Calne Rugby hosted Spartans RFC (Gloucester) in the SW Junior Vase Final with the winner progressing to the nation semi finals. Calne (sponsored by Bevirs Solicitors) applied the early pressure and spent a lot of time in the opponents half but came up against a resolute Spartans defence who kept the home side from scoring. Both teams missed early penalties and they both looked to draw first blood.
The opening try would come from the visitors who used their backs to good effect to score a converted try.
The first half continued to be evenly contested but Calne had the advantage in the scrums with Dave Evans, Pete Brownlie and Martin McCafferty dominating proceedings.
Calne attacked with purpose from the restart with Dan Treacy and Brian Hopkins looking for gaps in the determined Spartans defensive line.
However, Calne would be the next team to score. From a messy line out, Alan Wicks came through and dropped on the ball and the ball and play was spread from one side of the pitch to the other with the backs showing their flair. Centre Adam Young gave a very unselfish pass to his fellow centre, Marcus Turner who scored a converted try to draw level at 7-7.
The visitors attacked from the restart and on the Calne twenty-two a penalty was awarded after Alan Wicks failed to intercept a promising Spartans attack. A penalty was awarded to put the visitors back in front 7-10.
This gave Spartans a lift and they scored again just before half time due to some slack defence. The half time whistle sounded with Spartans RFC in front 7-17 but Calne were still well in the game
From the second half the visitors came out fast from the blocks and exploited gaps in the Calne defence. A quick try from a great backs move opened the floodgates which the valiant Calne couldn’t close.
To their credit Calne continued to be competitive but were unable to register points to get themselves back into contention. The final whistle ended and Spartans RFC from Gloucester were crowned SW Junior Vase winner 7-50.
Captain Tom Morten was proud of his teams cup run and commented: Spartans are a very good team and beat us fair and square. However, the score didn’t reflect how closely contested the match was! We have won two trophies this season (Dorset & Wilts & Southern Counties Junior Vase’s) so we have had a very successful season. We will not look to have a strong finish to the season and start preparing for the 2017-18 campaign.
Player Coach Alan Wicks added, We may have lost the match but there were some solid individual performances today. Mark Webber put in another great performance and Matt Kelly and Dave Evans were fantastic at the breakdown. Pete Brownlie, Craig Harkess and Keith Bradley did a lot of great work, it just wasn’t our day and our cup run has ended, but it was great fun while it lasted!
Chairman Chris Austin commented: ” Today was a great day for Calne Rugby and indeed the whole town. Our cup run has generated a great deal of local interest and has put Calne on the map. We have had a few enquiries from young people looking to play rugby as a result of our success, which is what its all about!
A very special thank you must go out to Calne Recreation Club who went out of their way to support the rugby club and provided a marquee (at their expense) for both sets of players and fans to have food and watch the 6 Nations game afterwards. Supporting clubs at grass roots level is vital to the success of any club and encouraging people to play sport is certainly in the spotlight at the moment..
Calne Rugby would like to congratulate Spartans RFC on their success and wish them all the luck in the next round which will be the National Vase Semi final. They were simply the better team on the day.