Marlborough 31 - 24 Buckingham
A welcome return to winning ways for Marlborough 1st XV over Buckingham last Saturday (1 February). Hopeful that luck was about to change but nothing was certain, Marlborough again had to field a different team due to the ever-growing injury list. But this did give Willie Mataitini his first cap and again youngster Ben Wilmot was called up.
Marlborough started strongly playing up the slope and into a strong head wind. The new back row trio of James Marshall, Todd Johnston and James Farrell worked extremely well together and gave Marlborough a solid platform from which to play from. After only five minutes Ovini Tuitoga finished a very well worked try with some excellent foot work to score and Will Grant converted, (7-0).
Buckingham were a big physical side and were causing Marlborough a number of problems, but the Marlborough defence stood up well to the onslaught and dug deep. After twenty minutes Solomone Aniseko scored the home sides second try, but conversion was missed, (12-0).
Marlborough were in a bit of a purple patch and ten minutes later fly half Daniel Jones scored an excellent individual try but sadly the conversion was missed, (17-0).
From the kickoff, Marlborough gave away a soft penalty and Buckingham kicked for touch to set up their first try from the ensuing set piece. Their second try came from the last play of the first half, but both of the conversions were missed, so the half time score 17-10 to the home side.
Buckingham started the second half very strongly, but Marlborough at this stage were defending well. There were no more scores until around the seventieth minute when Mitieli Vulikijapani pounced on a Buckingham handling error, ran 50 metres to score over the line and Daniel Jones converted, (24 – 10).
Not long after Kane Marafono finished a very nice try following some excellent handling by Marlborough’s back line and again Danial did the honours by making the conversion, (31-10) – he gets at least one try every game.
Then Marlborough seemed to switch off. They thought they had done enough but Buckingham were not about to lie down and give up and fought back with a penalty try and then with the last play of the game scored a fantastic try which they started on their own goal line. The final score was Marlborough 31 – Buckingham 24 so the visitors didn’t leave empty handed. The sun was out and Marlborough felt good, the question is can they continue to win next week when they go away to Beaconsfield?
The seconds were away to Sutton Benger where they lost 24 -30 but at least they came away with a losing bonus point. Next Saturday they are home to Avonvale.