Tottonian RFC 18 – 24 Marlborough
On Saturday, the 1st XV made their maiden voyage down to Tottinian RFC; this was the first time both sides had ever met, and both had the same goal: to win. The weather was miserable; autumn had finally arrived, but hearts were full of hope and expectations.
The awful weather conditions caused Marlborough to start very slowly. The home side opened the scoring after five minutes with a penalty, much to the delight of the crowd. Marlborough continued to struggle to get a foothold in the game as there was some very awesome kicking from the Tottonians who knew how to use the conditions and the lay of their pitch to their advantage. But after sixteen minutes, following several phases of play from an attacking lineout and the fullback, Will Reeve finished off a very well worked try, which was duly converted by Will Grant.
Tottonians then closed the gap with another two penalties in quick succession. Marlborough was racking up the penalties. They were not getting to grips with the weather or the home team’s kicking game.
Marlborough won the re-start, and after five phases, Callum Hunt finished the piece off with a try in the corner, sadly unconverted. After the score, Callum had to be replaced due to a niggling injury he had received the previous week. On came Viliame Waqanidrola (Qila) into the inside centre position, which meant Ben Fulton had to go out onto the wing and try and create his magic from there.
Five minutes before the half-time whistle blew, Will Reeve managed to get another score on the board, which started from an attacking scrum, followed by a move that has been rehearsed numerous times at training.
Half Time: Tottonian 9 – 19 Marlborough
The second half started poorly for Marlborough, another two penalties were given away in quick succession again on the forty-fifth and forty-eighth minute, resulting in the scores creeping ever closer, to within one point. The home sides, fly half’s, game management and kicking skills were very much on point.
After sixty minutes, Marlborough’s physical game was starting to pay dividends when Solomone Aniseko (Seko) crashed over to score, following six phases of play from an attacking scrum. Sadly, Marlborough then lost Seko and then Arthur Allen, to yellow cards. The youngster, Bradley Whatley, came on to replace Seko (during his time out) when needed in the front row at scrum time. He too had a niggling injury, so he had not trained much during the week, but as expected, he performed extremely well.
Final Score: Tottonian 18 – 24 Marlborough
This was a tough game for Marlborough; the home side coped with the weather conditions better than Marlborough did, and they stuck to their game plan. One positive to take away is that there were no tries scored against Marlborough. All the home team’s points were obtained through penalties. This is something that will be addressed in training.
The ‘Man of the Match’ was Jack Lynd, whose performance was described as relentless by Head Coach Elisi. Not far behind Jack was fellow second row player Tom Elbrow, who has had a frustrating start to his season, with a niggling injury. But a couple of run-outs in the 2nd XV and impressing off the bench last week, led to a deserved starting place for this game.
Marlborough’s Team Manager, Dave Pittams pointed out that “the new players Adam Neal and Richard West are bedding in well with the team. They again stepped up and showed what assets they will be to Marlborough going forward. When 18-year-old Arthur Allen came off the bench to replace Adam, his line out work was exceptional for one so young.”
Again, scrum half, Will Grant’s boots did a fine job with the kicking, and Will Reeve was also superb in his role. And it goes without saying, the awesome foursome (the front row players) was yet again the cornerstone for Marlborough.
Next week, the 1st XV is back on the Common, hosting Buckingham RFC, who are currently at the bottom of the league table. There will be plenty of homework for the boys this week as they are giving away far too many penalties, and that may end up being their downfall – we shall see.