Marlborough 2nd XV 60 – 12 Calne
On Saturday, Marlborough II welcomed Calne to the Common, in what has always been a keenly contested local derby between the two sides. The game had been rearranged due to Calne suffering several positive COVID-19 cases when the two sides were last due to meet. This gave Marlborough the opportunity to showcase some of the younger talent at the Club who are making their tentative steps into senior rugby after having come through the minis, juniors, and colts.
Conditions on the Common were calm but gloomy in this Tribute Dorset & Wilts 1 North league clash. From the whistle, Marlborough quickly tried to use the ball and an early break by Will Grant on the halfway line, set up centre, Elia Barabi to run in a try which was converted by Will Grant (7 – 0)
Calne immediately struck back with an unconverted try of their own from a driving line out. Calne were using their forward’s weight advantage to good, early affect and they had a clear scrum dominance. Playing at number 8, Ben Wilmot knew getting the ball out quickly was going to be key. Marlborough had a scrum on the 10-metre line, Ben picked the ball up, went blind and started running. He brushed off the defenders and was able to run in a try, but the conversion was missed, it was now 12-5.
Once again Calne restarted play by some powerful forward play and scored again from a driving lineout. This time, the try was converted, to tie the scores up at 12 all on the half hour mark. The game remained close until almost half time, when a good win of the ball by Jake Horwood meant some counterattack ball and Will Grant quickly moved the ball on, to set up Ben Wilmot for another determined run and score, and with the conversion, a 19-12 half time lead was gained.
After half time, saw Marlborough use their bench and make sure everyone got plenty of game time. This also saw head coach, Elisi Vunipola come on and give the young side the benefit of his experience and organised the team from the centre.
Just after the start of the second half, there was another good break by Elia Barabi, lead to a pass out to Sam Waddell, where he managed to elude a couple of defenders. He was then tackled, but he managed to off load back to Barabi, who beat the remaining defence to run in and score; another converted try, taking the score up to 26-12 courtesy of Will Grant’s boot. This was the first time that there was a clear gap in the scores between the two sides.
Marlborough used the slope of the Common to their advantage and Grant put in some great kicks deep into Calne’s territory. The new 50/22 rule gave Marlborough great position from one of these kicks and at the resulting line out, scrum half, Dylan Jimenez found a gap and went over.
Ten minutes later, Jimenez scored again; this time from a scrum half break, and a dummy that everyone bought, giving him space to run in the try. Second half replacement, Mitieli Moroca then added a brace of tries himself in the space of seven minutes with some strong running. The second of these was converted by Nathan Cross to give the 18-year-old, outside half, his first points in senior rugby. Ben Wilmot added another powerful run to bag himself a hat trick and Sam Waddell completed the scoring with a pacy run down the wing. The final score was Marlborough 60 – Calne 12, which delighted the home side as they have had a very mixed season so far. Fair play to Calne who tried to rally, but it was getting harder and harder each time the home side scored more points.
Team Manager, Mike Banfield expressed his delight in seeing “Nathan Cross, Harry Mason, Dylan Jimenez, Ben Wilmot, Aidan Good, Myles Richards, Jake Horwood and Kieran Brown who have all played junior rugby for the club, out on the pitch playing senior rugby together”. Also, 1st XV Coach, Elisi Vunipola enjoyed his run out with the boys and their fantastic win. This side has a lot to look forward to and next week the 2nd XV are home to Melksham who are currently fourth in the league, compared to Marlborough II who are further five positions below.
Man of the match went to Dylan Jimenez.