Match Report
Sherborne School Boys-U15A vs  Marlborough College
On: Saturday, 12 Nov 2022
Venue: at Home

Sherborne 27

Marlborough 20

Tries: Ben L, Albi R, Henry M, Jake B

Cons: Edwin L 2

Pen: Edwin L

The Junior Colts A XV finally broke their duck for the 2022 season with victory against Marlborough on Saturday, as a dominant second half performance held off our visitors in lovely autumnal sunshine.

In a cracking contest, to which both sides contributed heartily, it was Sherborne who scored first as they absorbed some early Marlborough pressure before Ben L's opportunistic strike capitalised on a fine clearance kick from Albi R. Edwin L added the extras and Sherborne were 7 points to the good. Nonetheless, the away side hit straight back as, aided and abetted by some unforced errors both with the ball and without it, they scored two tries in quick succession. When Marlborough then kicked a penalty goal, the 10-point margin should, perhaps, have been insurmountable - especially as the Sherborne boys haven't always enjoyed the best of fortunes this term. Nonetheless, the light blue response was excellent: a passage of sustained ferocity, in which Arlo F and Charlie W were massively prominent, drove them closer to the try line before slick handling put Albi R over for an excellent score in the corner on the stroke of the interval.

So the sides turned around with Sherborne 5 points in arrears, and it was evident that the next try would be crucial. From the kick-off, Albi R returned the ball with interest and Henry M provided the finishing touch from close range. With Edwin L conversion, Sherborne had a 2-point lead, but only briefly as Marlborough struck back with a penalty. Edwin L replied in kind to re-establish the home side's lead, before Jake B crashed over from short range, after a scything break from Jem L, to take Sherborne out to a 7-point margin which they were never to surrender.

The result aside, this was a much-improved performance from Sherborne in which forward carrying power was harnessed much more coherently to the pace and dancing feet of the outside backs. Much of this fluency centred around the debutant Stanley H in the midfield, who carried and distributed with a mix of aplomb and calm good sense. Meanwhile, the back three revelled in the space to run which was afforded them by Marlborough's strange tactical decision to kick away so much possession. Ultimately, though, this was a game won by character and commitment: it would have been easy to fold when the away side was extending its lead, or for the trickle of errors to become a flood. That neither of these things happened is a great credit to the boys and means that this first win of the season was richly deserved. Let's hope they can continue their form into the next match - at home to Cheltenham - in a fortnight's time.

Man of the Match: Edwin L - always a threat with ball in hand and some vital points off the kicking tee.