RUGBY: Budgen sets sights
MARLBOROUGH coach Chris Budgen insists the first team’s stunning season is only a small part of the vision to put the club at the centre of the community.
Budgen’s men won 19-8 at Colerne on Saturday – their 13th win from 13 Dorset & Wilts Two North matches this season – and are also through to the semi-finals of the Southern Counties Junior Vase.
Former Northampton and Exeter prop Budgen, 40, is in his first coaching role since retiring from the professional game last year and hopes to guide the Common side back into Dorset & Wilts One North at the first attempt after relegation last spring.
“The boys know for themselves that they shouldn’t be in this division but they have knuckled down hard,’’ said the Army lance corporal, who is based at Tidworth.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead and start worrying about getting promotion, but they’ve put a lot of effort in.
“We want a strong senior side and second team and the club is working together for those goals.
“A lot of people don’t realise how much history there is at the club but we want to make it a big family club that people from the town want to be involved with.’’
Budgen was pleased to see his side respond to their first real challenge of their league season as they eked out an 19-8 victory at Colerne last weekend.
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.
Marlborough have swept all before them this season, averaging just under 60 points a game in their perfect record from 13 matches.
But Budgen said: “They (Colerne) gave us a good run for our money and it brought us back down to reality a bit.
“But the team stuck it out and the character in the team was the good thing for me. They had to dig deep and come through and they did that.
“The team have been winning a lot of games by big scores and could have been thinking it was going to be easy, but Colerne gave us a very good game.’’
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 Lynd scored his second try after some more good passing.
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