bracknell’s penalty score was racking up due to the intensity Marlborough was putting on them. The Marlborough crowd was getting excited, they could see how close the boys were to getting the win, but time was not on their side. The final play of the game didn’t go as planned, the whistle blew, and the visitors sighed a sigh of relief – it was over.
Final score: Marlborough 12 – Bracknell 15
It was an awesome game to watch, just what was needed on this Baltic afternoon on the Common. Bracknell showed why they are where they are in the table, but this young Marlborough side has plenty to look forward to.
A mention must also go out to Patch Campbell (formerly retired), again stepping up to help the team out. Unfortunately, he had to go off with a hamstring injury, but up until that point he was very much of a thorn in Bracknell’s side at the line outs and mauls. Team Manager, Dave Pittams explained “it is difficult to pick out a man of the match from this game. Although the backs had little or no ball to run with, their defence was first class. The forwards were excellent, but again the front row of; Ash Horner, Solomone Aniseko (Seko)and Lemeki Moala (Meki)were just outstanding”.
Next week the 1st XV are away to Buckingham who are currently in twelfth position in the league.