Bournemouth 28 – 34 Marlborough
On Saturday, the 1st XV travelled to the Coast in their third fixture of the season in the Regional 1 South Central league. The journey down was not the best, but the team put it to the back of their minds and concentrated on what was coming.
The home side had a good number of vocal supporters which just added to the atmosphere. Bournemouth’s U11s kindly provided a guard of honour for the players as they ran on to the pitch.
Marlborough was the first out of the blocks, thanks to an incredible clearance kick from the returning Will Grant as scrum half, which resulted in a 50/22 5-metre lineout for Marlborough. Solomone Aniseko (Seko) scored after only four minutes from the resulting maul set up from the line out but was unconverted.
Marlborough began to make things tough for themselves, allowing three penalties in three minutes, which Bournemouth capitalised on by scoring six out of the nine points. The home team was allowed to play without firing a single shot.
Two minutes later, Marlborough ended up having to remove an injured Joe Pittams off the field due to an injury. He was replaced by newcomer Niall Pollinger.
Again, Marlborough returned to handing away penalties, pleasing the home team, allowing them to stay in the game. The Lions scored in the 21st minute, thanks in part to some Marlborough errors but also to some good backs play. The home side had now seized the lead, but this seemed to give Marlborough something of a kick up the proverbial, as they came back fighting with an unconverted try from number 8 Siaosi Feaomefiui (Toti) after a dominant scrum against the head and a push-over touch down at the base by Toti.
Half-Time: Bournemouth 14 – Marlborough 17
Elisi’s half-time speech was direct and to the point; the players were aware of his displeasure. The assistant coaches also delivered the same message. The players understood they needed to pull their socks up and perform better.
Thankfully, the coaches did not squander their time during the half-time break, as the boys got off to a solid start thanks to the Lions fluffing the restart. Outside half James Farrell passed the ball to a flying Ben Fulton, who made a tackle breaking run before passing to full back Will Reeve, who was also in full flight, and scored in the corner. Will Grant converted the try perfectly.
Marlborough kept the pressure on the Lions, and Solomone Aniseko (Seko) scored his third try of the game on 54 minutes. Again, a driving maul from an attacking lineout resulted in an unconverted try.
The next twenty minutes were uninspiring for Marlborough, but Bournemouth improved their game, scoring two more tries. Marlborough had allowed the home team to re-enter the game. The Lions had their tails up for the final 10 minutes of play, with their supporters cheering them on loudly from the stands. Fortunately, Marlborough had something up their sleeve. With the experience and knowledge of James Farrell and a powerful set of forwards, James booted through for Ben Fulton, the winger, to dash through for the touchdown but no conversion.
Final Score: Bournemouth 28 – Marlborough 34
Marlborough made it more difficult for themselves than necessary, but there are always more positives than negatives to take away. To begin with, Marlborough was one of only two teams to win away that day. As usual, the awesome foursome or the front players consisting of Ash Horner, Lemeki Moala, Solomone Aniseko, and Save Tuimatanisaqa are still a force to be reckoned with. But the youngster, Bradley Whatley, who played for the 2nd XV, is getting ever closer to becoming a full-time member of this incredible quartet club.
The title of “Man of the Match” went to Solomone Aniseko (Seko) sponsored by Casa Fajara (Rustic Boutique House & Hotel), who deserved it after scoring three tries. Seko is also currently the top try scorer of the league with four and second top point scorer with 20 points. A good day at the office for Seko.
Work on the training pitch is paying off, particularly with lineouts and mauls. Arthur Allen, Jamie Pittams, and Adam Neal were all extremely solid throughout the game.
It was great to have first-team captain Ollie Spanswick back in the shirt; when he came off the bench, he put in some hard graft. Will Grant’s kicking out of hand was on point once more, and the long-awaited return of fullback Will Reeve did not disappoint; with his safe hands, especially under high balls, and he is always a threat when attacking.
Team Manager Dave Pittams explained that “this was an away win for a newly promoted side following a long and taxing journey.”