Marlborough Rugby Club’s 1st XV will next year be rubbing shoulders with some of the bigger clubs in the South West. Last night (Thursday 21 June) their achievement in gaining promotion to a new level of competition was recognised by Mayor Councillor Lisa Farrell when she publicly thanked the team and applauded their success at the Town Hall.
Last season’s achievement of promotion from the Southern Counties (South) league to the Wadworths 6X South West 1 East – the sixth tier in the National hierarchy and the highest-ever level achieved by the club – means that Beaconsfield, Salisbury, Stratford upon Avon will be on the list of towns to visit during the September to March season with the opening fixture being a tough match away against local rivals Swindon. (Not something that would have even been whispered a few years back).
Success always breeds success, and the achievements on the pitch have attracted commercial success in the form of a new top line (national) sponsor – Compeed – who have committed to support the club as major sponsor for the next three years.
A tough next season will be helped by a new addition to the playing staff. The former Cardiff Blues prop Taufaʻao Filise is joining Head Coach Elisi Vunipola’s team as Forwards Coach, but also as a player as well so there will be an immediate boost to the experience, skill and strength of the pack. He has only recently retired from being a member of Cardiff’s first team so his presence should help all around him as well as giving the opposition front rows a few concerns.
The club’s first home game in the new league will be on Saturday 8 September when they host Trowbridge, the other newly-promoted team from level 7 so this will act as a good yardstick as to how the team has come on over the summer.