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Handsome win for Salisbury
1:11pm Wednesday 28th January 2009 in Salisbury Rugby Club
WHAT a difference a week makes!
Salisbury, defeated 41-0 just seven days earlier by Reading, turned the tables on lowly Bletchley to run out comprehensive 50-0 winners.
A large, vocal crowd at Castle Road included more than 100 of the club’s vice presidents, their rousing support helping to inspire a much-improved performance.
Saturday’s match was also a celebration of the life of former first team player Gary Lightfoot, who died recently.
The players took time out to have a photo taken with his two sons prior to the match.
Salisbury’s scrum-half Tom Mans, despite stepping into the shoes of the valuable Tim Cronin, showed few nerves in the early stages and did well throughout the game.
Just like the previous week, set pieces proved Salisbury’s strength and their first scrum led to a penalty for the home side.
Salisbury had good early periods of possession and looked comfortable with the ball.
Within 13 minutes, they deservedly opened the scoring with a well-taken try by Richard Roe.
The conversion was sweetly struck by returning skipper Liam Gilbert.
Salisbury had the upper hand in lineouts too, and a strong axis of Finlay Bibby, Gilbert, Mans and Terry Gilmour was proving highly effective.
On 20 minutes more strong scrummaging earned the hosts a penalty try, again converted by Gilbert to open up a substantial 14-0 lead.
Encouragingly, by this point, Salisbury were challenging for every ball and were having more success making their first time tackles, putting Bletchley on the back foot.
The rearranged back row were in dominant form, while the front five of Gareth Blackborow, Bibby, Adam Misselbrook, Gilbert and Dave Thorpe consistently had the upper hand in the scrums and lineouts.
On the half hour mark, a Bletchley scrum turnover led to a good dummy by Tom Morton, then a good pass to Christian Metson who linked swiftly with Gilmour to score.
Another successful conversion took Salisbury in leading 21-0 at the break.
A mixed start to the second half saw Thorpe receiving a yellow card on 46 minutes.
But before any jitters could set in, another Gilmour try two minutes later ensured business as usual.
Although Salisbury were temporarily reduced to 14 men, Bletchley were nevertheless constantly having to defend deep in their half throughout the early stages of the second half.
On the hour, a Salisbury penalty for offside extended their lead to an unassailable 31 points.
By this time, Luke Byrne had been replaced by the always dependable Arnie Vyas, who kept up the momentum, joining in with some bludgeoning runs by the forwards.
By the time Thorpe returned to the fray, Salisbury’s work was all but done.
As a consequence, the forward aggression they had shown thus far was less in evidence.
However, the game was undeniably in the bag. On 70 minutes, good interpassing and straight running between the forwards and backs resulted in a score for Thorpe.
In the closing minutes there were two more tries from Barwick, one of them following a huge forward drive from fly-half Morton.
Both were converted to complete the resounding 50-0 victory.
Salisbury now head to Reading Abbey on Saturday.