DESPITE an improved performance Salisbury fell to their second defeat of the season at Oxford 29-19.

The visitors were patient in the opening exchanges and applied pressure through phases of play but went behind to a breakaway try from a long way out.

Salisbury, playing with the wind at their back, stuck to their task and Rob Larcombe was denied by the referee from a quickly taken line out before, from another throw Mike Dawaulder emerged from a rumbling maul with a score, Boyd Rouse converting.

The Wiltshire side were in the ascendancy and when Rouse fielded a clearance kick he had Nick Wotton outside who fed the outstanding Callum MacTaggart and the flying wing grabbed his third score of the season.

The visitor's12-7 half time lead was short lived as they again appeared to switch off for a costly period shipping three scores in the process before rallying.

David Tonge reduced the deficit to 26-19, with a try converted by Rouse, but despite late pressure, a further penalty for the home side saw them out of reach.

Salisbury were left feeling that they had left chances out on the park and could have used the stiff wind to their advantage much better in the first half.

Captain Josh Green rued the missed chances but complemented the Harlequins on their defence which held strong, adding: "It will be a tough test at home next week against local rivals (Royal Wotton) Bassett who have made a flying start."

Salisbury’s second team put in a fantastic second-half performance against one of the fancied teams in their league, but will rue the first-half errors that left them with too much to do, as they lost 31-21 to visiting Dorset Dockers.

The scrum was giving away about two stone a man, but they worked hard to provide ball for a talented back-line in which young Joe Tully and Greg Harris shone with their running, whilst Theo Daniel saved a number of points with his intelligent defending.

A 19-0 half-time deficit was within reach and Tully’s first score, converted by Seb Eades, was well deserved.

But a failing shared with their 1st XV colleagues the previous week was playing too much rugby in their own half, allowing Dorset to score twice in quick succession taking the lead out to 24 points.

The home side rallied and Tully scored a second individual effort before a sustained passage of great play saw Eades go over, who also converted both for a final score of 31-21.