MARLBOROUGH were given their toughest examination of the league season to date as they eked out victory at Colerne.

Depleted due to injuries the runaway league leaders featured several players out of position including skipper Jonny Mantle, who played in the centre and Tom Regan at scrum-half.

A scrappy game saw Colerne take advantage of the visitors’ tendency to give up early penalties to kick themselves into a 3-0 lead.

Strong running by Mantle and stand-in number eight Jack Lynd allowed Regan to score the opening try of the game.

Colerne nearly responded with an interception, but Laurence Baker tracked back 70 yards to tackle and dispossess his opponent to keep Marlborough in the lead at the interval.

Marlborough were disrupted in the second period by injuries and a couple of sin-binnings.

With Will Grant now directing proceedings at scrum-half, ruck ball was moved out to Regan on the wing and his inside pass set up Mantle to score.

Colerne responded with a try to trail 14-8 with five minutes remaining.

But any threat of a home comeback was snuffed out as Lyndscored his second try after some more good passing.