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Marlborough 24 - Melksham 19
Marlborough began their league season with a hard fought victory over Melksham at the Common on Saturday afternoon.

The game was a very stop start affair; with both sides giving away a host of penalties throughout, however in between this there was some rugby that was nearly as glorious as the weather. Marlborough opened the scoring, playing uphill and into a mild breeze, when Melksham gave away a penalty in front of their own posts. Wing Nathan Morgan duly slotted the kick to open up a 3-0 lead. Marlborough soon extended their lead, when Fly Half Jon Crowe, with the help of his legendary side step, beat two defenders and off-loaded to Joe Mitchell who powered over from five yards out, taking another two defenders with him. Morgan added the extras to open up a 10-0 lead.
Melksham then began to play in the Marlborough half, with some great tactical kicking from their fly half, followed up by some strong running from their forwards. This pressure bought two converted tries before the end of the half, which Marlborough had their forward pack to thank that it wasn’t any more than this, with a sterling effort in defence, lead by pack leader and captain Richard Trevaskis who is skilfully caretaking the side until the return of farmer Dave Lemon currently in the depths of harvest.

The 2nd half began with Marlborough trailing 14-10, but with the belief that they could turn around the deficit, with the slope, the breeze, and also the fitness they had picked up throughout the summer, thanks to recently retired 1st team player Kevin Clancy who took over as fitness coach and has worked wonders with the squad. The half started brightly for Marlborough as they exerted good pressure in the Melksham half, constantly winning their own set piece ball through strong scrummaging and expert work from Jamie Pittams in the line outs. This finally paid off when a line out was taken cleanly, the ball shipped out quickly, and centre Jonny Mantle broke through a tackle to score another try, with the conversion again added, meaning Marlborough re-took the lead 17-14.
The game then turned into a scrappy affair, with lots of errors from both sides, and the referee having to use his whistle a great deal. Marlborough however managed to charge down an attempted drop goal from Melksham, and the ball bounced loose to Mitchell, who ran the ball into the corner to increase Marlborough’s lead, with Morgan again adding the conversion. With ten minutes left to play, the game then had to be moved to the 2nd team pitch after a sickening collision involving Marlborough’s Hugh Sutcliffe when he got a knee to the side of the head, resulting in him being knocked unconscious for a few seconds, and his neck being jarred severely. An ambulance was called, resulting in the game being moved whilst Sutcliffe was treated. Luckily for Sutcliffe and for Marlborough, the 2nd row forward is ok, and will be playing again soon.
Melksham managed to score another unconverted try after the game had moved, but Marlborough soaked up more pressure, and through resolute defence, kept Melksham out to claim the victory the crowd at the Common were after.

Marlborough Team Vs Melksham: Roberts, Phillips, Trevaskis, Pittams, Sutcliffe, Cooper, Jones, Mitchell; Armori, Crowe, Pierce, Turner, Mantle, Morgan, Baker

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