A Glorious Day For Rugby, Shame About The Result
Marlow was looking absolutely fabulous for our opening game in South West 1 East, and the visitors came to play rugby which made it a highly entertaining game.
The pitch at Marlow was looking absolutely superb for the opening round of our South West One East campaign - well done Rolland. The conditions too were perfect for rugby, if a little hot.
Going into the game it was very difficult to get a feel for how things would pan out, as there was not real benchmarks to go by. Last Season Salisbury had had an been two leagues above us, but it was always likely to be a tough test for us. Would we be able to match their level of physicality?
Marlow were sporting several new debutants including Tony Lawless, Curran McMillan, Marcus Mercer and Vanavasa Bai.
The good news was both sides came to play expansive running rugby, which made for a very entertaining game to watch. The first half was full of Tries, 3 a piece, and it seemed almost certain that at least one side, if not both, would earn a Try bonus point. However, it did seem unlikely that both teams would be able to sustain this level of pace for the whole game, especially as the afternoon got hotter, and so it should have come as no surprise that the 2nd half slowed down, both in terms of pace and scoring, with only two Penalty Kicks.
The game didn’t start well for Marlow. Within a minute of the kick off Salisbury kicked the ball long down the field, followed up, and somehow managed to grapple the ball free and scored. It was a case of ‘how the heck did that happen’. A very soft try to give away at such an early stage. 0-5
The immediate concern for the Marlow supporters was was this going to turn into a rout. Fortunately our concerns were unfounded and Marlow brushed themselves down and almost got back into the game straight away with a very promising attack, but it came to an end when a pass was a judged to have been forward.
On 5 minutes Marlow were caught offside and Salisbury took the 3 points 0-8.
Marlow were gradually getting their bearings and the measure of Salisbury. On 7 minutes, from an attacking scrum, we finally made a breakthrough with a lovely interchange of passing between Will Fulton and Nick Carvey with the latter scoring out to the right. 5-8
The game was now starting to gather pace with both sides playing attacking rugby. On 13 minutes Marlow won the ball against the head and Marcus Mercer broke the defensive line to score and Marlow took the lead. Nick Carvey added the conversion. 12-8
However, Salisbury fought back with Nick Carvey having to make a try saving tackle to deny them from retaking the lead.
With both sides playing positive rugby the scores were unlikely to remain the same. On 28 minutes Salisbury retook the lead when we failed to make some first time tackles 12-13.
Only for us to come back 3 minutes later with a lovely running try on the right hand side by debutant Vanavasa Bai. Nick Carvey made the conversion. 19-13
But if we thought the tide was turning in our favour we were to be disappointed. Again poor tackling allowed Salisbury through to score their 3rd try, and retake the lead. 19-20.
The game went into halftime nicely poised with Salisbury having a single point lead.
The 2nd half settled down to a much more cagey affair and at a gentler pace. For the first 20 minutes Marlow couldn’t get out of their half, but remained resolute in defence, denying Salisbury from scoring. Salisbury piled on the pressure, and you had the feeling that if they scored it would almost certainly decide the game, but Marlow held out for 20 minutes before giving away a penalty just inside their half. Salisbury decided to try for the posts. This proved to be the right decision with the Salisbury No. 10 just getting the ball over the bar. 19-23.
Finally, Marlow got out of their half and started to exert some pressure. With a solid scrum that had been proving very effective against Salisbury throughout the game we decided to opt for a scrum when we were awarded a penalty 5 meters out. Although Salisbury didn’t buckle under the pressure we retained possession with the ball going along the line out to the left. Some lovely hands by Vanavasa Bai, catching the ball off his shoe laces, kept the move alive and it looked like we would score in the corner, but the last ditch defence by Salisbury was good and we were bundled into touch 5 meters out. However, we won the ball back at the throw in, but poor decision making meant the ball was flung wildly out to the back line, who never got it under control, lost possession and anything could have happened. Salisbury were now back in our half putting us back under pressure when we gave away another penalty, which they converted. 19-26.
Although there was still over 10 minutes to play we never looked likely to get the converted Try we now required to draw the game, especially as Salisbury kept things tight and made sure they didn’t make any silly mistakes. In fact, that was really the difference between the two sides. There was nothing to choose between them in their potency in attack, but Salisbury always did the sensible thing and executed it well, rather than take any unnecessary risks.
Tries: Nick Carvey, Marcus Mercer, Vanavasa Bai
Conversions Nick Carvey (2)