SALISBURY hosted unbeaten Tottonians at Castle Road on Saturday.

They started brightly, moving the ball with ambition and pace but couldn’t break Tottonians’ sturdy defence during the early exchanges.

Salisbury were penalised for holding on which enabled the visitors to kick for the corner. They formed a driving maul from the lineout then broke to score a converted try on seven minutes. Salisbury then endured a period of pressure from the restart as Tottonians made yardage through a number of strong ball carriers.

Salisbury’s Tom Tully cleared with an impressive kick to send the visitors back deep into their own half.

The hosts then earned an attacking scrum only to be pushed off their own ball, Tottonians cleared. Salisbury gathered a kick and ran at the hosts. Excellent support work from skipper Luke Newton sustained ended with a penalty and a kick for the corner in the 16th minute.

Salisbury continued to maintain pressure and were rewarded when flanker James Kennedy broke from a scrummage supported by fellow backrower Mike Adams who clattered his way over for a try on 18 minutes. Tom Tully converted to level the score at 7 – 7.

Salisbury continued the move the ball purposefully. Fly half Tully’s accurate distribution ignited the host’s midfield attack who made inroads but Tottonians defence held firm. Salisbury were dispossessed in a tackle which presented the visitors with an opportunity to attack, once again using their robust ball carriers to scored a converted try on 27 minutes.

With the score at 7 – 14, Salisbury were undaunted and continued to attack with ball-in-hand but errors often thwarted their ambition and they were unable to draw level before half time despite Tottonians being reduced to 14 men after a yellow card.

Salisbury started the second half positively when the they stole possession from the restart and strung together a useful series of phases which unfortunately died with a loose pass. The visitors countered and were awarded a penalty for a high tackle on 43 minutes. They kicked for the corner, broke from the lineout to score and convert, taking the score to 7 – 21.

The hosts were now under significant pressure. Loose kicking and missed tackles resulted in a further converted try for Tottonians on 46 minutes. With the score at 7 – 28, the visitors gathered the restart and played themselves into Salisbury’s half only to spill possession.Tully kicked ahead and won the chase to score in the 52nd minute but failed to convert.

Tottonians’ scrum had become dominant which severely impacted Salisbury’s ability to gain any momentum. The pressure increased when the visitors kicked ahead, were unfairly impeded by Salisbury and were awarded a penalty try. The resulting yellow card reduced Salisbury to 14 men on 59 minutes and Tottonians had stretched their lead to 12 – 35.

A further try came on 70 minutes when the visitors moved the ball wide quickly having pushed Salisbury off a defensive scrum. They didn’t convert but had established a 28-point lead. It was, however, Salisbury that had the last word. Having attacked and been awarded a penalty under the posts, they elected to run which Mike Dauwalder finished, forcing his way over in the corner in the 75th minute.

Tully added the extras and the match concluded at 19 – 40 in Tottonians favour.

Salisbury are struggling to establish a settled XV due to injuries and availability issues and will be hoping to regroup before they host London Irish Wild Geese next Saturday.