MARLBOROUGH roared to a dominant 44-0 win at home to struggling Stratford Upon Avon at the weekend to climb up to second in the South West One East table.

That result saw them leapfrog fellow Wiltshire side Royal Wootton Bassett in the standings after they went down 22-19 at Old Centralians.

Marlborough made a flying start, spreading the ball wide to create an overlap for Mitieli Vulikijapani to run in the first try of the game inside two minutes.

Despite the score, Marlborough found themselves locked in a scrappy, slow game. However, good possession finally allowed them to make further headway in the 21st minute when Lemeki Moala barged his way over for a try converted by Will Grant.

Marlborough then began to show their superiority and Moala scored his second try of the game five minutes before the break after pushing over a maul following a lineout. Grant converted to extend the hosts’ lead to 19-0 at half-time.

Again, Marlborough came out of the blocks fast in the second half and another lineout maul pushed its way over the tryline, with Semisi Rasivo the man to put the ball down to secure the bonus point.

Two minutes later, Marlborough scored an almost identical try. Stratford were unable to deal with Marlborough’s powerful drive as Moala brought up his hat-trick for the day.

The weather then took a turn for the worse as the rain hammered down and the contest returned to a scrappy affair.

However, Vulikijapani was able to stretch his legs after 65 minutes and he broke the line at speed to run in a superb try and push the lead to 34-0.

Still Marlborough were not done and they scored twice more in the final eight minutes.

First, following a scrum 10m from the line, the hosts showed their strength and stamina to push their way over as Inosi Laqekoro claimed the touchdown.

Then with the last play of the game, a solid performance was rounded off by a quality team move as Vulikijapani unselfishly offloaded to Grant for try number eight to round off the scoring.

Elsewhere, Wiltshire rivals Bassett had led 19-12 at half-time against Old Centralians, but the home side battled back to turn the game around after the break, leaving the visitors to settle for a losing bonus point in a 22-19 loss.

Chippenham were on the receiving end of a second-half fightback themselves as they went down narrowly 15-14 at home to near neighbours Swindon.

Jacob Unwin’s two tries had given the hosts a 14-0 lead at Allington Fields, but they could not hold off Swindon’s resurgence after the break.

However, there was better news for Trowbridge as they got back to winning ways following a run of three defeats in a row with a 37-17 victory at Beaconsfield.