04:44PM, Monday 17 February 2020
Marlow RFC 11-10 Aylesbury RFC
Marlow RFC kept up their challenge for a a play-off place after edging out Aylesbury 11-10 at Riverwoods this weekend.
In difficult conditions the home side were buffeted by both their opponents and Storm Dennis as they claimed revenge for a loss to the same opponents earlier in the season.
The home side were keen to gain field position in the early phases, and a kick to touch down in their opponents’ 22 gave them a chance to threaten the Aylesbury line.
A strong maul off the resulting lineout took the home side to within metres of the try line and captain Hugo Jafari showed his strength to power over from close range.
Marlow capitalised again later in the half when they won a penalty deep in Aylesbury territory. This time Freddie Lewis managed to convert, despite the swirling winds, to make it 8-0.
Head coach Rory Greenslade-Jones was forced into a re-think and change of strategy when Alex Spicer was yellow carded and Lewis forced off by injury. But, with Chris Clarke stepping in at number nine, they managed to hold off their visitors until just before the break, when a converted try made it 8-7.
With the wind now against them, Marlow initially struggled to get out of their own 22. And, an infringement at the breakdown, saw Aylesbury slot what looked like being a winning penalty to make it 8-10.
However, with Spicer back on the field Marlow looked re-energised and were starting to get the ball in the right areas of the field. Hugo Jafari drove into the Aylesbury 22 and, on several occasions the home side were held up on the try line. A knock on after several phases appeared to end their chances of victory.
But, big carries from Spicer and man-of-the-match Ben Smith saw the home side continue to pummel the Aylesbury backline, who eventually gave away another penalty.
With minutes remaining up stepped the coolest man at Riverwoods, Christian Witney, who slotted a penalty kick in very difficult conditions to make it 11-10.
Victory took the side up to fourth in the table ahead of their next game at Bicester on Saturday week (February 29).
Ben Smith was named man of the match after a majestic display leading the line. Meanwhile at the top end of the table, ever improving Reading ended Witney’s unbeaten run with a 10-5 victory.
Marlow’s second team inflicted more pain on Witney with an 18-7 victory against their third team. Next up they play Farringdon in two week’s time.
A depleted Marlow 3rds suffered a difficult afternoon as they went down 32-0 at Wallingford 2nds.
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