Salisbury Rugby 3 Feb 18
For a full report on the 1st XV visit to Swindon and the United XV entertaining Oakmedians see below
Swindon 15-12 Salisbury
Swindon welcomed their visitors with a specially prepared pitch and the game was set for an arm wrestle between two sides, one keen to build on last weeks victory over local rivals Royal Wotton Bassett and the other desperate to arrest the freefall that has beset them in 2018.
The game started evenly with both sides looking for an opening and gradually the hosts began to dominate possession before scoring the only try of the half and turning round 5-0.
Salisbury shuffled their deck and immediately began to look the sharper of the two sides and were rewarded when skipper Josh Green crashed over following a series of phases of possession. Bagguley added the con version points and the visitors were in front for the first time.
Salisbury continued to try and run the ball from deep, Callum MacTaggart and Dan Hammond were continually looking for the elusive opening but the lack of traction underfoot hindered any clever footwork as much as the opposition tackling. Christian Metson was strong in the centre and the forwards were holding their own in the set piece and the loose.
Swindon scored again to put them back in front and Salisbury squandered the chance to level when a kickable penalty drifted wide. Swindon scented blood and drove over with ten minutes left to open up an eight point margin. Salisbury threw everything they had forward and were rewarded at the death when MacTaggart was rewarded with a good try.
This was not a great performance by Salisbury but the conditions were a great leveller and they must continue to build. The pack stood up to a strong home eight and the return of Dave Tonge in the second half seemed to bring more pace to their attack. The city side now have two weeks to regain their confidence and form before Stratford upon Avon visit Castle Road.
Salisbury United 34-10 Oakmedians
A strong first half defensive effort laid the foundation for a stirring performance by Salisbury’s second string. An early try by visitors Oakmeadians was soon cancelled out by debutante Kyle Hookway, brilliantly converted by Jamie Wright in what were very difficult underfoot conditions, before Charlie Gentleman finished off an outstanding length of the field move, Wright converting. Salisbury then had to defend waves of Oakmeadian attacks, finally succumbing to a second score, before Scott Neary crossed to leave the game finely poised 19:10 at half-time. Salisbury had the slope in the second half and used it intelligently. Jack Gurney’s quick thinking saw him scoot over closely followed by Hookway’s second as Salisbury capitalized on their dominance. Oakmeadians pulled back a third score to keep the game interesting, before the home team sealed a 34:10 victory with a fine finish from Wright.
Photos from Clive Barnwell of the 1st. XV's game at Swindon: