SOUTHERN COUNTIES JUNIOR VASE FINAL: Marlborough 17 Abingdon 0
5:26pm Monday 3rd February 2014 in Sport
MARLBOROUGH are through to the last eight of a national Vase competition for the second time in two seasons as they reached the South West Junior Vase final on Saturday.
Chris Budgen's men will travel to Gloucester side Longlevens on February 22 with a place in the semi finals of the RFU Junior Vase - one round short of a Twickenham final - at stake.
Marlborough, who reached the South West final of the Senior Vase before losing to Forest of Dean side Drybrook last season, progressed after seeing off their Oxfordshire visitors despite losing Nick Clarke and Jack Lynd to red cards on an afternoon of fluctuating weather conditions at the Common.
The game started in awful conditions, followed by an hour of sunshine as the game took place and then finished with a torrential downpour.
Both sides struggled to get any flow to the game in the first 20 minutes and a number of mistakes and breaks in play meant the early stages were scrappy.
When Marlborough did get the ball to their backs they looked dangerous, although a number of opportunities were wasted.
Eventually after 25 minutes, the Marlborough backs found some space and a good break set up by Mori Nailago led to a powerful run by Jack Lynd who was stopped just short of the line.
He was able to get a pass away to Nathan Morgan to score the first points and add the conversion.
Almost from the kick off Marlborough attacked again and Waisale Navunidaku got clear to score in almost the same position as Morgan's try.
That try went unconverted and, playing the second half down the slope, Marlborough hoped to push on for the win.
Scoring opportunities were few and far between as both sides tackled well.
Clarke however, was red-carded after an unfortunate incident as he went into the tackle. The attacker jumped into him and went up over his shoulder and, although there was no intent, the red card followed.
With Marlborough down to 14 men the game became dominated by infringements.
As tensions rose, Lynd retaliated to a punch by throwing one of his own and was also red-carded.
Down to 13 players Marlborough were still looking to move the ball and managed to score a third try with a good passing move which set up Jonny Mantle to score.
Fine tackling by man of the matches Tom Fleming and birthday boy Hugh Sutcliffe kept Abingdon as Marlborough clinched the trophy.
REACTION TO AND PICTURES FROM MARLBOROUGH'S VASE VICTORY IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD