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RUGBY: Chipping Norton 5 Marlborough 25
2:23pm Tuesday 5th February 2013 in Sport
MARLBOROUGH edged nearer a dream day out at Twickenham as they claimed the Southern Counties Senior Vase in Oxfordshire on Saturday.
The Common side will host Forest of Dean outfit Drybrook on February 23 in the South West Counties Senior Vase final. The winner of that match will progress to a national semi final against the winners from one of England’s other three regions with a place in the final at English rugby’s home up for grabs.
Marlborough were initially on the back foot, but quickly got to grips with their hosts’ game plan, which was centred around their physical back row and powerful centres.
Marlborough’s defence stood firm, with telling contributions in the early stages from Taniela Delamaitana, Jonny Mantle, alongside the centre partnership of Russ Westcott and Craig Phillips.
The visitors struck first when after fine tactical kicking by fly-half Moree Nailago and full-back Nathan Morgan, Phillips and Westcott combined to send Morgan over.
A similar move brought the next score, as Westcott and Chris Patterson ran the dummy angles, for Phillips to break through and set up wing Hugh Sutcliffe to cross in the corner.
Marlborough soaked up some early Norton pressure in the second period and a fine try for Patterson followed, finishing off a flowing team move of more than 20 passes, marshalled by scrum-half Corey Strickland and Nailago.
Norton’s frustrations led to them being reduced to 14 men and Nailago ensured they paid the price, jinking around several defenders to cross unopposed after running nearly 50 yards.
Then Lotu Ngongtau crossed from a driving maul after Jack Lynd secured a lineout.
Norton came back with a try of their own with the last play.
REACTION & PICTURES FROM MARLBOROUGH'S TRIUMPH IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD