MARLBOROUGH strengthened their position as the top Wiltshire side in South West One East when they returned from county rivals Royal Wootton Bassett with the bragging rights after a 29-13 victory.

The Common side sit fourth in the table, one place and nine points above their beaten weekend opponents.

The visitors were the first to strike after Harry Jackson kicked a penalty to the corner. A good jump and maul from the lineout set up the chance for Anthony Maka to squeeze down the touchline to score the opening try, although Jake Williams missed the conversion.

Bassett responded with a spell of attacking pressure of their own, but a good clearing kick from Jackson was pounced upon by Pio Tuwai, whose no-look pass created a second try for Maka. Williams was able to convert this time.

The home side rallied and seemed destined to score through an overlap, but they were denied by a knock-on interception by Tuwai. The referee deemed the offence to be a deliberate one and sent him to the sin-bin.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Marlborough still looked in command, although the chance to further increase their lead was spurned when a penalty came back off the post as the score remained 12-0 at the break.

Marlborough began the second half well and Mitieli Vulikijapani showed his class when he picked up the ball on halfway line and evaded the Bassett defence to dot down a brilliant try. Williams successfully converted.

The home side then enjoyed something of a purple patch and their 19-0 deficit was cut down to just six points after two tries in quick succession were swiftly followed by a penalty.

After being under the cosh for a while, Marlborough responded well and Jack Lynd exploited a gap in the Bassett line to charge through for a fine solo try. Although Williams’ kick was missed, the visitors were back on top at 24-13.

Marlborough then finally killed off the game for good in the closing stages as Tuwai and Vulikijapani linked to start an attack down the left, and although they were held up just short of the tryline, Ben Fulton capitalised on the weariness of the Bassett defenders to dive over the whitewash and seal the bonus point for his side.

Elsewhere, Chippenham had the consolation of a four-try bonus point after losing their own Wiltshire derby 40-31 away at Salisbury.

Finally, Trowbridge fell to a narrow 21-20 loss at home to Wimborne.