Bittersweet victory for Wootton Bassett as injuries mount up
ROYAL Wootton Bassett battled to a 33-31 victory at Wallingford on Saturday despite adding to their extensive injury list.
The Ballards Ash side now have 14 first-team players sidelined after Jon Clarke broke his arm and Grant Murdoch sustained a serious gash in the Southern Counties North clash.
Alan Low’s troops made the worst possible start as a wayward pass allowed a Wallingford player to intercept and run in to score within 20 seconds.
However, a strong period of possession eventually led to the visitors getting their first try courtesy of Tucker Blinkhorn.
Matters got even better as further tries from Danny Randell and Adam Rumble, with Dave Hogg kicking a conversion to send Bassett into the break 17-10 ahead.
The extent of Bassett’s injury crisis was shown in the second period when Low and coaches Dave Floyd and Alex Norcross pulled on a black shirt and played their part in a determined display.
Although the visitors’ defence was penetrated on a number of occasions as they leaked 21 points, two tries from Karl Brant and a conversion from Hogg secured victory.
Elsewhere in the division, Swindon College Old Boys were well-beaten 69-15 by Milton Keynes.
Meanwhile, a rapid hat-trick of tries from winger Ellis Garland got Minety off to a flying start as they demolished hosts Supermarine 38-5 in Dorset & Wilts 1 North.
Garland twice beat several men and sped in for tries before the game was six minutes old.
Later in the half, Supermarine spilled possession on halfway and Minety hacked forward, allowing Garland to scoop up on the 22 and complete his hat-trick.
The home side rallied after the break and went over for a try 10 minutes into the half, but that was all they could manage.
Minety responded with a try from number eight Jack Ward after taking a quick tap penalty from short range.
Try number five came when outside-centre Tim Vaughan created an overlap for Dale Langdown, who sprinted the final 10 metres to cross the line.
The visiting pack created the final score when they drove deep into Supermarine’s 22 before releasing it to the backs and fly-half Phil Stephens finished the job.
Luke Radcliffe finished the afternoon with four conversions.
Meanwhile, Minety’s second string were beaten 17-7 at Combe Down in Dorset & Wilts 3 North.
The match was overshadowed by a second-half injury suffered by visiting fly-half Andy Edwards as he fractured his neck in two places.
Minety’s only try came courtesy of Josh Bagshawe, which was converted by Nick Jones.
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