Rugby Reports for the 1st XV, the United XV and the Ladies VII
For reports on the 1stXV's win at Bicester, the United XV's victory over Swans and the Ladies first match please see the article below...
Bicester 10-43 Salisbury
Injury and unavailability again forced Salisbury to shuffle their side for the visit to bottom of the table Bicester with Jack Sheldrake returning in the centre and Oliver Loach making his debut. Any thoughts that this might be an easy victory were soon dismissed as the home side started purposefully, and continued to play good running rugby throughout the afternoon. After soaking up some pressure Rory MacTaggart placed a beautifully judged kick ahead into the home in goal area and the silver heels of Ollie Bowden won the footrace to touch down. Shortly afterwards Bowden chipped ahead and repeated the score, and this time Sheldrake converted.
Flying winger Dan Hammond was in for a score with an electrifying burst and then Salisbury appeared to take their foot off the gas and some lacklustre play allowed Bicester to pull a converted try and a penalty back.
The visitors settled their nerves when Chris Beaumont galloped off the back of a lineout and crashed over dragging several defenders with him, and then skipper Josh Green popped up in a slick move to go over unopposed, Sheldrake having found his kicking boots converted the score.
Salisbury were now clearly in the ascendancy and only a number of forward passes spotted by the hawk-eyed official stopped them from running away with the game. Jon Goldsmith broke and, realising that he had no support around him, pinned back his ears and sprinted the length of the pitch to touch down. Hammond kept the scorers interested until the end with a last minute effort, Sheldrake adding the points to both of these scores for a final margin of 33 points.
Spectators were cheered by both the return of the talismanic Liam Gilbert on the wing for the last few minutes, although he clearly lacked match fitness, and the performance of Dave Tonge in the problem outside half position for the last quarter may have the selectors scratching their heads. Sheldrake showed his strength in the centre and Loach caught the eye with his strong tackling and willingness to carry the ball.
Swanage and Wareham 2nd XV 12-48 Salisbury United
Salisbury’s second team were good value for the win at Swanage. A bare fifteen, with a large number of changes, struggled for the first quarter with the home side scoring first, but once the forwards settled, the match winning qualities in the backs shone through. Rory Duncan opened the United’s response closely followed by Kit Pickford before skipper Scott Neary put the forwards on the scoreboard to give Salisbury a 5-21 half-time lead, all tries converted by Jamie Wright. An early Tom Pottage score put Salisbury in the driving seat but a response from Swanage required a nerve-settling penalty from Wright to allow Salisbury to dominate the final quarter with tries for both the wingers Charlie Gentleman and Ollie Dykes before Duncan completed the try-scoring well converted by Wright. Special mention must be made of the entertaining chip and chase, delicately weighted, by veteran Rich West who has taken the best part of four decades to decide that he is a back after all.
Salisbury Ladies 30-50 Melksham Ladies
Salisbury Women played their first 7 a side match against Melksham on Friday. It was the first game of the season and the first game for half of the team. They put in a commendable performance and although the visitors won, Salisbury were in it until the end.