IT may only be Salisbury RFC’s third win in South West 1 (East), but it was timed to perfection.
Seven games remain until their campaign draws to a close and a cluster of wins between now and April 12 could seem them pull-off the great escape.
Saturday’s 32-26 win came on home turf in a humdinger against a physical Reading side who have had a steady season backed up with their current sixth position, scoring some nice tries at Castle Road.
The hosts’ willingness helped them to fire on all cylinders and they started well when Paddy Flood squeezed into the corner for the opening score. Andy Herriott added to the excitement, sending the home supporters into raptures, when he finished off a slick move by diving over and then adding the conversion points.
Reading responded with two converted tries in the last ten minutes of the half to steal the interval lead 12-14, and then stretched it immediately after the break with a score on the wide left.
Instead of fizzling out, the home side took the scrap to Reading and a Herriott penalty narrowed the gap before Flood fielded a poor clearance and fed Phil Carr.
On went the afterburners and Carr scorched through the defence before sending Josh Green in for a score and the lead by a solitary point.
The large Reading pack rumbled into life and forced Salisbury back in the scrummage leaving the referee to signal a penalty try, duly converted.
A quickly taken free kick by Michael Roberts surprised the defence and a quick off load saw the outstanding Patrick Dickson in for a bonus point try.
Salisbury trailed by a point and seemed to be running out of ideas when Jon Goldsmith ran from 70-yards, the visitors’ defence opened in front of him and Goldsmith crossed, untouched, for the final score. Herriott added the extras before the less cultured boot of Green sent the ball soaring into touch.
Skipper Gareth Blackborrow said: “I was really proud of the team’s performance.”
“Everyone stood up and did their bit. It gives us great confidence going forward, and the result has been coming for a long time.”
Salisbury head to Windsor on Saturday (3pm).
- Former Salisbury fullback Mike Brown made it back-to-back man of the matches in England’s 13-10 Six Nations win over Ireland at Twickenham.
- Salisbury Utd notched up a significant win over Bridport with a 48-24 smashing. Morgan claimed a hattrick of tries, while Boswell, Ward, Davis and the veteran Hobbs also crossed.
- Salisbury Colts returned from Dorset victorious after securing a 13-44 win over Swanage and Wareham Colts.
- Wins for Salisbury under 15s and 14s put them in a buoyant mood last weekend. The under 15s ran out 54 nil victors at Royal Wootton Bassett in the Wiltshire Cup, while the under 14s racked up double wins over Oakmedians (56-0) and Fordingbridge (41-0).