Grove (107) vs Salisbury (7)
Grove smash Salisbury, move to 4th place and achieve the highest winning score of the season in South West 1 (East).
Grove totally demolished basement boys Salisbury for the second time this season, running in 17 trys with 11 conversions, from a variety of kickers.
The entire match was virtually all one way traffic with Grove rampant from the start. Despite some initial handling errors the home side were soon on the scoreboard with centre Tom Clipsham touching down in the corner for an unconverted try after 4 minutes. Salisbury hit back well and came close to scoring but for a forward pass. Grove immediately advanced back into Salisbury territory and their next try was truly scintillating when wing Guy Nicholl sliced through the defence like a 'knife through butter' running at an acute angle and touching down between the posts. Nicholl also converted for 12 : 0.
Despite a long kick out of defence by Salisbury it was centre Nick Sevier who picked up and scored next for Grove with a fine ‘show and go’ run to the corner. With the conversion missed the score moved to 17 : 0.
No 8. Rory Gratwohl then came close to scoring for Grove but the ball was knocked forwards. To make matters worse for Salisbury they then received a yellow card for ‘holding on’. Grove elected not to kick for points and went for a scrummage instead but this did not immediately result in any points although only moments later Nicholl collected, handed off and went over for his second and Grove’s bonus point try, again between the posts. Nicholl himself converted for 24 : 0 with 31 minutes gone.
Lock Simon Peel and flanker Dave Wells lead the next Grove attack, supported well by prop Cash Chivers but it was Nicholl who took the final ball to cross for his ‘hat trick’ try and Grove were 29 : 0 in front, the conversion attempt rebounding off the upright.
Captain James Eckert, today playing in the second row, plucked the restart kick beautifully from the air to feed flanker Matt Young who had a good run before bringing the backs into play. The move ended with a Salisbury line out but Eckert, standing at the back of the line, correctly anticipated the long throw and stole from his opposite number to enable his dive over the line and Grove were 34 : 0 up. Nick Sevier successfully converted for 36 : 0.
Salisbury hit back strongly and Wells received a yellow card near the Grove try line. A penalty to Grove allowed them to escape temporarily but poor handling again let them down and with Eckert then receiving a yellow card the hosts were down to 13 men. Taking immediate advantage, Salisbury created and beautifully exploited an overlap and were on the board with a converted try for 36 : 7, half time then being called.
Despite the numbers deficit Grove restarted very strongly and with Nicholl and Clipsham inter-passing really well it was Clipsham who touched down for his second try, also converted by Nick Sevier, to take the score to 43 : 7. It was Sevier who lead the next big Grove attack but this ended with a knock-on. Salisbury came back hard, advancing into Grove territory but with just one man to beat they dropped the ball and Grove stormed back only for Salisbury to deliberately knock the ball forward from a Grove attacker’s hands. Wells returned to the fray but it was Gratwohl who smashed his way over for Grove’s next try and with Sevier again converting the tally moved to 50 : 7. Clipsham then came close, just stepping on the touch line, after another exhilarating piece of interplay between himself and Nicholl. Following the line out Wells picked up and almost made it over the line before getting the ball to Cash Chivers who bulldozed his way over for Grove’s ninth try. Sevier’s conversion made it 57 : 7.
Peel and Wells now attacked strongly and got the ball to Nicholl who looked to be in for another score but who unfortunately spilled the ball before doing so. Grove turned the resultant scrum through 90⁰ and followed this with a tapped penalty from which wing Conor Bant received to sprint over for a try in the corner. The conversion missed, the score moved to 62 : 7. Hooker Steve Dixey was prominent in the next move but it was Salisbury’s No. 11 who impressed with a good counter attack before Clipsham was able to fly hack a loose ball back into Salisbury territory. Following up and collecting a favourable bounce, the Grove centre had no trouble running in his own hat trick try, this time converted by full back Henry Day for 69 : 7.
Dixey, Cash Chivers and Conor Bant were now replaced by Pat Wiltshire, Martyn Walsh and Josh Allen respectively. Gratwohl broke into the Salisbury 22 metre area and prop Jimmy Walbridge’s attack lead to Wiltshire diving over for yet another Grove try. The score thus moved to 74 : 7, the conversion attempt from fly half Dave Johnson missing. Grove were not satisfied and it was Day who next came close following a strong burst from Clipsham, Nicholl and Sevier. With Day being stopped just short, scrum half Joe Chivers picked up and dived over. Day’s conversion made it 81 : 7. The irrepressible Guy Nicholl now ended another big Grove attack with his 4th try of the day and Day’s conversion hit the upright but still went over to make it 88 : 7.
Now looking for a 1st team scoring record Henry Day was the next to cross the whitewash and Nick Sevier’s conversion made it 95 : 7. 100 points was reached when Nicholl stormed over for his 5th try of the day and Sevier’s conversion took it to 102 : 7. Wrongly thinking they had not yet reached the 100 mark Grove now went into super speed mode and really stepped up the pressure with Joe Chivers darting over between the posts. The scorer then missed his hastily taken drop kick conversion attempt but the score had reached 107 : 7 and the 1st team scoring record had been achieved along with the highest winning score in the league this season.
A phenomenal performance from a highly motivated and skilful team!
Grove team :-
Cash Chivers, Steve Dixey, Jimmy Wallbridge, Simon Peel, James Eckert (C), Dave Wells, Rory Gratwohl, Matt Young, Guy Nicholl, Joe Chivers. Dave Johnson, Nick Sevier, Tom Clipsham, Conor Bant.
Pat Wiltshire, Martyn Walsh, Josh Allen.