INJURY again forced Salisbury to shuffle their resources as they visited Newbury Blues in a ‘must win’ rugby game for both sides, who are locked at the bottom of the table.
Salisbury started brightly and centre James Kiminski tested the home defence with a cleverly angled kick through before Jonah Thorpe found Bobby Saunders and Dave Tonge in support.
From the ensuing penalty, Ewen Quinn kicked Salisbury ahead.
Salisbury were dominating and, when Kiminski broke and kicked ahead down the right, Richie Roe followed up and bundled the defender into touch.
Newbury kicked to clear their lines and Phil Carr attacked strongly down the left, the ball was switched right and Roe was held up on the line.
The home side offended again and Quinn stroked another penalty over to extend the lead.
Newbury then began to come into the game and strong defence was required to repulse a forward drive.
When the ball was swung left, only a try-saving tackle from Carr, forcing a knock-on, kept them out.
The home side disrupted the scrummage and were awarded a penalty, Jack Mugridge converting.
Salisbury continued to try to play their way forward, and a clever Tonge chip was gathered by Leon Taylor, but he was judged to have held on in the tackle and Mugridge’s penalty levelled things shortly before the break.
Newbury started the second half well, pouncing on a Salisbury mistake to break and score through Finn Walsh. Mugridge added the conversion and then kicked another penalty.
Salisbury stormed back and looked to have scored wide on the right through Tonge but it was ruled there was a foot in touch.
The referee pulled them back for a penalty and that gnarled old warrior Richard West,drove over from close range.
Sadly Salisbury fluffed a simple conversion and then a penalty attempt, which would have levelled the scores.
The game raged up and down the pitch and Newbury did well to relieve pressure and add another penalty.
Eddie Cleall then touched down from a scrummage and, as Salisbury attempted to force the game, an interception saw Thomas Martin gallop away for the final try, Mugridge adding the conversion to make it 31-11.
But Salisbury deserved at least a share of the spoils on this performance.
They competed hard and, in Max Moncrief, had the outstanding player on the pitch.
Next week sees the unbeaten Oxford Harlequins visit Castle Road so there is no respite – but, if Salisbury work hard and draw on the positive aspects of their game that elusive first victory is surely not far away.
- Salisbury United went down 43-32 to Wimborne in an 11-try thriller.
Disrupted by 1st XV call-ups and injury, Salisbury had an unfamiliar line-up and were 36-8 down at the break, Sean Coulshed claiming a try and a penalty.
A much stronger second half, with tries from Dave Saloman, Robin White, Tom Hopper and Chawley Soper, and two Coulshed conversions, had Captain Dirk Knight saying: “That was a much improved performance, the audacious, crossfield kick to set up Robin White was pure genius.”
- Salisbury A XI started slowly and went down to a 43-3 defeat away to local rivals Wheatsheaf Cabin Crew on Saturday in Dorset & Wilts 3 South. Salisbury improved in the second half but the damage had already been done.