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U15s just lose to Bradford on Avon in D&W Quarter Final

 SRF U15s fought hard but just lost to Bradford on Avon in the D&W Quarter Final on 13th Jan 2019


Salisbury U15s hosted Bradford on Avon in the quarter finals of the D&W cup on Sunday. Salisbury chose to play uphill for the first half with a strong cross wind blowing. They were dominant for the first 15 – 20 mins, camped in the BoA half. Opportunities came and went as the forwards hammered away at a good defence and Salisbury were kept out several times when it looked like they had to score. Some fantastic rucking by Bertie, Billy, Ryan and Ronnie kept the rucks fairly even initially but there were turnovers on both sides due to decision-making on how many forwards should go in.

The impasse was broken when BoA were penalised on their 22 and despite the blustery cross wind Byron slotted the three points.

 BoA had an interesting lineout tactic – no lifting or jumping whatsoever just a fast ball to number two in the line, who caught and shot the ball to the scrum half before he could be sacked. That meant lots of clean ball out to their backs and it was only great line speed from Salisbury backs, fantastic wrap tackles by Callum K and solid tackling by all of them that meant they struggled to make ground. Jackal turnovers by Callum G and Ryan also helped the cause.

The Salisbury lineout was also working well with great throwing, lifting and off-the-top delivery to Leo who got the ball out fast, which occasionally made it out to the wing where Fraser D stepped his way through defenders but was eventually stopped or driven into touch.

Salisbury held their lead until one of the BoA centres broke the line in their own half. This didn’t worry the players unduly since there were solid tacklers in wait, but when Byron put him down near the half way line, he manged a clever offload to a charging support player and that was it. All credit to Sam Thomas, with Bertie and Ronnie close behind, who chased all the way but just couldn’t get there. No conversion so 3:5 down with half time imminent. By this time BoA had the upper hand at the rucks and their pick and goes were getting over the gain line whereas Salisbury’s were getting boshed back. A turnover to Salisbury in their own half led to quick hands through the backs but BoA saw what was happening, risked the blitz and one of their players intercepted and ran it in two minutes into half time to make it 3:12 with the successful conversion. 

The slope was with Salisbury in the second half and again they put pressure with Harry quick at the base of the ruck. Callum K was over a tackled player in a flash and forced a penalty for holding on just outside their 22. It was a difficult decision – kick for goal in the blustery cross wind, kick for the corner or a quick tap. Given the difficulty of breaking through BoA’s solid defence at lineouts, rucks or by route 1, the boys made an intelligent decision to go for the points and bring the score within one converted try. It was not an easy kick but Byron put it over in fine style. 6:12.

Salisbury increased the pressure to force a lineout and produce a great forwards/backs attacking opportunity. From a well set maul, Toby wrestled the ball from grasping opposition hands, and went round the back of the line out. He popped the ball to Dylan and the ball went from Seb to Callum K to Byron, who handed off and passed to Jacob on the wing. Jacob still had a lot to do but eventually stepped inside the winger to score a short distance in from the touch line. The kicking angle was difficult and the wind took it wide – 11:12 with about 10 minutes to go.  

In those final minutes there were three or four well-worked Salisbury attacking moves that looked like they could have led to a score, but BoA defence held firm, and with time up BoA won their scrum and kicked the ball out.

Great play from both sides and for Salisbury this was the first time they have made the D&W quarter finals and the closest they have ever been to beating BoA. Well done for a true team performance from the boys, who will face either Wimborne or Oakmedians for the D&W Bowl in March.


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