Marlborough Under 15s welcomed a very strong Newbury squad to the Common on Sunday. Although the score shows a defeat there are lots of lessons to learn. The extra hour in bed seemed to result in a very tired side and added to a bitterly cold weather, the team didn't really wake up until the game was 15 minutes in and by that time they were 19-0 down. Newbury scored 3 good early tries that also showed the lessons of defensive alignment, tackling low and not waiting for runners to gather momentum. Once they wake up, Marlborough started to move the ball and some powerful runs by Charlie Cooper and Zaki Murray gave the team so forward movement. The ball was worked out to James Hagerty who drove for the line and just managed to ground the ball before the defence tried to hold him up. The second home try came when Zaki drove hard at the line he was held up over the line and as the melee of players all wrestled for the ball, Oscar Banfield grabbed the ball and had the simple task of just touching down. Tom Bieneman converted. Zaki then had another strong run whihc gave him a try. The team had fought back to 19-17 and a half time with nothing in it.
Marlborough knew their defence at rucks needed to improve and they just had to believe more in themselves. Confidence works wonders and to fight back to 19-17 shows huge credit to them all.
The start of the second half remained close and both sides scored. Marlborough's try was from a good run by James who used his strength in attack to run through and score under the posts, again Tom converted. The score was now 26-24 and a close finish looked on the cards. However, Newbury were able to add a couple of strong replacements and close out the game. They scored to make it 31-24, which would have been a fairer final score, but also stopped the home sides' fight back. Newbury took advantage and ran in 3 late long distance tries as heads dropped and gave the one sided score line.
An impressive Newbury side but Marlborough know they matched them for the middle part of the game and the lessons learned will help in the upcoming weeks as the much smaller squad continue to develop.
Well done to JJ in his first start for the club and hope his knee is better soon.
Look forward to another exciting game at home next Sunday and the visit of Royal Wootton Bassett.
Enjoy half term !