U12 Hungerford 35 - 0 Marlborough
Lacking lustre but no lack of guts
Marlborough faced one of their toughest days of the season against a very well drilled Hungerford team today. Two mini warm up games (in pretty grotty conditions) gave some indication that Marlborough were going to have to bring their A game to win at a venue we have had little luck at in recent seasons. There was no doubt about the commitment of both sides with Jakey B suffering a serious leg injury having put his body on the line during the warmups.
The match started pretty evenly as both teams were able to contain the attacks, defending their channels well. Hungerford perhaps edged it with more aggressive rucking and mauling with some well won turnover ball, putting Marlborough on the back foot. Marlborough looked keen to add width to their game, engaging the likes of Guy and Jacob J, however Hungerford were fast in their defence, creating pressure on our attacking line. Marlborough got penned back deep in their half despite the efforts of Harry to add some magic from deep. Slowly Hungerford turned the screw and they capitalised on handling errors from the visitors. Attack quickly became defence and Hungerford broke through with width and style. There were moments when we got our tails up, counter rucked well and pushed Hungerford on the back foot but it was an exception to the rule where Hungerford dominated.
Marlborough put up brave defence and there was some great tackling, notably from Guy, James L, Max and Freddie. JJ and Ben continue to grow in confidence with some good carries. Charlie K too is finding his mojo. Tom, Archie T and Jack grafted well too. James, the omnipresent frustration for opposition performed well but for me, Guy and Freddie really showed everyone the grit and determination necessary on such an occasion. Sadly, as a team, Marlborough lacked cohesion and the valiant efforts of a few would not be sufficient to salvage a result against quality opposition. To win these games we need the whole squad stepping up. Hungerford eventually ran in seven tries. A resounding defeat, ‘yes’ but humiliating ‘no’. The game was entertaining and well balanced. You could tell that that the Hungerford players and coaches respect Marlborough and they capitalised on a day when all cylinders were not firing. We missed creativity. We missed commitment from many. We missed belief in the end. This was a morning to learn lessons. Well done to Hungerford.