Marlborough 48 – 10 Devizes
Saturday saw “The Clash” between Marlborough and Devizes up on the Common. There had been much anticipation leading up to this game. Any local derby has followers who are very passionate about the game. Both sets of followers want their team to be the one who comes out on top—this game was no different. The pitch side atmosphere was electric.
On top of the excitement and anticipation for the game, there was also a lot going on at Marlborough. Not only was there a sponsor’s lunch, but there were also fifty plus former Marlborough players who were having their annual meet up. They were all in very good form, especially since several of them were on the original team, which was the first Marlborough team to ever beat a Devizes side back in November 1996. They wanted to see history repeat itself, and it did!
There was also a small contingent of mini players who turned out in the bitterly cold conditions. Sadly, we couldn’t have all 350 mini and junior players there in person, but they were there in spirit. These youngsters showed off their throwing skills in games run by some very hardy coaches. At halftime, they further showed off their skills to keep the crowd entertained. They also had another very important job to do, which was to ensure all the seniors got across the road and onto the pitch in one piece. As usual, they did a brilliant job, and the seniors very much appreciated their help and support.
As a club, we are very lucky that we have such a well-supported and successful grass-roots level of players coming through the different age groups. Many go on and enter the colts, and some go into the senior sides. The club endeavours to continue to inspire the new generation of players, as they are the future of the club.
This was to be Marlborough’s final home game of the season within the Regional 2 Tribute South Central of the Southwest Division league. Devizes was looking to end Marlborough’s unbeaten streak, but Marlborough had other ideas. The goal for Marlborough remained the same: to ensure that the unbeaten record is maintained going into the Cup competitions.
The game started brightly for both sides, with both teams showing ambition and heart. With less than ten minutes on the board, an infringement by the home side for an offside offence gave Devizes the chance to take three points and open the scoring.
There was some strong running as usual from the likes of Jack Lynd, Ash Horner, and even Lemeki Moala (Meki), which seemed to help spur the home side on. After some slick hands,which resulted in Akaiuva Serutatu (Aka) scoring Marlborough’s first try. Sadly unconverted: Marlborough 5 – Devizes 3.
Devizes were desperate to keep the scoreboard ticking over. After a rare visit into the Marlborough half, they looked to take another three points from a drop goal, but it turned out more like a grubber kick. The resulting 22-metre dropout resulted in Marlborough securing a turnover, and again with slick hands, Marlborough entered the Devizes 22. The visitors again caused an infringement just short of the line. From the 5-metre line, Solomone Aniseko (Seko) powered over to score the first of his two tries of the day. And the youngster, James Clancy’s boot, put the icing on the cake—12-3 to Marlborough.
Throughout the first half, there was some great interplay from Marlborough, which saw them score a further three tries. As usual, the boys were strong in the scrum, but we do have quite an awesome front row. The pick of the tries must go to Will Reeve, who scored an impressive try from a set-piece strike.
Devizes was struggling with how to deal with Marlborough, even becoming a little rattled, some might say. Devizes No. 12 had to take a ten-minute enforced breather for what was deemed a dangerous tackle. This caused a little bit of excitement on the field—a bit of dancing around the handbags—but it was quickly quelled.
Halftime Score: Marlborough 29 – 3 Devizes
The halftime message from Elisi and Vili was to keep to the structure and keep playing with enjoyment and dominance.
The second half continued as the first had ended. Marlborough were dominating in all areas of the game, and with less than five minutes into the second half, a clean lineout ball and interplay gave Viliami Hakalo the chance to burst over the try line to score. 34-3
Marlborough also had two players who received an enforced 10-minute break off the pitch. The second of which allowed Devizes a rare visit into the 22-metre of the home side. After several phases of play, they managed to crash over, out wide, to provide them their only try of the day. 34-10.
Marlborough received the kick-off and kicked long. From the resulting lineout in the Devizes half, some poor handling from the visitors gave Aka the chance to pounce on the ball. He raced in from 40 metres out, unopposed, to pop the ball down, which was kindly converted by Will Reeve. 41-10.
The remainder of the game was fiercely contested, with both teams putting in strong tackles and hard running, which resulted in the final try of the day for the home side. After some lovely handling along the line, Jimmy Adams received the ball and dived into the corner for the try. Sadly, the conversion fell wide. Final score: Marlborough 48–10 Devizes.
This was another dominant performance by the Marlborough boys, which they executed with great character. They may have won the league, but they are still hungry to improve.
The front row, as usual, were their normal dominant selves, and there were also some great performances across the whole team, with Aka receiving “Man of the Match.” There are two more games left for Marlborough, and the goal of remaining unbeaten is still very much alive and kicking!
Final Score: Marlborough 48 – 10 Devizes
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