A MIRACLE is needed if Salisbury RFC are going to leap from the South West 1 (East) basement in their final five games after an unhelpful draw with Buckingham on Saturday added to their relegation woes.
Four tries at Castle Road gave the city side a point booster going into the closing stages, but their crestfallen 24-24 verdict in the bottom- of-the-table clash has all but topped off a damaging season.
A nerve-strewn game in which patches of brilliance were mired in a fog of anxiety, Buckingham, 13 points ahead of their rock-bottom hosts, took the upper hand early on. And when the home side lost Josh Green to the bin, they made sure their numerical superiority counted with a converted try.
Salisbury were rocking but broke from deep with impressive centre Jon Goldsmith to the fore, and when desperate defence halted his run, James Kaminski carried it on over the line with some delightful fast footwork; Andy Herriott kicked the conversion and the scores were level.
Luke Esnouf led a drive deep into the Buckingham half and, when he was tackled, Salisbury kept the move alive through six sets of hands and Green redeemed himself by finishing the move with a score.
The home side were in the ascendancy and only a cynical foul prevented another score but the ball was swung right and Paddy Flood burst through the line to extend the lead, Herriott converting.
Any expectation that the home side would close the game out in the second half were soon scotched as Buckingham kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit.
Further indiscipline from Salisbury saw the visitors miss a penalty but pressed and scored a try soon after.
Eventually Salisbury seemed to stir themselves from the torpor and Jonah Thorpe crossed in the corner to extend the lead to seven points but Buckingham rallied and scored under the posts, easily converted to level.
An improvement is needed before Swindon on Saturday.
- Mike Brown earned his 25th England cap during the RBS Six Nations 29-18 win over Wales at Twickenham.