RUGBY: It’s success on a Plate

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Marlborough’s players celebrate their Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Plate triumph at North Dorset on Saturday Marlborough’s players celebrate their Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Plate triumph at North Dorset on Saturday

MARLBOROUGH claimed their second county title in two seasons as they lifted the Dorset & Wilts 1s XV Plate on Saturday.

The Common side, the runaway leaders of Dorset & Wilts Two North, defeated Dorset Dockers 25-5 in rain-soaked conditions at North Dorset RFC to follow up last season’s county Vase triumph.

Team boss Mike Banfield, whose side scored three tries in the victory, said: “Our aim is to keep our league form going and also to enjoy a run in the cup.

“The performance on Saturday was one of the best by the club and shows exactly where we want to be as a team and the level of play.’’

Marlborough won their second Dorset & Wilts competition final with an outstanding performance against Dorset Dockers at North Dorset RFC.

The Common side, who lifted the county Vase last season and went on to reach the last eight of the national RFU Senior Vase, are on the march again after continuing their unbeaten run this season.

Marlborough, coached by former Premiership star Chris Budgen, have carried all before them in Dorset & Wilts Two North this season – claiming 12 victories out of 12 and scoring an average of nearly 60 points per game.

Saturday’s final proved a bit more of a slog, as they came up against driving rain and bitterly cold conditions.

Playing with the elements in the first half, the Wiltshire men built up an 11-0 advantage.

The scrappy early phases saw Amori Nailago make several breaks from the back of the scrum with Rhys Butler making more yards. Marlborough began to dominate possession and Hugh Sutcliffe was unlucky not to score a try after a good inside run.

The pressure told on the Dockers, who conceded penalties, and top points scorer Nathan Morgan judged the wind right twice to give Marlborough a 6-0 lead.

The forward momentum continued and another break by Nailago set up Butler who then put Morgan free.

He sent centre Nick Clarke over for the first try of the game before half time.

Playing against the wind made no difference to the flow of the game in the second half as the Marlborough pack really started to dominate.

The front five of Paul Roberts, Adam Whatley, Tom Fleming, Shaun Anderson and Matt Hamblin had outstanding games, putting the Dockers side under pressure in the scrums.

The scrums became a key feature, Marlborough number eight and captain Jamie Pittams leading by example.

Dockers continue to cough up penalties and the inevitable penalty try followed, which was converted to leave Marlborough ahead 18-0.

The Dockers hit back with a try in the corner, but Marlborough raised their level again, with Butler, Clarke and Morgan making fine runs up the centre of the pitch.

With the supporting flankers Will Turner and Jonny Mantle linking play, Morgan’s run broke a couple of tackles and the supporting run of substitute hooker Ben Beanland was rewarded with a try under the posts, Morgan’s conversion sealing the trophy.



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