Rugby Reports Saturday 11th November 2017
Reports of the 1st XV amazing comeback at Banbury and the United XV at North Dorset are here
Banbury 28-35 Salisbury
This game will go down as one of Salisbury’s finest come backs, if not the finest, as they reversed a seventeen point half time deficit to emerge victorious. The travelling support had been rocked by the news that they would be without inspirational captain Josh Green but the players rallied around stand in skipper Gary Williamson and despite falling behind early never let their belief
The visitors posted their intent early when a superb shimmy and break from Ollie Bowden pushed Banbury back but they retorted when Freddie Cracknell ran a clearance back without a Salisbury tackler laying a hand on him to score under the posts. A slick move from Dave Tonge and Jack Sheldrake, the man of the match along with fellow centre Christian Metson, again threatened but foundered, and quick hands saw Cracknell in again at the corner. Matt Loader pulled back three points with a penalty before Juan Van Der Merwe broke and found Sheldrake in support who put Tonge away for a score.
Cracknell completed his hat-trick with another strong run before the home forwards rumbled over for a touch down against the posts, Loader responding with two penalties to bring the half to a close.
Salisbury started the second half brightly and a quickly taken tap penalty by Tonge sent Callum MacTaggart on a hard line for a score converted by Loader who then added a penalty to reduce the gap to one score.
Salisbury were now visibly the fitter side with Bobby Saunders and James Hill appearing all over the pitch, Dom Porter was driving destructively, and the lock pairing of Richard Goffin and Chris Beaumont were claiming the hard yards. Good work by Sheldrake and Metson sent Bowden streaking under the posts and the sides were level as Loader converted. Both sets of supporters held their breath as the clock ticked down but then a fine move started and finished by Metson, with good support from Van Der Merwe and Beaumont, and a final Loader conversion saw this well deserved victory snatched from the jaws of defeat.
This was a heartening victory and much credit must go to the coaching team as it was Salisbury’s fitness that made all the difference in a tough encounter. The city side now has a fortnight to rest their battered bodies before entertaining Bicester at Castle Road.
North Dorset 2nd XV 19-25 Salisbury United
Salisbury United held out to take the full five points in a frenetic League match away to North Dorset. Jake McConnell opened the scoring, but only after a real scare straight from the kick off with the Dorset side nearly forcing their way under the posts. This set the tone for the rest of the game which was fast, physical and end to end. Dorset were next to score before Jamie Wright pounced after some good defence to restore the lead to 7-10 which held until half-time. A soft try sparked the Salisbury team who drove Jamie Gray over, converted by Nick Wotton, before Wotton stroked over a penalty to benefit from a rare period of ascendancy. When Gray scored his second after another impressive passage of play, it sparked a frantic last ten minutes as North Dorset attacked with a passion, scoring one and creating other chances before the final whistle brought relief and a 9-25 win for the visitors.