ROCK-bottom Salisbury RFC suffered more heartache on Saturday after chucking away a three-point cushion in the dying stages, which could prove costly in their fight to avoid relegation.
Neil Loader’s side were leading 28-25, and on the verge of a famous victory, but their luckless season took a turn for the worse and they succumbed to a 28-30 defeat to Witney at Castle Road.
The blustery conditions hitting the city, causing a temporary toilet to tumble over, didn’t trouble the hosts, as they took the game to Witney with some strong running and great support. But it was the visitors who scored first.
Salisbury endeavoured to run the ball out of their own half and, caught in possession, were forced to concede a penalty and first blood. This merely spurred the home side into action and a great drive from Luke Esnouf, carried on by Josh Green, took play deep into the Witney 22-metre area and forced the desperate defence to concede a line out. A clean catch from Green was driven over the line and Jonah Thorpe emerged with the ball.
Rory Davis kicked a seemingly impossible conversion from wide out into the stiff breeze.
In a pattern that was to become familiar, Witney then exerted pressure before driving strongly over the try line to regain the lead. Another good period from the home side saw the visitors infringe and Davis slotted the points to lead 10-8 at half time.
A further penalty from Davis extended the lead before Witney hit back to score under the posts and add the conversion to regain the advantage.
Davis, who was kicking imperiously, pinned the visitors back with a siege gun of a boot and Salisbury exerted pressure to gain a penalty slotted by Davis to make it 16-15.
Despite some poor tackling from Salisbury Loader’s team rallied on and managed to take a lead that they were clinging onto. But, failing to deal with a Witney attack ended in catastrophe as there was no time left to peg back the distinguishing two-point deficit.