In perfect conditions, Salisbury’s Colts hosted Marlborough for the semi-final of the Dorset & Wiltshire Colts (U19) Cup on Sunday.

This proved to be a dramatic encounter which could have gone either way but was determined a by a single try in the dying minutes to give the hosts a narrow 7-3 victory.

Marlborough started strongly and placed the hosts under intense pressure for much of the first quarter.

Salisbury Journal: Action from Salisbury Colts' cup semi-final against Marlborough

Too often nerves got the better of Salisbury as they attempted to play their way out of trouble.

The visitors exploited several handling errors and used their greater physical presence to sustain pressure.

Despite this, the Salisbury’s defence held firm thanks to some courageous tacking in midfield.

Salisbury began to grow in confidence during the second quarter.

Will Barnard at flyhalf frequently broke first-up tackles and Malachi Rabuli generated much needed momentum from the centre.

They began to exploit space out wide with greater pace to counter Marlborough’s direct and physical approach but struggled to decisively break through.

Salisbury Journal: James Kennedy stretches to score Salisbury's second try

Marlborough were able to relieve pressure on 25 minutes with a penalty and continued to attack.

A further penalty gave them an attacking lineout from which they attempted to muscle their way over but were held up over the line by the hosts.

In the latter stages of the half Salisbury attacked from a scrum just inside the visitor’s half.

A clever switch exposed the greater space but Marlborough’s scramble defence stopped them short of the line.

The visitors were eventually awarded a penalty, cleared their lines and the half ended with no score from either side.

A surprising position given the tempo at which the match was being played.

Salisbury started the second half strongly. Early nerves had disappeared and they were playing with confidence and pace.

They stretched the visitor’s defence during the early stages, Tai Caqusau moved possession quickly at scrumhalf and Barnard kept Salisbury on the front foot.

However, the visitor’s robust defence held.

Salisbury missed a kick at goal on 45 minutes and once again momentum then shifted in favour of Marlborough.

The visitors used their strong ball carriers to great effect eventually earning themselves a kickable penalty.

They took the points and entered the last 15 minutes with a three-point lead. Tension built towards the closing stages which affected Salisbury’s composure.

With numerous errors and turnovers, another score seemed unlikely. Then with a few minutes remaining, Rabuli broke form inside his own half and evaded several tacklers to score.

Barnard added the extras and Salisbury secured a remarkable 7–3 cup semi-final win.

The final will be played against Oldfield Colts on April 14.