MARLBOROUGH’S hopes of securing back-to-back promotions took a hit at the weekend as they slipped up at home to Beaconsfield in South West One East, losing 15-18.

Despite leading 15-5 at the break, Marlborough conceded two penalties and a converted try in the second half, ensuring they suffered their fifth loss of the season and missed out on an opportunity to move into second.

Beaconsfield, attacking downhill, enjoyed the better start to the game and soon edged ahead when positive passing and handling play saw the visitors’ winger burst through in the corner for an unconverted try.

The hosts soon made up for their early error to level the game.

After a good scrum, Russell Westcott got on the end of a neat grubber kick to cross the whitewash. Jake Williams’ kick couldn’t be guided between the posts, though, as the scores remained locked at 5-5.

A high-tackle on Russell Westcott saw Beaconsfield reduced to 14 men and Marlborough required no second invitation to take full advantage of the visitors’ error as Epeli Kotobalavu touched down.

Williams’ kick this time struck the post, but didn’t take a fortuitous deflection as Marlborough’s lead was restricted to 10-5.

Keen to stretch their lead before the interval, Marlborough pressed further and soon broke free.

Westcott registered his second try of the game before Williams again failed to successfully kick the conversion – leaving Marlborough 10 points up at half-time.

The second half proved a contrast as Beaconsfield converted a penalty with only three minutes played before a chipped kick resulted in the visitors’ second try of the game.

A successful conversion tied the game at 15-15.

With the momentum right behind Beaconsfield, Marlborough conceded further points after gifting a penalty close to the posts.

The kick was successful, and Beaconsfield held onto their lead in the game’s concluding 15 minutes – denying Marlborough valuable league points.

Elsewhere in the division, Royal Wootton Bassett coasted to a 28-5 win over Wiltshire rivals Swindon.

Head coach Alan Low said a combination of improved accuracy and keeping a lid on their emotions allowed his side to record their 13th win of the season, which keeps them in the hunt for promotion.

He added: “It was a tough old game. The conditions for both teams – certainly in the first half – were pretty difficult and there were a lot of handling errors from both sides.

“There was a lot more accuracy in the second half from us and we got away with a decent result in the end.

“We were certainly well into a battle at half-time, but the conditions improved in the second half and the guys carried on playing, we managed to keep the tempo up in the game and we managed to pull away later on in the game.”

Meanwhile, Chippenham put distance between themselves and division strugglers Witney when recording a 17-12 victory at home against the Oxfordshire outfit.

Dan Jeffries’ Trowbridge were also in action.

They defeated Oxford Harlequins 36-20 to remain in 10th with 35 points.