Stow on the Wold 38-31 Salisbury
25th. February 2023: Salisbury travelled to high flying Stow on the Wold with key players missing and a reshuffled side.
Influential player coach Gareth Blackborow was replaced by James Dance in the front row, and the loss of regular half back pairing Sandy Wheatley and Jack Fitzpatrick saw Blake Ryder at scrum Half with Tommy Tully starting at stand-off. It was cold and blustery and the travelling support were perhaps viewing proceedings with some trepidation.
On the pitch an end-to-end game unfolded. Jack Oughton crossed for the hosts but a try from a tap penalty saw Mike Dawaulder rumbling over for a score converted by Tully. A James Wood try was converted by Herbie Archer to restore the home lead but Henry Toomer, playing in the centre, nudged the Green and Whites back in front; Tully again adding the extras and a two point lead.
The game continued to swing back and forth, Salisbury were opting to scrummage when they could as they had the upper hand in this area but were unable to secure any line out ball without Blackborow’s accurate, dart like delivery. Edward Holmes nudged the home side back into the lead, Archer converting, but an immediate response from the city side saw Rob Crossley cross to achieve parity. Salisbury lost skipper Luke Newton to the bin and on the stroke of half time Toby Stayt scored for Stow, Archer converting again for a 26-19 lead.
Salisbury introduced Aidan Gill and old boy Miles Thompson at the break and struck again through the impressive Toomer minutes after the restart to secure a try bonus point, Tully’s conversion drawing the sides level. James Gibb crossed the whitewash, converted by Archer, to draw clear and another score from Alex Arkell seemed to have settled matters in the favour of the home side but the Green and Whites came roaring back with a try from Bobby Spiers to bring Salisbury into losing bonus point range. This was now a tense ten minutes for Stow but neither side could produce another score in what was a heart-warming performance from the visitors, rewarded with two bonus points on the road.
Next week Salisbury entertain Newbury at Castle Road and all support is very welcome.
Report: Neil Tonge
Photo: John Palmer