Calne Rugby travelled to undefeated league leader Sutton Benger RFC looking to secure a win which would see them claim top spot in Dorset & Wilts 2 North.
It was a frantic start to the game with both teams looking to test each others defence and look for openings to get the first score. Bengers larger pack were dominated at the scrum with Calne’s front row consisting of Pete Brownlie, Dave Evans (hooker) and Shane McCafferty having much their own way throughout the match.
The game continued to be hotly contested with some big tackles from both sides. Flanker Chris McAlonan made some fantastic breaks and tackled everything that moved and Marcus Turner and Adam Young would in support to make inroads into the Benger twenty-two. A penalty was then awarded to Calne and Rhys Taylor slotted between the uprights to make it 0-3 to the visitors.
From the restart, Sutton Benger went on the attack but some resolute defending from full back Mark Webber and the returning Nick Titcombe thwarted the Benger attack. However, the home side were now putting the pressure on and were rewarded after a missed tackled allowed Benger to score a try under the posts which they duly converted to take the lead 7-3.
From the restart Calne attacked with renewed urgency and winger Iffy broke through the defensive line and second row Dan Oakford supported well to charge his way towards the Benger try line. The home side defended well but a scrum was awarded to Calne five metres from the try line. After another dominant scrum Calne’s number 8 Alan Wicks controlled the ball well at the back of a quickly advancing scrum to drive over to score an unconverted try to make it 7-8 at half time.
Sutton Benger started the second half well and looked to gain territory with the boot. With Calne under pressure a penalty was awarded to give the home side the lead, which they gladly took. 10-8
Benger attacked from the restart but Calne stood strong under pressure under another penalty was awarded which made it 13-8.
The visitors then stepped up another level as they looked to score a try to secure victory. In his first game as captain, Brian Hopkins put in a man of the match performance as he lead by example in defence and attack. Keith Bradley continued to be secure at the lineout and worked hard in defence Calne continued to look for openings. Tom Morten then replaced Alan Wicks at number 8 and was unlucky to be adjudged as held up as he crashed over the line. But the visitors had the momentum and after a break from Brian Hopkins, Rhys Taylor, Marcus Turner and Adam Young were in support to set up Chris Addinell who cut a great line (from the 10 metre line) to outpace the fullback to score and make it level at 13-13. Rhys Taylor stepped up to coolly convert to make it 13-15 to Calne.
There was still time for Benger to respond and they attacked with urgency, but it was the visitors Calne who continued to tackle well and secure a well-deserved, hard fought win. Calne are now top of the league after inflicting the first defeat to a spirited and tough Sutton Benger team.