Swindon 5 – Marlborough 40
On Saturday, the 1st XV made their way down the road to play against Swindon in their league game (Regional 2 Tribute South Central) which is the first time the two sides have come up against each other for a few years. So not only was this a local derby which could throw up strange results, it was also against a team that we are no longer used to playing – could lead to an interesting eighty minutes.
Though the clouds looked a little moody and threatening, the weather managed to hold . Luckily, the rain through the week had greened up the pitch and so there was a little more cushioning under foot.
Before the game started, there was a minute’s silence in respect of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Marlborough stood stoically in quiet reflection.
It was a strong start for Marlborough, with a dominant scrum, resulting in a penalty and a five-metre line out after only five minutes. Although the line out did not go to plan, Joe Visei grabbed the loose ball and crashed through the Swindon defence to score, converted by Will Grant
Marlborough’s dominance continued, but silly mistakes were hampering their game. After fifteen minutes Marlborough had another attacking line out, set up a maul, and hooker Solomone Aniseko (Seko) peeled off the back of the maul to score another try, converted by Will Grant.
The next period of the game was very stop/start, no rhythm flowed. Swindon’s injury count began to rise. Marlborough were again guilty of trying to force things, leading to silly errors. After thirty-five minutes, Ben Fulton chased a clearing kick from Full Back, Will Reeve, beating two Swindon players to touch down over the line. Another conversion by Will Grant.
Two minutes later, Swindon struck back following a series of basic errors from Marlborough with a try of their own, in the corner which was unconverted. This gave Marlborough a bit of a kick up the backside they needed. Marlborough won the next line out followed by some slick handling from the backs with Will Reeve (Full Back) coming into the line, passing back inside to Amori Nailago (Moree) to score an unconverted try within the final play of the first half.
Half-Time: Swindon 5 – Marlborough 26
The coaches gave a positive half-time talk to the players, emphasising ‘do not try to force the game and cut out the silly mistakes.’
Like the prior week, Swindon’s kick off for the start of the second half, ended out of touch, just like Grove had. Marlborough made a dominant start with Jack Lynd picking the ball up from the base of the ruck and charging over from fifteen metres out, scoring a converted try.
Sadly, Marlborough then picked up two yellow cards within two minutes of each other. Jamie Pittams for collapsing a maul and Ben Fulton for retaliation after being tackled in the air. But with only thirteen men, they defended extremely well, much to the delight of the coaches.
Again, the flow of the game stuttered with Swindon suffering further injuries and yet more handling errors from Marlborough. The next try was one of the games highlights. After seventy-five minutes, Will Reeve kicked through for winger, Akariva Seruvatu (Aka) to chase. Aka picked the ball up one handed and beat two defenders to run in under the posts scoring a converted try with the help of Will Grant’s boot.
Final Score: Swindon 5 – Marlborough 40
Marlborough are struggling to click together as a team, and they did allow themselves to be sucked into Swindon’s game rather than playing their own. Even so there were still some positives to take away from the game.
The game saw the introduction of two new players, debuting in the 1st XV: Simon Pilkington (Front Row) and Akariva Seruvatu (Aka). Both came off the bench in the second half and showed that they will be great assets to the club going forward. Aka came across from CRX Marlborough 7’s, where he has been one of their star players for the 7’s season.
‘Man of the Match was Siaosi Feaomefiui (Toti) who is sponsored by G Marsh Building Services Ltd, had an outstanding game at No 8. The second-row partnership of Jack Lynd and Jamie Pittams worked extremely well. They complement each other very well; Jack’s strong ball carrying and Jamie’s line out dominance and support play’ explained Team Manager, Dave Pittams. Young Bradley Whatley (Loose Head) is also going from strength to strength.
Next week the 1st XV is home to Newbury Blues which the boys are very much looking forward to – another local derby. It will also be the start of the 2nd XVs campaign, and they are away to Sutton Benger. An exciting weekend to look forward to and hopefully a double win.