SALISBURY RFC opened their season at Marlow and Neil Loader handed debuts to a number of young players as his side came out 26-19 winners.

The visitors started brightly and scored through centre Jack Sheldrake in his first two minutes of senior rugby. Matt Loader stretched the lead with a penalty.

Salisbury looked very composed and, with halfback pairing Dave Tonge and Loader pulling the strings, should have stretched away but lapses in concentration let the home side back into the game with two tries. Winger Dan Hammond finished off a move to restore the city sides lead but again drifted behind to a converted try. Josh Green in his second spell of captaincy scored on the stroke of half time and a Loader conversion saw the sides change ends 20-19 to the good.

After the break Salisbury took control and dominated possession and territory but lacked the composure to turn it into tries, a brace of penalties from Loader seeing the city side home and dry 26-19.

Skipper Green said: “We had a lot of boys out there with under 10 caps but we looked very composed. Matty Loader and Jack Sheldrake were outstanding. We let them back into the game in the first half and should have scored more in the second. In the end it was good to get a win on the road, there were plenty of positives but there is also plenty to work on.”

Veteran scrum half Tonge added: “First half we had momentum but they fed off of our scraps, in the second we didn’t give them a sniff. Most of this side is under twenty five. Matty (Loader) was our stand-out player but Rob Larcombe put in a notable performance on touch judge duty.”

Salisbury United, formerly known as the second team beat Trowbridge II by 40 points to 14.

A commanding 20 minutes by Salisbury’s pack saw the United XV pull away from their Trowbridge opponents to record a 40-14 victory. Tries from Mike Dauwalder and two from Jon Bird were just reward at half time before a sluggish third quarter let their opponents close to within 5 points, before debutants Jeff Watt, with a brace, and Chris Stable steadied the ship with further scores; Stable adding five conversions and Salisbury A XV (formerly known as the thirds) won 22-14 against Trowbridge III XV.

The first teams next game at home is against Old Centralians on Saturday, September 9, as well as the A XV team who are at home to Dinton.

While United XV are away to Dorset Dockers.