Marlborough 45 – 12 Dorchester
Marlborough returned to winning ways with a 6 try victory on a bitterly cold day on the Common. The early phases of the game saw both sides trying to get used to a strong cross wind and constant rain. After only 5 minutes the home team’s outside half was harshly red carded for retaliating after a late tackle.
This meant changes in the backs and Russ Westcott moving to outside half. The away team kicked the penalty to within 5 metres of the Marlborough line. They drove from the lineout to score an unconverted try. Marlborough knew they would need to move the big Dorchester pack around to make up for the numerical disadvantage. From a clearance kick Garth Bari caught the ball on his own 10m line and ran straight at the Dorchester team. He went through and no one could touch him as he ran in to score. Jamie Laing converting. Bari scored again after 23 minutes with another good run and beat his opponent after a great pass from Leo Tuliva. Laing again converting. The Marlborough pack were starting to get an advantage at the set piece with front row Chris Budgen, Darius Hamilton and returning prop Feilaki Ngungutau. The advantage meant a penalty was awarded, Laing taking the points for a half time score of 17-5.
Although a man down the home team had the second half slope advantage and despite the conditions the backs were moving the ball well. One such move saw the ball moved out wide and number 8 Jamie Pittams ran in and dived over to score. Laing again converting. The away team had not given up and scored again with another driving maul, the try was converted for a 24-12 scoreline.
Another change was made and the welcome return of Avenai Cakaunitavuki after a broken ankle. The weather was deteriorating now and the cold was having an affect on the backs. This did not stop the Marlborough set piece that was now well on top. After a series of scrum time penalties the referee was left with no choice but to award Marlborough with a penalty try. Bari converted. The next score came for Bari to complete his hat trick after a great pass by Westcott to put him into space. Bari converted his own try. From the kick off Josh Lynd caught the ball and stormed up field, the ball was recycled and passed out, flanker Hugo O’Neill was on the end of some slick passing to score the team’s 6th try. Laing converting for a final score of 45-12.
Next week the team are away to Bradford on Avon.