Old Cents bounced back quickly from their opening league defeat at Reading with a strong performance against a strong Salisbury side who will be in with shout of winning the league.
Salisbury finished second in the South West One(east) last season and just missed out on promotion when they went out on the away side ruling in their play off match.
Salisbury did not know what to expect from their league newcomers after Cents opening defeat to Reading as they won their opening league match against relegated Newbury Blues.However they soon learned what Cents were all about in a full on contest that saw both sides move the ball from all over the park.This was a match played at a fast pace all day in very hot and tiring conditions with great spirit as well.
Cents started strongly and were in the lead within the first few minutes when Rob Jones crossed from a well worked try.Liam Hemming converted the try and Cents were up and running,however despite being on top for most of the first half they found themselves 7-10 down going into the last 10 mins of the half.Salisbury had converted a penalty try and penalty to lead and coupled with a strong defensive effort they were holding out against determined Cents attacks.Salisbury had showed that in this league you take your chances and that defences are much stronger at this level.
However on the stroke of half time,Cents got the try their attacking play deserved when Liam Hemming scored after several Cents attacks created space for the pacy centre to score near the posts.Liam converted his try and Cents lead 14-10 going into half time and this lead was no more than they deserved.
The first half had been a full on affair with both sides moving the ball from anywhere and with Cents strong performance in the tight they were in a good position going into the second half.
The second half continued in the same way as the first with both sides playing at a fast pace and with big hits from both defences and it looked as though something special was needed to break the deadlock and it came from Lewis May.The young fullback produced a try out of nothing when he fielded a high ball and then set of on a run which left Salisbury all over the place.After he beat the intial Salisbury defence he chipped over the away sides defence but could not field his kick as he was slightly impeded,however No8 Rich Pinkney came from nowhere to touch down near the Salisbury posts.
Liam Hemming converted the try and Cents now lead 21-10,but any hopes Cents had for the breathing space they needed went when Salisbury showed what a good side they are when soon after they reduced the homes sides lead by 3 point from a converted penalty.Cents led 21-13 and the game was still to be won by either side.
Both sides continued to move the ball from deep,but Cents kept Salisbury pinned in their 22'and once when under pressure winger Ben Turk intercepted a stray pass out of defence by the away side and scored under the posts.Liam Hemming again converted the score and Cents now led 28-13 going into the final stages of the match.
Salisbury did not lie down and to their credit continued to attack Cents and in the final minute their efforts were rewared with a converted try after several phases of attacking play.
Final score 28-20 to Cents who were well worth their win on the day and they showed they can compete with the best in the league.Cents victory was built on a strong pack performance were the home eight had Salisbury under pressure in the tight all afternoon.The pack was changed from last saturday's defeat with one or two positional changes and club Capt Pete Willetts making his first appearance.
Cents defence was much stronger than last week and the home side took their chances when they came along.The Cents back row of Rich Pinkney,Ben Slatter and Alex Mathers were all over the place,however Scrum Half Ryan Garrott was Cents Vice Presidents man of the match closely followed by hooker Nathan Stroud.