Senior Rugby Saturday 6th January 2018
For a full report on Salisbury's match with Old Patesians please look here
Salisbury 24-34 Old Patesians
Over the Christmas break Salisbury Physio, Ian Landon, appeared to be even busier than Santa as he set about repairing a set of injured players and he appeared to have worked miracles as Salisbury looked a rejuvenated side. Kicking off the New Year against table topping, and unbeaten, Old Patesians, was always going to be a tall order but the home side were up for the task and put in a brave and spirited performance.
A good start resulted in Christian Metson taking a short pass and crash over for an opening score converted by Jack Sheldrake. Old Pats play a disciplined game, their large pack run well rehearsed moves and are joined by the backs in strong running attacks. Salisbury, with Ollie Bowden pulling the strings at outside half, were more mercurial, and play with a flair that is evident in their electric running. This game plan is not without risk and Old Pats picked up two scores from unexpected turnovers as they kept the scoreboard ticking over to lead 7-24 at half time.
After the break the home side were forced to reshuffle as Scott Neary, normally a hooker, filled in for 30 minutes at scrum half and made a real fist of the task. Old Pats stretched their lead to 7-34 and obviously thought the game was won but had not reckoned on the resilience of their hosts who had not taken a backward step all afternoon.
Jared Cardew, making a home debut, scored the first try, Sheldrake again converting before using his strength to complete a move and score in the right hand corner. Salisbury then retained possession and with Neary switching play, ran through the phases before Sheldrake again forced his way over in the opposite corner for a bonus point try.
It may well still be winter but the green shoots of recovery have started to show at Castle Road in some impressive performances notably Cardew.and Duncan Grocock. A testing visit to Oxford Harlequins awaits and the Salisbury faithful will hope that this is not a false dawn.