MARLBOROUGH secured their highest-ever league finish and ignited faint hopes of a play-off spot by emerging victorious from a points-feast at Swanage & Wareham in Southern Counties South.

The Common side wrapped up at least fifth place with the 48-43 success on the south coast, while the triumph left them just four points behind the second-placed home side with two matches remaining.

Despite falling behind to a converted try, the visitors responded as player-coach Lotu Ngungutau touched down from an attacking lineout and Garth Bari converted.

From the restart another fine attack led to a score from fellow player-coach Leo Tuliva and, as the Marlborough lineout continued to function well, Sam Gouldbourn and Jake Williams set up Amori Nailago, who repeatedly side-stepped the defence to touch down for a 19-17 lead.

Swanage roared back with a brace of tries to take the lead at half-time but Marlborough started the second half well, Ngungutau scoring from a quick tap penalty by Williams, who added the conversion.

Ratu Vuira added another but as Swanage upped the pressure, they hit back with two tries of their own.

Marlborough and man of the match skipper Jack Lynd responded with a tap-and-go penalty before Russ Westcott rounded off a superb backs move for the decisive score, despite a late Swanage response.

Devizes remained sixth as a second-half fightback was not enough to overturn third-placed Sherborne.

The Saddlebakcs trailed 12-0 at the break, but hauled themselves back into it before two tries from the visitors, with the home side down to 14 men, settled the encounter at London Road.

A below-par first-half display left Devizes adrift, but the comeback began as Rory Brown's break and offload to Chris Barter gave them their first try.

Then off a five metre scrum, Devizes powered to the try line to allow skipper Josh Gould to burrow over. Brown converting to tie the scores.

However, the sin-binning of second row Martin Bills proved decisive,, Sherborne scoring twice in that period and although Devizes' scrum dominance brought them a penalty try, it was only good enough for a bonus point.