MARLBOROUGH closed in on county rivals Trowbridge in second place in Southern Counties South as they squeezed out their hosts 20-16 at Doric Park on Saturday.

The Common side are now three points behind Trowbridge and have a game in hand as they took the early initiative.

Marlborough scrum-half Will Grant passed out to the in-form Amori Nailago, who then dummied and then looped around his centres to put in Jack King on a superb line to cut through the defence to score under the posts. Grant added the conversion.

Trowbridge came back into the game with a couple of penalties from Tom Weaver but the away side's response was to use their fast three-quarters.

One such break by Joeli Radovu put him clear and he fed Mitieli Vulikijapani to score another try in the corner for a 12-6 half-time lead.

The second half saw both sides score a penalty a piece early on, before Radovu made another break down the right wing to score.

Again Trowbridge replied with a try of their own through Henry Turner, but Marlborough held on to secure the four points.

Trowbridge head coach Dan Jeffries said: "We were disappointed with our start and a yellow card and injuries in our backs meant we were very disjointed and Marlborough took advantage.

"We spent the last 15 minutes pounding away at their line but we just weren't sharp enough.''

Corsham are level on points with third-placed Marlborough after they put a weakened Devizes to the sword 55-12 at Lacock Road.

The home side amassed nine tries, with Nathan Todd and Alex Bilton bagging a pair apiece.

Liam Snape, Kalif Barnes, Robbie Robinson, Kyran Broughton and Adam Jamieson also crossed, with Matt Draper twice and Kalif Barnes with three, added the conversions.

Devizes, who had more than 30 players unavailable, responded with tries from Craig Bryant and Charlie Paget, Rory Brown adding a conversion.

Corsham head coach Tim Draper said: "It was a great result for us to finish 2017 and to be in joint third position at the halfway point of the season is a great achievement on our return to Southern Counties.

"The confidence of the team to play the the type of rugby it wants to is growing. The guys produced a full 80-minute performance this week and the score reflected that.