RUGBY: Hungerford 3 Marlborough 44

First published in Sport

MARLBOROUGH are through to the Southern Counties Senior Vase Final after a thumping victory over Hungerford on Saturday.

The Common-based side progressed to the next stage of the National Senior Vase competition with victory and will play either Buckinghamshire side sides Phoenix or Oxfordshire’s Chipping Norton in the final.

Marlborough earned their place in the regional rounds after defeating Melksham in the Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Vase final earlier this month.

And they progressed again, overcoming awful conditions and a mud bath of a pitch at their local rivals.

With the referee making it clear from the start he would be strict around the tackle area, both sides found difficult to come to terms with his interpretations at the start.

Marlborough gave away a penalty from the first play, which Hungerford converted to take a 3-0 lead.

After that though, it was one-way traffic.

Hungerford were constantly penalised in the next 20 minutes, with Marlborough captain Nathan Morgan slotting all five to give the visitors a 15-3 lead. Marlborough were reduced to 14 men shortly after, when Lotu Ngungutau was sin-binned for a high tackle.

The visitors played a tactical territorial game for the next 10 minutes to ride out the extra man disadvantage. At the end of the half, Marlborough won a penalty near the Hungerford try line, and opted for the scrum.

Having dominated that area all game. Marlborough put the drive on, and the returning Dave Lemon crashed over for the try, Morgan adding the extras for a 22-3 half-time lead. With pressure from the off in the second period, flanker Jonny Mantle charged down an attempted clearance and beat the defence to fall on the ball and score.

Shortly afterwards, Russ Westcott spotted a gap in the defence and dinked a small chip into the space.

Substitute Taniela Delaitamana ran on to the ball to score under the posts. Hungerford being reduced to 14 men for a late tackle on fly-half Moree Nailago, Marlborough’s Will Thomas following for a similar offence a few minutes later.

And Marlborough added two further tries, the first from a pushover and the second as prop Billy Trevaskis marked his final game for the club before leaving to live in Thailand, by stealing the ball in a maul and driving over the line.

MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD

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