VISITING Witney emerged victorious from a real slog of a game played in murky conditions between two evenly matched sides, writes Neil Tonge.

Salisbury welcomed back James Bagguley at outside half, and he turned in a good performance with a wet and slippery ball which promises good things to come.

After some thrusts by both sides Salisbury came close to driving over for the first score but were held up just short of the line on two occasions. Witney then opened the scoring when a speculative cross kick was gathered on the left wing and then three sharp passes saw the home defence unlocked.

Bagguley struck back with a penalty.

The visitors struck again with another well rehearsed backs move and then shortly before half time let their forwards take charge to score again for a 19-3 half time lead.

Salisbury made a poor start to the second half losing two forwards to the bin and being punished by two penalties, before surging back into the game thanks to a gargantuan effort from the forwards led by skipper Josh Green.

A driving maul sent Chris Beaumont over with a quarter of the game to play and then another drive saw Beaumont emerge with the ball from a pile of bodies.

Bagguley kicked the conversion to reduce the gap to 10 points.

However, Witney closed the game out efficiently and added a pushover at the death for a bonus point win 15-32.

This was not the result Salisbury wanted or needed but there were encouraging signs as the back line, with Callum Mactaggart outstanding.

He produced seeds of brilliance that will surely sprout as the ground dries in the drier weather.

The result leaves Salisbury seventh in the table and this weekend they travel to Wiltshire rivals Swindon, who are 12th.

When the sides met earlier in the season Salisbury won 45-27.