THIS vital encounter for Salisbury started in reflective mood with the players of both sides lining up for a minutes silence in memory of club stalwart Garth Parsons who passed away earlier this month.

Garth would have been pleased by the inspired start with Joey Goldsmith crashing over for a score with just three minutes on the clock.

In front of a large crowd the hosts were playing with an urgency and precision not seen for a few weeks and with barely ten minutes gone the electric pace of Ross Stanley saw him in for a score, Nik Wootton adding the conversion points.

Stratford Upon Avon could have been forgiven had they wilted at this point but instead turned in a combative performance, attacking Salisbury at the breakdown and severely disrupting the flow of ball.

This, allied to the wet and difficult conditions, prevented the hosts from extending their lead and eventually the visitors pulled a score back when their scrum half scampered clear from a ruck.

Salisbury applied pressure with the back row of Bobby Saunders, Joey Goldsmith and Richard Smart to the fore. Domination in the set piece, with the front row of Mike Dawaulder, Gareth Blackborow and Matt Frere, powered by the engine room of Josh Green and Rob Becher, was providing plentiful possession and was rewarded when, after a series of rucks, Dave Tonge found Stanley out wide and the centre made no mistake, finishing well and extending the lead to 10 points at the break.

The second half followed much the same pattern, Smart scoring a splendid bonus point try, as he battered his way through the covering defence, Wootton again adding the extras. Stratford pulled back another score but never looked to be getting close to the home side, as Salisbury won 24-12.

Five valuable and battling points pushed Salisbury further from danger but John Kimberley will be looking for further improvement when the city side travel to Swindon next Saturday in another vital, derby clash.

Salisbury’s second string gave Puddletown short shrift in this relegation battle and did themselves no harm at all with a huge victory.

Dan Hammond, returning from injury notched four first half tries, enough to secure a bonus point on his own.

This was a great team performance led by Jake McConnell who weighed in a score, further tries coming from Ponnie Pate, William Lesley, Ru Coley, Lewis Robinson, James Hill, Henry Wilson, Sean Beevoe and Gerard Narruhn, who also added four conversions.

The final score was 88-10.

Salisbury Women played their return match against Newbury on last Sunday, on a very cold and windy afternoon. 
The hard work that Salisbury have put into training with coach Greg Leadshom has paid off as their performance was significantly better. 
This was third game as they gear up for entering the National Leagues next season.  
Although eventually losing 29-15 the game was in the balance for a long period. 
Newbury edged the tie despite a stunning hat-trick of tries from Crystal Trott. 
More players are always welcome to join training on Tuesday night's at 7pm at the Castle Road Club.