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Marlborough still looking for first league points
The start to the season continued to be a tough one for Marlborough against their opponents from Dorset. With the wind blowing havoc on the common on Saturday afternoon, the side playing with the wind were always going to be in the ascendancy. And so it proved with the lead changing hands 6 times in the match. Marlborough started the game brightly, with Dorchester struggling to clear their lines when the opportunity arose. Jamie Pittams was winning ball in the line out, and with the front row of Matt Dopson, Billy Trevaskis and Bertie Beanland holding firm in the scrum, Marlborough had a great platform from which to attack. Strong surges forward from the front 8 lead to field position, and when Dorchester infringed twice in the first 10 minutes, winger Nathan Morgan took the opportunity and twice knocked over penalties, to take a 6-0 lead. This seemed to spur the visitors on who then after a couple of offloads in the tackle created an overlap for their fullback to cross the line. With the conversion added Dorchester took a 1-point lead. Marlborough need to learn to defend against the offload in the tackle as this has been a downfall for them in recent weeks. However, they responded in the best possible way, with fly half Alex Cox timing his pass to centre and Captain Jon Crowe who burst through 2 tackles to touch down and with the extras added Marlborough re-took the lead. The visitors crossed the line again when their large prop fended off 2 tackles before crashing over to re-take the lead however, Crowe responded with another bustling break to again cross. With the conversion added Marlborough opened up an 8-point lead with half time approaching. In the last play of the half the Dorchester number 8 was sin binned for a high tackle on flanker Jonny Mantle and with Morgan slotting the resulting penalty the lead was extended to 11, at 23-12.
The home team knew the 2nd half would be tough with the wind and the slope against them and the Dorchester driving maul causing problems. They proceeded to score 2 quick tries both from driving mauls which were expertly worked. With 1 conversion added the visitors took a 1-point lead. When Marlborough then attacked and made headway into the Dorchester half through powerful breaks from back row players Joe Mitchell and Hugh Sutcliffe, Dorchester had no choice but to infringe to prevent quick ball and again the penalty was added to retake the lead for Marlborough. This however was the last time Marlborough were to be ahead, as Dorchester returned to a full compliment and started to dominate proceedings in the scrum, using the slope of the pitch to their advantage. They scored 4 more tries, all unconverted, as both kickers they tried struggled with the wind.
Marlborough can again take great heart from another improved performance. Now they need to learn to keep up the intensity for the full 80 minutes and their first league points of the year will not be far away. This Saturday Marlborough travel to Somerset to take on Frome who have struggled this season after an impressive 2nd place finish in the league last year.
Author: Nathan Morgan

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