SALISBURY RFC started the year 2019 with 27-10 defeat at Royal Wootton Bassett, writes JOHN PALMER.

For the most part it was a tight, closely-fought game. Salisbury defended well but Bassett were quick to pick up on a few mistakes and turn them into scores.

Bassett were first on the scoreboard with a converted try after 12 minutes, an unconverted try after 20 and another on the half-hour for a 17-0 lead.

Salisbury had been defending well and then put some attacks together. From a strong forward drive close to the line it looked as though prop forward Mike Dauwalder was over for a try, but the ref judged it held up and did not allow it.

At the end of the first half a strong attack down the left wing gave winger Max Bishop the chance to drive over for Salisbury's first try out wide.

Dave Tonge's conversion from close to the touch-line didn't quite have the legs and the half finished with the hosts leading 17-5.

The third quarter was very evenly matched with strong attacks from both sides being held out by fierce defence.

Eventually on the hour mark Salisbury broke the deadlock with a try for Dave Tonge.

The conversion from replacement winger Dan Luedicke fell just short. Bassett hit back quickly with a converted try, followed by a penalty to take the win by 27-10.

This Saturday Salisbury travel to Witney who are one place below them in the league, so the result could be crucial in determining the final positions.

Salisbury United, the club's second string beat visiting Blandford 31-27.

The visitors started strongly, and their powerful set piece saw them lead by 14 points in as many minutes.

Debutant scrum-half Lewis Robinson then got Salisbury moving at pace, and a converted try for captain Jake McConnell got them back into the match.

A try from Greg Harris, unconverted, left Salisbury well in touch but trailing 14-12 at half-time.

Salisbury came out strongly after the break, and smart work from Tom Pottage and Ant Sturges led to a try for debutant George Bayless.

A penalty for Blandford levelled the scores. Two further tries from James Hill and 10 more points from Blandford saw Salisbury win by 31-27. With four tries scored, this gave Salisbury five very valuable league points.

Salisbury Colts started the year with a 25-12 away at Sherborne.

Playing in the highest tier of the Colts league, Salisbury started at a fast pace and caught the home side napping, and a penalty from Cameron Mould put them three points up after five minutes.

Sherborne got themselves organised and defended strongly but tries from Chris Chaddock and Sam Goldsmith and a conversion from Mould left Salisbury leading 15-0 at the break.

Sherborne came out strongly in the second half and soon had Salisbury pinned in their own 22.

With two tries and a conversion they clawed back to trail 15-12, but Salisbury tightened up their defence.

A second try from Goldsmith, converted by Mould, gave some breathing space at 22-12.

With four minutes to go a penalty from Mould tied the game up with Salisbury taking the victory 25-12.