SALISBURY RFC a side decimated by injury and non availability, put in a strong performance against high flying Marlborough’s galacticos, despite losing 41-28.

From the off the home side were playing quick and expansive rugby and were rewarded when Jonah Thorpe, playing like a man half his age on his return to first team duty, forced his way over for a score converted by Nick Wootton.

Salisbury defended well against the expected onslaught but sadly three crucial errors led to scores for the visitors and the game began to slip away.

Marlborough’s handling and passing was slick, as befits a mainly Fijian side, but Salisbury were dominating the line out and were strong in the tackle and at the breakdown and turned around 31-7 down.

The home support could have been forgiven for a degree of pessimism when Marlborough scored again after the break but, as in the previous week, this young Salisbury side have a core of steel.

Some enterprising movement of the ball gave Joe Tully half a chance and he stepped through tackle after tackle to touch down, Dan Luedicke converting.

Salisbury were really clicking and some fine donkey work by Gareth Blackborow and his forwards, Joey Goldsmith, Bobby Saunders, Chris Beaumont and Thorpe to the fore, gave Dave Tonge space to orchestrate the attacks, Tully, Luedicke and Rory MacTaggart running hard at the visitors.

The home side were rewarded when a muscular drive saw Blackborrow emerge from the bottom of a pile of bodies with the ball and a smile, Luedicke again converting. Marlborough broke the siege with a fine running score, straight from ther sevens pitch, Salisbury sensed an opportunity and some cynicism by the visitors’ defence was punished with a second yellow card.

Another home attack saw Tonge held up on the line but the referee had spotted more foul play and a penalty try was awarded.

More pressure followed but the gap was always too great and Salisbury had to be content with winning the second half and a bonus point for tries scored.

This Saturday, they are away at league leaders Newbury Blues.

Salisbury third XI took all the spoils from local rivals Wheatsheaf Cabin Crew with a fine 30-22 win. Tries came from Gavin Auton-Shelton, Triston Haines, Leon Landels, Scotty Nicol and Jamie Wright, who also added a penalty, Joe Jackson added a penalty.

The Stones chalked up a fine victory with Max Lloyd playing at outside then scrum half notching 18 points with his boot, as they beat Ellingham and Ringwood thirds.

Ben Cullen showed great leadership and Ant Strurgess, Josh Westlake, Poni and Lloyd all claimed tries.