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Salisbury's struggling season rolls on
SALISBURY’S tough start to the season continued on Saturday with a 97-21 defeat at Reading.
Injury problems forced head coach Mark Bugden into naming himself on the replacement bench at the tender age of 52, giving a debut start to Harry Bosworth in an unfamiliar position at lock, and switching Richard West from the comfort of the front row into the wide open spaces enjoyed by the loose forwards.
Reading, on the other hand, have recruited well and were able to fielder a larger and, in many departments, quicker side.
The hosts breached the visitors’ line in the first minute and continued to do so at regular intervals.
It would be wrong to suggest that Salisbury were in contention but it would also be wrong to suggest that at any stage they gave up in what was a very uneven contest.
Johnny Kay produced another strong performance, his normal high tackle count and ball carrying abilities well to the fore, and Richard West confirmed his status as the grand old man of the side with a performance reminiscent of his pomp.
Gordon Grant made an impressive return to the team, Roland Barter looks to be finding his feet after stepping up and Phil Carr’s strength and desire to run the ball back were a joy to behold.
Carr crossed for a try on the stroke of half time, Dan Gollop bundled over midway through the second half, and a penalty try resulting from strong Salisbury pressure, all converted by Rory Davis made up the visitors’ 21 points.
Scant reward, but nonetheless underlining the effort the available players are prepared to put in.
Reading looked a class outfit and will surely be contesting the promotion places at the end of the season.
Salisbury continue to lick their wounds but will be a much tougher proposition the next time these sides meet.
Salisbury Utd, badly disrupted by first XV call ups, put in a workmanlike performance at Bridport but narrowly lost out 17-12.
Phil Sutton and Tom Hopper crossed for the visitors.