Windsor 9 - Marlborough 19
On Saturday the firsts ventured over the border into Berkshire to play the return leg against Windsor which would be a bit of grudge match due to Marlborough halting Windsor’s hopes of promotion a couple of seasons ago on their own territory.
A coach was very kindly put on for the players, coaching staff and supporter’s courtesy of Folium Science (who Sponsored the travel). Hadden Graham (long-time member of MRFC) works for Folium Science and kindly persuaded them to provide this treat for the Club. Hadden also provided the players with pre-match sandwiches as well as the supporters which went down very well.
The journey down the M4 was done in glorious sunshine but as soon as the coach pulled up at Windsor’s ground, the sky went black and a terrific hailstorm erupted from nowhere, this was sign of things to come.
From when the whistle blew, Windsor very much had the better of the early exchanges with the wind behind them, their kicking game was first class and they opened up the scoring with a penalty after five minutes, 3-0.
Marlborough slowly clawed their way back into the game, but both teams were finding the conditions very testing. After twenty-five minutes, Daniel Jones kicked a superb penalty into the wind to level the scores, 3-3.
Just before half time, hooker Kapeteni Filipe made a fantastic break supported by Daniel Jones and Viliame Navesu - Kapeteni off loaded to Daniel who then threw a dummy to Viliame, stepped inside the Windsor defender to score in the corner but the conversion missed, 3-8 which was how the first half ended.
Marlborough were pleased with their half time lead, having played into the wind, but it was Windsor who started the second half on the front foot kicking a penalty after forty-five minutes, 6-8.
Marlborough started to realise that this was going to be a real struggle as both the weather and ground conditions were atrocious. From Spring-like sunshine, to hail then horizontal rain showers to almost gale force wind and to top it off a rainbow. To their credit the boys got their heads down and dealt with it – there were not going to be any excuses.
On the hour mark Windsor kicked another penalty to give them a 9-8 lead. Marlborough didn’t panic and after a powerful run by Viliame Waqanidrola followed by three dominant phases from the forwards, Mac Lewis scored but the conversion was missed, taking the score to 9-13.
Windsor had no intention of lying down and threw everything that they had in their arsenal at the visitors, but Marlborough saw out the last ten minutes with two penalty conversions from Daniel Jones. The final score was Windsor 9 – Marlborough 19. It was not the prettiest of wins and at times it looked more like a mud wrestling match than a rugby game, but Marlborough have not lost any of their form and are back on track with four wins on the bounce.
Marlborough’s forwards in those conditions were magnificent, again led superbly by their Captain, Inosi Leqekoro. Also, not forgetting the backs whose handling was top notch when at times the ball was as slippery as bar of soap.