THE winter came early to Castle Road on Saturday as Salisbury entertained Witney, a team without a win but a side who seem to have enjoyed great success over Salisbury in recent seasons.

The home side certainly started in a sharper fashion, building phases as they achieved territorial supremacy, but handling errors cost them dearly as they failed to capitalise on their advantage.

As the visitors began to get a toehold into the game Salisbury broke the deadlock when good work by captain Josh Green and Boyd Rouse found Dave Tonge in support for a try, Rouse converting.

As Salisbury pressed only constant infringement stopped a score and when the yellow card was waved it di not take the home side long to press home their advantage, Mike Dawaulder rumbling over for a score and a 12-0 interval advantage.

Witney responded after the break with a penalty and began to exert pressure, particularly in the scrummage, leaving the hosts with scant possession.

Both sides were experiencing difficulties with the wet ball and the cold and handling errors were manifest. Eventually Salisbury infringed on their own line and a penalty try was awarded bring the visitors within two points.

The last 20 minutes saw the game played mainly in the home half but resolute defence kept Witney at bay till an attacking foray ended with a Rouse penalty. Salisbury stuck grimly to the task and finished 15-10 in front.

Coach John Kimberley said “It was difficult conditions for both sides, we did not play as cohesively as we wished to, but are pleased with the victory.”

Salisbury United were outclassed in their Dorset and Wilts Cup tie by local rivals Bournemouth as they lost 59-0.

Salisbury’s second string will not face many better sides this season, so the poor weather and a non-functioning line-out were most unwelcome additions to the mix.

The visitors from Dorset started strongly, showing a rhythm that was to elude the home side to score regularly through the first-half which finished 42-0, all seven tries excellently converted.

Salisbury were competitive throughout, contributing to the game but failing to get over the try-line despite the unstinting efforts of skipper Jake McConnell and his team.

The second half did see Salisbury with more territory and an improving scrum, managing to get over the line twice but failing to get the referee’s approval for either score. Bournemouth were now struggling to assert themselves as they had in the earlier part of the game, but still managed three further scores for a final result of 59-0.