Salisbury (8) vs. Grove (57)
Grove achieve a handsome win against Salisbury but it took a long time a-coming.
The opening exchanges were generally dominated by Salisbury who kept Grove under pressure whilst not really looking like scoring. Both sides were making too many mistakes with Grove in particular delivering a number of poor passes. On 15 minutes wing Guy Nicholl had to leave the field with a head injury, being temporarily replaced by Huw Lewis. Gradually though Grove were now starting to get the upper hand with new signing Cashiel Chivers, playing at prop, standing out in both the scrums and in the loose. Grove now began stringing some good attacking moves together but still the home defences could not be breached until suddenly No. 8 Ben Nicholl gathered and with a strong solo run at the Salisbury line and with a defender hanging on to his shirt tail, persisted in his attack until able to touchdown for the game's first try. Full back Roger Sevier's conversion taking Grove into a 0 : 7 lead having played some 30 minutes of rugby. Undaunted, Salisbury came back immediately with a lofty kick and with the catch being fumbled by Grove, Salisbury stole and spun the ball very quickly across their back line for their winger to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try and the score moved to 5 : 7. Grove then advanced into Salisbury territory but scrum half Dave Maryon was yellow carded for offside and Grove were down to 14 men. Roger Sevier moved to scrum half leaving the full back position vacant. Then with fly half Dave Johnson being held back by his shirt after kicking the ball through the Salisbury defence, advantage was rightly played and centre Tom Clipsham raced through to pick up and score a well-earned try, converted by Sevier for 5 : 14. Next Grove lost flanker Matt Young to a yellow card, penalised for breaking his binding. Salisbury elected to kick and the score moved to 8 : 14 and Grove were down to 13 men. Nevertheless Grove forced their way back upfield and were awarded a penalty which Sevier just failed to convert. With Salisbury moving back into Grove territory the referee then made a complete blunder which almost cost Grove a try. Following a line out, which was won by Salisbury, the referee blew his whistle causing all of the Grove defenders to naturally stop playing but then signalled 'play on' and the in-possession Salisbury back line made straight for Grove's try line with Grove’s defence literally caught completely flat-footed. In desperation Guy Nicholl felled the ball carrying Salisbury attacker to save the try and was yellow carded for his actions. With the Grove captain complaining vociferously about the refereeing actions Grove were now down to 12 men. Thankfully for Grove half time was then called.
The second half started with lock Richard Haire leaping high to superbly catch the kick off ball, only to be tackled in the air, feet well off the ground, turned over and dropped. With everyone expecting to see a red card for Salisbury only a penalty was awarded. Maryon now returned to play and Grove began to attack seriously through Johnson, flanker Rory Gratwohl and Chivers in particular although both he and centre Nick Sevier were the subject of suspiciously high tackles that went unpunished. The Grove pressure was now mounting significantly and it was wing Harry Carr who, taking the ball in the middle of the park, shot over to touch down between the posts for Roger Sevier to convert and put Grove into a commanding 8 : 21 lead. Immediately Ben Nicholl lead the next attack with lock Paul Miles and Chivers again in pursuit. The ball was passed wide to Nick Sevier who went over in the corner for Grove’s bonus point try. The conversion was missed but Grove were now out of sight at 8 : 26. From the restart Carr delivered one of his now famous interceptions and ran half the length of the field to touch down in the corner for his second try of the day and Grove went 8 : 31 up. Grove came back to full strength with the return of Guy Nicholl and Simon Peel who replaced Matt Young and the flood gates now began to open. Firstly an all-out attack saw the Grove forwards power their way over the Salisbury line and Ben Nicholl touched down for his second try of the day for 8 : 36. This was followed very quickly by Tom Clipsham collecting his second try of the day in the corner and Roger Sevier’s difficult conversion took the visitors to 8 : 43. Steve Dixey was replaced at hooker by Jimmy Wallbridge and Huw Lewis came on for Dave Johnson. Despite a couple of clever and evasive attacks by the Salisbury outside centre it was Carr who completed his hat trick, wriggling his way to the corner, for the next try and Sevier’s touchline conversion took Grove to the half century mark at 8 : 50. Johnson returned for the now hobbling Nick Sevier. Tom Clipsham then completed his hat trick for the day and again Sevier smashed over the conversion from the touchline for 8 : 57 to end the match and save Salisbury further punishment.
Grove team :-
James Eckert (Capt), Steve Dixey, Cashiel Chivers, Paul Miles, Richard Haire, Rory Gratwohl, Ben Nicholl, Matt Young, Dave Maryon, Dave Johnson, Tom Clipsham, Nick Sevier, Harry Carr, Guy Nicholl, Roger Sevier.
Huw Lewis, Jimmy Wallbridge, Simon Peel.