Amber and blues dip in form continues
By Gavin Pratt
Warminster 1st XV made the trip to a wet and muddy Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday looking to regain some form after a recent slump in results has seen them slip down the Dorset an Wilts North 1 table.
Bassett were not about to do them any favours and consigned the amber and blues to their fifth defeat in seven matches by 24-12.
Immediately from the kick off Bassett got themselves on the attack and despite the conditions, were looking to spin the ball wide and stretch the Warminster defence. The amber and blues were falling off tackles with ease and the men in black were making yards at ease. Bassett’s early dominance paid dividends as they ran in two quick tries, the first coming from their impressive Fijian winger.
Warminster were finding it hard to gain a foothold in the game. When they had the ball it was coughed up with all too much regularity. Passes were going to floor and when they weren’t, eyes were taken off the ball and they were dropped. The amber and blues never once managed to get in the Bassett twenty two in the whole of the first half. A third try was added before the half-time whistle giving the Folly Lane outfit an uphill struggle going in to the break with a 17-0 deficit.
The second half started much better for the amber and blues as they looked after possession in a much controlled manner. They began to make in roads around the fringes of the ruck with second rows Connor McPherson and Dan Bowman putting their hands up to do the dirty work. With their tails up, Warminster pulled a score back when much to the surprise of all his team mates, winger Kieran Plummer managed to catch ball, although only just after a brief fumble, and went over in the corner. Fly half Jimmy Rees was unlucky with the difficult conversion.
Warminster continued to pile on the pressure, albeit much of it was in between the two 10 metre lines with the Bassett defence standing strong. A second try came for the amber and blues from number 8 Lai Vinakadina. Inside his own half and at the back of a ruck it looked as though all bases were covered in the Bassett defensive line. But Vinakadina had other ideas and spotted a gap straight through the centre of the ruck. He raced down field and under the posts for an impressive score. Scrum half Gavin Pratt took the simple conversion and Warminster were now within five points.
After getting themselves within striking distance the amber and blues were then guilty of not going for the jugular. Bassett fought back and nearly scored in the corner but for a superb covering tackle from Vinakadina who somehow managed to get across the field from a lineout on the other side. With just 5 minutes left Bassett sealed the game with a fourth try. The final score was 24-12.
The amber and blues will be disappointed with this defeat against a team below them in the table. On the day though Bassett were simply the better side. Warminster can take heart with how they came out in the second half but they left themselves all too much to do. Vinakadina was at times a one man wrecking ball in a standout performance, which without, the score could’ve been even worse.
The amber and blues will look to strike back next week and put on a better show in front of a Vice Presidents crowd. A double header at home sees the 1st XV facing Chippenham II and the 2nd XV taking on Melksham III’s.