Salisbury 5-34 Newbury Blues
4th. March 2023: A large crowd assembled at Castle Road to watch a lively encounter between Salisbury and longstanding rivals Newbury Blues in Regional 2 Tribute South Central.
Dry and still conditions enabled high tempo rugby - both teams played with real intent. It was, however, the visitors that dominated much of the first half.
Newbury attacked the hosts with pace and power in midfield. They took an early lead after only 6 minutes with a converted try and then continued to sustain pressure. Salisbury rarely entered the visitor’s half. When they did gain decent field position, they allowed the visitors to disrupt their line-out and clear. Further pressure from Newbury resulted in a converted penalty on 20 minutes which was followed by the visitor’s second try a couple of minutes later. Newbury attacked at pace and with accuracy from a scrum in midfield to stretch their lead to 17 unanswered points. The loss of a man after a yellow card added to Salisbury’s problems.
Newbury’s third try came after a series of well executed phases which concluded when their centre bulldozed his way through for the unconverted try. Trailing by 22 points with 10 minutes of the half remaining, the hosts fought back but couldn’t find any real fluency or impose sufficient pressure.
Salisbury enjoyed more possession and better field position during the second half. Their backs attacked with purpose ably supported by No8 James Kennedy. Dom Porter and Bobby Brown generated forward momentum when clattering into the midfield but still Salisbury struggled to stretch the visitor’s well organised defence.
Newbury’s fourth try came on 62 minutes but was quickly followed by the host’s first. Jack Colby delighted the home crowd when he exploited a gap at ruck; he broke clear, evaded a number of tacklers and scored under the posts. It was however, Newbury who had the final word when they broke from within their own half after a penalty to score the final try with only 7 minutes remaining. With the extras added, Salisbury’s last home league match ended with a 5 – 34 loss. Salisbury remain in sixth place and will travel to eighth-placed Reading next week.
Report: Joe Cooper
Photos: John Palmer