Marlborough 50 – 25 Grove RFC
On Saturday 11 September, Marlborough had their first home league game of the season in the Tribute South West 1 East league. It was another warm autumnal afternoon up on the Common and there was plenty of home support for the lads as the Club had hosted a Sponsors and past player’s lunch. The Club also used this occasion to reveal the new branding for Marlborough Rugby including the new logo and playing kit.
Before the game, a number of the younger members of the Club came up and showed their skills to the ever-growing home crowd, whilst they were waiting for kick off. The youngsters then went and collected the first team players, carefully escorting them back across the road and onto the pitch, which was done to a huge roar of cheers and excitement from the crowd. Both teams lined up facing the predominantly home crowd, where a further group of youngsters came in and knelt in front of the home side. It was then kick off time and the pressure were on the 1st XV to achieve a first home win in front of a very expectant crowd.
Marlborough started brightly with a well worked try scored after only seven minutes by Ben Caravou and converted by the returning Will Grant. Grove struck back almost immediately with a converted try of their own following some woeful defending by Marlborough. Marlborough smartened up and quickly replied with another well finished try by Jimmy Adams after fifteen minutes which again was converted by Will Grant. The score was 14 points to 7.
The remainder of the first half for Marlborough was rather poor compared to the initial great start they had achieved. Marlborough gave away a total of eleven penalties before the half time whistle. Grove’s confidence was growing and rightly so, making the most out of Marlborough’s lacklustre defence and the mistakes Marlborough were making when they attacked. Grove managed to kick two penalties and scored a further two tries, the last of which was on the stroke of half time which they converted.
The half time score was Marlborough 14 – Grove 25.
Elisi and Fe’ao spoke to the boys, they were not concerned and told the boys to remain calm, the second half would be better, the ground would be to their favour as they would be going downhill and there were quality players waiting to come in and support when needed. The boys just needed to keep a cool head and be patient – sometimes easier said than done.
The second half was a completely different story, Marlborough improved their defence although still not quite at the intensity it needed to be, but it was much better. Ben Caravou scored his second try of the game just two minutes after the restart, which was converted by Jake Williams, from the corner. Jake had taken over the kicking duties from Will Grant. Jake (Williams) then scored a very well taken individual try of his own with some very neat footwork, scoring under the posts. Sadly, he was unable to convert his own try as he managed to hit the cross bar, much to the delight of the opposition’s spectators. The score was now getting interesting, Marlborough 26 – Grove 25.
Marlborough’s blindside flanker, Toti (Siaosi Feaomefiui) received a knock, Elisi decided now was the time to introduce Knoxy (Inosi Laqekoro) at number 8. He then moved Vee (Koroinivuku Vereti) to the blindside position. The back row was now looking rather tasty and impressive with Vee, Ollie Spanswick and Knoxy. Next to be introduced to the party was James Marshall who replaced Ollie Spanswick in the last fifteen minutes of the game. James put in another very impressive performance and with Knoxy at 8, and extremely powerful carries from the front row, consisting of Meki (Lemeki Moala), Seko (Solomone Aniseko) and Ash Horner. The three of them were all now having an extremely impressive game themselves, Marlborough were getting plenty of quick, front foot ball.
After 60 minutes Ben Cavarou scored his third try, again converted from the corner by Jake Williams. Five minutes later, Knoxy scored with a massively powerful carry, no Grove player was able to stop the juggernaut that was Knoxy. Unfortunately, the conversion was missed but the scores were Marlborough 38 – Grove 25.
With eight minutes left on the clock, outside centre, Joe Pittams beat his man and scored which was dutifully converted by Jake. Marlborough’s set piece was also now working well. The line outs had gone well for most of the game, this continued when Jamie Pittams was replaced by Marlborough’s new young, star forward, Arthur (Boris) Fitzgibbon. On almost the last play of the game, James Marshall capped a fine performance with a well-deserved try of his own. The final score was Marlborough 50 – Grove 25, much to the delight of the Marlborough spectators especially the youngsters as this was their first opportunity to see the 1st XV play and they loved it. Grove had been prevented from scoring any points within the second half.
The Club is very appreciative of our parents bringing the youngsters up to take part in this special day. The boys loved the support they received from them as they helped to relax a few nerves. They made the boys feel very special and they very much played their part in helping the boys to win.
The coaches, (Elisi and Fe’ao Vunipola) explained “Arthur should be very proud of what he has so far achieved with the 1st XV, especially at such a young age. He is really starting to make his mark within the team”. This sentiment is echoed by all his fellow teammates, who feel he is a true asset to the team.
Again, there were many standout players for this match, it was very difficult for Head Coach, Elisi Vunipola to choose who should receive ‘Ramsbury Brewery’s Man of the match’ title, but in the end, it was Ollie Spanswick. He gratefully received a small keg of Ramsbury’s finest and a glass trophy from Callum Peace, the Assistant Estate Manager from Ramsbury.
There were also some amazing performances from Jake Williams, Ash Horner, Knoxy (when he was let off the bench) and Ben Cavarou with his three tries. There were some fantastic periods of play which was incredible to watch. Next week’s game, the 1st XV is away to Newbury Blues who will be a much tougher opposition. Newbury will punish Marlborough for any mistakes they make. They are a very smart outfit; they are a team experienced at playing at a higher level than they are currently in, and they are fit and fast. Marlborough will need to up their game as this will be one of their biggest games of the season.
Full league results can be found following the link Marlborough RFC – Marlborough (rfu.club)
Marlborough Rugby Football Club relaunched as “Marlborough Rugby” in Autumn 2021, with a new team kit and a vision to be ‘One Club’ united in its aim to Welcome, Inspire and Excel. It has set its sights on the 1st XV achieving National League status by 2024/25 and encouraging participation at the highest levels across all the age groups. More info at https://marlboroughrfc.rfu.club/
Marlborough Rugby would like to thank the teams of volunteers and family members who work hard helping behind the scenes at every match, and to our Club sponsors: Compeed UK, CRX Compression Sportswear, Chilvester Financial and the many others who support the teams.