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Salisbury II v Blandford
Blandford Continue to Pile on the Points
Following from Blandford's demolition of Oakmedians the previous week, Blandford travelled to fourth placed Salisbury 2nds. The two sides met previously in October at Larksmead, where Blandford were very lucky to come away with a victory against a well drilled young Salisbury side. With an eye on continuity changes to the starting XV from the previous week were limited to necessity.
The absence of number 8 James Burry and lock Chris Kerley meant a reshuffle of the Blandford pack, with Marc Ricketts shifting to 8 and Tom Richings and Stuart Bright filling the second row jerseys. In the backline fullback Tom House was welcomed back following an Achilles strain.
From the off Salisbury made their intentions clear, kicking intelligently for field position, pressuring a faltering Blandford lineout and gaining the upper had in a ferocious battle at the breakdown. A nervous ten minutes ensued, with only the cultured boot of George Drake keeping Blandford out of trouble. As the pressure built on the away side, the temptation to pressure the Salisbury 10 bubbled over, and a rather cynical late hit resulted in Salisbury setting up camp 10 metres from the Blandford line. From the resulting lineout a well worked maul was set up and Salisbury barged over to the right of the uprights. The conversion was unsuccessful.
The try was the wake up the Blandford pack required, and Blandford finally started to gain some prolonged possession in the Salisbury half. With the rampaging stand in number 8 Marc Ricketts launching off an impressive Blandford scrum several phases of play were linked together resulting in Drake stepping through for Blandford's first try.
From this point Blandford never looked back and really started to move the ball. Tries followed from Marc Ricketts, Angus Hogg (x2), Tom Richings, Sam Percy and a final try from Drake. Five of the tries were converted. Performances of note included Marc Ricketts; back to his destructive best and inside centre Ryan Boardwell, however man of the match was awarded to Drake, who gave real shape to the Blandford attack, ensuring rugby was played in the correct areas keeping pressure on a very capable Salisbury XV.
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