Frome 10 – 19 Marlborough
Saturday 4th September heralded the beginning of the new rugby season for Marlborough, where the 1st XV travelled over the border into Somerset to play Frome on their home turf in the first league game (Tribute South West 1 East) of the season.
It was a warm and cloudy afternoon which helped to keep everyone’s mood up especially as kick off had to be put back an hour due to the referee’s car breaking down. Luckily his break down service managed to get him up and running again. He managed to get to the ground by 3:45 pm, and he was ready to start the match at 4:00 pm. This was rather impressive and very much appreciated by both teams as they had already completed most of their warm up, then had to stop and then return back to the warm up again. Not the ideal start for either team but both dealt with it admirably. There was also a slight concern that the delayed start might affect the large enthusiastic home support and that Marlborough may have gone off the boil by the time the game eventually got under way
Both teams started the game with enthusiasm and vigour, everyone wanted to be involved in the action. It could be said that out of the two teams, Marlborough’s effort was a little on the sloppy side.
For the first twenty minutes of the game, Marlborough’s defence was first class, butchering three attempts by Frome to score tries, Marlborough dug deep and worked together, showing no weak areas. Also, during this period, Jack Lynd was sent off for an enforced break of ten minutes, receiving a yellow card for a high tackle. Marlborough didn’t falter, they kept it together, and no points were conceded.
Frome definitely had the upper hand at the beginning of the game when it came to the scrums, but Marlborough quickly adapted, improved and rectified. For nearly thirty minutes, no points were put on the board, until the 29th minute when Fly Half, Aaron James scored a superb individual try and then went on to make the conversion.
At half time the score was Frome 0 – Marlborough 7.
Half time was shortened due to the delayed start, but Marlborough’s coaches, Elise and Fe’ao Vunipola gave the boys some clear instructions. Two minutes after the whistle had blown, Frome had got a converted penalty. This spurred Marlborough on, the boys began to up their game especially the front row (Lemeki Moala (Meki), Ash Horner and Solomne Anisko (Seko who replaced youngster Bradley Whatley after the first half) who were just awesome as well as the first timers for Marlborough.
On 50 minutes, Marlborough were finally starting to get over their lack of preseason game time with Jake Williams, Aaron James and Mac Lewis starting to link up well. An attack instigated by these boys led to Outside Centre, Joe Pittams finishing a well worked try to mark his first, 1st team start with a score.
Frome were in no mood to give up and spurred on by their large vocal home support, attacked the Marlborough line, but again the defensive effort by Marlborough held them off the try line. Marlborough were now looking dangerous in every attack. James Marshall had come into the back row and was making a difference especially in the line out. On 70 minutes, following a break down just outside the Frome 22, Ollie Spanswick saw space out wide on the right, threw a long pass out to Mac Lewis, who then threw it straight on to Joe Pittams. Joe drew two of Frome’s players out to the wing as Ben Caravou then received the ball, scoring under the posts which was kindly converted by Aaron James. This took the score to, Frome 3 – Marlborough 19.
Almost on the last play of the game, Marlborough had a rare defensive lapse and which Frome maximised, scoring a very well deserved try under the posts which was then converted. The final score was Frome 10 – Marlborough 19. The scores reflect how hard both teams worked, there were some tired and sore bodies but none of that mattered, Marlborough had a win.
It is always hard to highlight stand out players as Marlborough wins or loses due to the whole team’s performance, but Marlborough is certainly delighted to have recruited Ollie Spanswick as his inclusion within the team was instrumental in the win.
Head Coach, Elisi Vunipola stated that it was “a very encouraging first start for Bradley Whatley, Arthur”Boris” Fitzgibbon and Joe Pittams who all got stuck in and shied away from nothing”
Man of the match must go to Aaron James for his outstanding try and two conversions.
Newcomer to the Marlborough side, Namusudroka Napolioni (Nap’s), who played out on the wing, told Team Manager, Dave Pittams that “he and many of his fellow Pacific Islanders, who live and work over here, see Marlborough as their home Club as they are made to feel very welcome, and are immediately part of the Marlborough rugby family” which is very pleasing to hear. These are high quality players who could have the pick of any club but choose to play for Marlborough and we are very pleased that they do.
This is a great start for Marlborough’s campaign, but the boys are under no illusions that there is much work to do before next week’s home game against Grove. Nothing can be taken for granted but also a win is a win, and they are very happy to take that.
Full league table positions can be found following the link Marlborough RFC – Marlborough (rfu.club)