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19

OCT

Wootten Bassett 51 - Marlborough 14
Marlborough bowed out of the Dorset and Wiltshire Cup at the first stage, losing a competitive battle to their local rivals. Marlborough rested some key personnel for the fixture, with a few 1st team regulars sitting out with niggling injuries, and the coaching team taking the opportunity to look at how some of the fringe players of the 1st team squad would perform at the new level facing Marlborough this season.
The opening exchanges were evenly matched, with Marlborough matching their opponents in the loose, as well as matching them in the set piece. Birthday Boy Owen Lucas was playing his 1st competitive game in the forwards, and this looked to be a positive move, with his stealing of the Bassett ball on a couple of occasions early on. Marlborough had the first opportunity for points, when a Bassett player was penalised for infringing on the floor, but unfortunately for the visitors, fly half Alex Cox’s penalty attempt drifted agonisingly wide of the far upright. This was Marlborough’s only real scoring chance of the half, with the final pass that was needed from the Marlborough backs always seeming to go astray, much to the disappointment and frustration of the Marlborough side. The forwards, again giving a good attacking platform, ran some hard and direct lines, creating room out wide, however Marlborough couldn’t take advantage of the overlaps created. Wootton Bassett managed to score 3 1st half tries, and along with a couple of penalties, took a healthy lead into the half time break. The difference in the side was that Marlborough missed first up tackles, giving the home side penetration, when Bassett made the majority of theirs. Midway through the half, there was a sickening collision between wing Will Turner and the Bassett outside centre. A high ball was competed for by both players, and a clash of heads with both players running at full tilt led to both being dragged off the pitch. Fortunately for Turner, he was able to return to the action, with a badly cut chin being patched up on the sideline, however the outcome didn’t look so bright for the Bassett player, as he was taken off to hospital with some nasty looking injuries.
The half time talk was encouraging for Marlborough, as they knew if they made their tackles, and could get the final pass away, they were in with a shout. With this in mind, the visitors began the half brightly, scoring 2 tries. First was flanker Jonny Mantle, who broke through a whole host of Bassett tackles to score under the posts, following a lineout steal. Next, captain Jon Crowe crashed through, and with Cox converting both tries, Marlborough were back in the mix. Unfortunately, the errors of the first half then began to creep in, and the game swung back in favour of Wootton Bassett, as they ran in tries for fun in the final 20 minutes of the match.
Marlborough are returning to league action on Saturday, with a trip to Wincanton to take on North Dorset, with a number of 1st team players available for selection again. Kick off is 3pm, with the coach leaving the common at 11.15am.
Author: Nathan Morgan

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