From the kick-off Marlborough applied pressure to Tadley’s defence. There was some strong tackling from Tadley with Conor, Thomas and Archie working hard to slow Marlborough’s advances. Following a Tadley infringement, Marlborough took the subsequent penalty and kept possession to run over for their first try which was successfully converted (0-7).
Restarting from Harrison’s kick-off Tadley didn’t let Marlborough settle, with Ben P tackling well and Tadley forcing Marlborough to make errors leading to a penalty. Tadley took advantage with Ben P, Josh and Ben all going through and running several phases. Good rucking by Josh and Laurence meant scrum half Dom was repeatedly able to recycle the ball and keep moving Tadley forward. Unfortunately for the Tigers a Marlborough turnover released their backs who ran in a second try again converted (0-14).
For the next 10 minutes the game was very open, with good spells from both teams. Tadley produced some nice runs from Ben P, Tristan and Conor before a series of penalties going between the teams. Tadley were forced to defend as Marlborough pushed forwards seeking a third try.
As Marlborough attached, there was a series of crunching tackles from the Tadley boys including strong work by Jack, Harrison and Archie. Tadley won a scrum right on their try-line which was worked well with Luke, Archie and Harrison to clear the ball into touch. Marlborough won the resulting lineout and despite further brave defending from Tadley, Marlborough ran through and converted their third try (0-21).
Tadley kept their heads-up and again played some good rugby from the restart. A great tackle from Conor stalled Marlborough’s progress and another tackle from Dan won the ball for Tadley, with Louis picking up and ploughing into the Marlborough defence. The forwards were again quick in support so Dom kept the move advancing forwards feeding to Archie and then from the resulting maul out to Tristan as Tadley again put together several phases of play. This was impressive stuff which Tadley had obviously practised time and again at training. In the dying seconds it looked like Marlborough would breakaway to score, but a try saving tackle from Conor ensured the scoreline stayed the same.
In the second half Tadley continued to show a marked improvement in. A great kick-off from Harrison hung in the air long enough for Tadley to immediately put pressure on the receiving Marlborough forwards. Josh, Ben P and Thomas making it difficult for Marlborough to progress.
The Marlborough forwards did break clear and sent the backs on their way, only for them to come up against more hard-hitting tackles from Dan, Archie and Jack. Tadley’s confidence continued to grow and some quick “tap-and-go” penalties taken by Dom took them further into the Marlborough half. Good runs from Chris and Dom helped make further ground as the game became more evenly balanced in terms of possession and territory.
It was Marlborough who finally broke through winning scrum against the head, Conor and Jack tackled well to slow Marlborough and when the ball came free Harrison kicked to clear the danger. However, the push forward continued and Marlborough were through to score and convert (0-28).
Credit to Tadley who once again came back very positively from Harrison’s well kicked restart. There was no let-up in commitment from the Tadley boys, as they piled into the tackles, Dan and Archie doubling up to bring down a Marlborough attack. Dom and Ben put in some crunching tackles before Ben P popped up with the ball and again Tristan drove forward attaching the Marlborough line. As the half continued Tadley were unlucky not to turn all their efforts and good play into points.
Another breakaway run from Marlborough saw Tadley put in some strong tackles with Jack slowing one attack and Archie defying the odds to stop Marlborough on the Tadley try-line. But the continued pressure paid off for Marlborough as they went over to score (0-33).
Tadley pushed on for the score. Following a Tadley line-out there were strong runs from Archie, Dom and Louis all making ground and pushing Marlborough back. Chris ran through again only to be stopped by strong Marlborough defending. Another 5 minutes of balanced play ended when despite some strong tackling from Mackenzie (who was on for the injured Conor), Marlborough nipped through to score (0-38).
The final score did not reflect the quality of play and commitment demonstrated by the Tadley team. There were great phases of play and excellent teamwork from the Tigers throughout the game. As the referee commented after the match, the improvement was significant.
Man of the match for Tadley was Archie for his excellent running and fearless tackling.