Lydney 11 : Salisbury 5
Lydney 11 : Salisbury 5 - Sat 11 February 2017 National League 3 South West - Click above for match report
Salisbury travelled to the Severn-side for this vital encounter with the club currently sitting one point below them in the league, determined to build on their excellent start to 2017 of four consecutive wins. The early play saw Salisbury gaining territorial advantage and a turnover created an opportunity but gradually Lydney forced their way into the game and the home side began to control field position, leading to the award of a penalty which Danny Openshaw kicked for a 3-0 lead.
Shortly after some scrappy play in mid-field gave the ball to Lydney and a cross-field kick was gathered by left-wing Tai Lakibuka on half-way who stepped inside covering Tom Lane to score and give the home side an 8-0 lead. At this stage the Salisbury forwards were increasingly dominant in the scrummage and were winning clean line-out ball, largely through captain Josh Green and his supporting forwards but Lydney’s superiority in the kicking exchanges and Salisbury handling errors meant that the visitors could not exert the territorial pressure that the forwards efforts merited. Just after the half-hour, Salisbury were penalised again and dissent moved the kick 10 metres further forward giving Openshaw a straightforward opportunity to increase Lydney’s lead to 11-0. The half ended with intense Salisbury pressure on the Lydney line, a series of offences leading to a home yellow card, and the home side were clearly relieved when the referee’s whistle for half-time enabled them to retreat to the warmth of the dressing room with their lead intact.
The second half was destined to be an intense affair as Lydney continued to resist and, in spite of being reduced to 14 men for two periods, they took advantage of Salisbury handling errors to exert pressure of their own. On the hour, an offending home forward enabled Salisbury to establish a drive from the ensuing line-out and the forwards once again gained possession of the ball going forward. The three-quarters took advantage of this to throw a long pass to left-wing, Dan Hammond who scampered over to score in the corner. Tom Lane was unable to convert but Salisbury were now within one score of the home side at 11-5. The game now became increasingly erratic and it was the experience of Lydney captain and scrum-half, Sam Arnott, that was the telling influence prodding his side forward and making Salisbury turn to cover kicks into space and behind the defensive line. The game ended with Lydney placing the visiting line under threat as Salisbury were forced to defend a series of attacking scrummages.
Director of Rugby, Stewart Roderick, said, “Lydney prevented us from playing the game we want to play. However, we gained a losing bonus point, there are still games to play, there are sides we can beat, so on we go.” Next Saturday sees bottom-of-the-table, Bromsgrove, visit Castle Road, kick-off 2.30 pm, for yet another important relegation battle. The defeat by Lydney has left Salisbury next to bottom in the league but as three points cover the three clubs currently occupying the 11th to 13th positions in the league, all is still to play for.
Report – Martin Plimsoll
Pictures – John Palmer