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Home > News > Witney 27 - Marlow 8
Your News Witney 27 - Marlow 8

The visitors finished fourth in this League last season and so Witney knew this

would be a tough test but they had nothing to lose but few could have predicted

the final scoreline. Five tries were scored and after a nervous first 15

minutes, the lads really knuckled down and all 18 players did themselves and the

club proud. There will be tougher tests to come for sure but this was a fine

effort from all involved and shows the hard work pre-season really paid off.

The opening ten minutes showed Marlow dominate territorially and even though

possession was fairly even it was the visitors that made the impression as James

Lamb and his team struggled to get out of their 22. No scoring chances came but

the initial intensity was something they had to get used to soon. Marlows fly

half slotted a penalty to open the scoring and that was a fair reflection of the

early exchanges. This kick started Witney into gear and they started making

inroads into the visitors half and strong running from the forwards with Jez

Hicks and Tim Muller working hard and Carl Campbell being everywhere as usual.

Crucially, the set pieces were going well with Sam Collins finding his jumpers

right from the off and on Marlow€™s throw, they often found themselves under

pressure. The scrums were going well too with Alan Richens and Mark Fuller both

gradually getting on top of their larger opposite numbers. With big Joe Rowles

showing up well at the base of the Witney scrum, the forwards were really

starting to find their feet. That said, Marlows driving mauls looked impressive

and sent alarm bells out but most of their best work was in their own half and

so was not a real threat. Witneys pressure saw the visitors give away a penalty

but Henry Lamb failed to convert as he hit the post and this was an area which a

school report would read €œcould do better€.

Witney still looked nervous in some of their play and some moves were being

forced but their nerves were soon settled with the opening try of the match.

With the play sweeping left, scrum half Gareth Campbell changed direction and

broke right and fed winger James Monks. With winger and full back to beat, the

there was still a lot to do but he €œbounced€ first the winger and then the last

line of defence to score the first try for Witney in this League. Henry Lambs

sweetly struck conversation from out wide missed by inches but the match was now

really up for grabs and so the crowd started to buzz.

For the next 15 minutes, Witney played some good rugby and enjoyed most of the

best rugby played. Phil Gouldie showed some fine skills to collect his own chip

ahead but Marlow regrouped and snuffed out the threat. Skipper James Lamb looked

hungry in the tackle and his team followed his example. All this pressure failed

to materialise into points though and Marlow broke downfield in the closing

minutes of the half. This time they got their driving maul moving where it

mattered most in the Witney 22 and slowly crept towards the line. The score

seemed inevitable and so it proved as they crossed the line to take the lead,

the conversion being pulled and the interval was looming with the score at 5-8.

Witney had one last chance and put the pressure on from the kick off. Marlows

second row was yellow carded for killing the ball and most of the watching

Hailey Road faithful expected a kick for posts. James Lamb elected to go for the

try and the forwards drove forward, the ball was recycled quickly and Carl

Campbell broke blind, drew the defence and released brother Gareth Campbell who

scampered over. The conversion was missed but the lead had been regained and

with the visitors down a man, Witney knew they needed to take advantage.

A team talk from coaches, Phil Harper and John Campbell, made sure the lads

stayed focussed at the break and returned with a vengeance in the second period.

Jez Hicks and Carl Campbell put pressure on from the kick off and a lovely nudge

forward from James Lamb saw Marlow under huge pressure five metres out. The

momentum was all with Witney and the pressure started to show with a number of

Marlow players picking up knocks. Fair play to them though, they kept the home

side out and all Witney could muster was a missed penalty from their efforts.

The visitors 15th man returned but Witney had gained momentum and the score came

thanks to a sublime pass from fly half Henry Lamb who hit Phil Gouldie on a

great line and he scampered over for a super try, this time Henry Lamb did add

the conversion and Witney were 17-8 up and in the driving seat. The forwards

were now really enjoying themselves with Marc Copperwheat making some great

ground and despite some wrong options and rushed passes, the territory was all

Witney. The visitors began to get on the wrong side of the referee and their

frustration just handed more impetus to the home side.

A fourth try came from concerted pressure and good team play. Winger Aaron

Lambourne made some good ground and Joe Rowles became more influential before

the backs were again released. Some neat passing saw Carl Strutt score out wide

and despite the missed conversion from Garath Campbell, Witney were now two

scores up. Marlow started to come back with their 12 and 15 both finding holes

and only good cover defence saw any half chance snuffled out. The final score

came from more concerted Witney pressure and another fine flat pass saw Gouldie

run through for his second score and the match was now over as a contest.

The final ten minutes saw replacements Robbie Richardson, Owen Fowler and Robbie

Mills all heavily involved. Marlow gave their all but the Witney determination

in defence was typified by second row Marc Copperwheat who took out the Marlow

winger with a covering tackle and the final whistle sounded to leave Witney


1st XV

Gouldie, Lambourne, *Lamb(J), Strutt, Monks, Lamb(H), Campbell(G): Fuller,

Collins(S), Richens, Hicks(J), Copperwheat(M), Muller, Campbell(C), Rowles

Repl: Fowler(Muller-55), Richardson(Fuller-65), Mills(Lambourne-70)


Great start, some nerves for sure and some wrong options but when the lads found

the intensity they needed, they really did themselves proud. The visitors were

hunting in two€™s and three€™s but Witney had four or five players at each

breakdown and that proved crucial as they turned their visitors over on a number

of occasion due to that. The commitment was excellent and with a number of

players missing, the players showed the coaches that they want to be the team

who are there to be shot at. Lets not get carried away though, it was a great

start but every match in this League will require this effort and while we got

away with the missed 14 points from the boot this week, in future matches, this

could prove crucial.

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