TROWBRIDGE gave unbeaten South West One East leaders Newbury Blues a scare on the first weekend of action in 2019 before slipping to a narrow 22-14 defeat.

James McFarland and Shai Bonnick both scored tries for Trowbridge, converted by Tom Weaver, in an even first half that ended 15-14 in the home side’s favour.

However, a Newbury converted try in the opening exchanges of the second half proved to be the difference between the sides, although Trowbridge coach Dan Jeffries still took great heart from his side’s efforts.

“It was a really good performance. We pushed them really close and were unlucky not to come away with something,” said Jeffries.

“It was a really even game and we showed our firepower, but they made a strong start to the second half and got into a strong position.

“In the last few minutes, we were pounding away at their line and missed a penalty that would gave given us a bonus point, which I’m sure not too many teams will get this season.

“Had another couple of opportunities been taken, we could have had a real upset on our hands.”

Elsewhere, Marlborough began the new year with a dominant 39-15 win at home to Wimborne.

Wimborne held the early pressure, but the hosts struck first when Jonty Kay went over the line after a scrappy sequence of play, converted by Will Grant.

Ten minutes later, Wimborne cut the gap with a penalty, but Marlborough responded quickly and MacDonald Lewis chipped wide to Rhodri Campbell, who ran to the line before Grant added the extras.

Grant stretched Marlborough’s lead further with a penalty, but a good spell of Wimborne pressure resulted in a converted try on the half-hour.

From the restart, Lewis’ kick was caught by Ben Caravou and Marlborough put themselves back on the front foot. Lemeki Moala’s surge was held up, but after a series of scrums close to the tryline, Garth Bari was able to touch down. Grant converted to put Marlborough 24-10 ahead at half-time.

Wimborne started the second half with intent and cut through Marlborough’s defence for an unconverted try.

Marlborough were able to halt the visitors’ momentum with a try off the back of a rolling maul, again converted by Grant.

A moment of magic added more points to Marlborough’s total on the hour as Ben Fulton’s perfect grubber kick allowed Caravou to dive over the whitewash.

Wimborne pushed in the final stages, but just could not break through Marlborough’s valiant defending and the hosts clinched the win through Grant’s last-minute penalty.

Royal Wootton Bassett also started the new year with a win as they triumphed 27-10 at home to Salisbury.

Chippenham suffered an agonising 42-41 defeat at home to third-placed Banbury.

The hosts could not get their hands on the ball in the early stages and Banbury scored a couple of converted tries to take a 14-0 lead.

Chippenham soon got themselves going and good hands from Charlie Quarren-Evans and Matt Dickens created a gap for the latter to score, converted by Louis Ayliffe.

Soon afterwards, a good run from Gareth Angell opened space for Tom Fogerty to sprint over as Ayliffe’s kick levelled the scores.

Chippenham continued to play quick rugby and Jacob Unwin tore through the defence before feeding Quarren-Evans to score out wide.

This stirred Banbury and two more converted tries saw them take a 28-19 lead into half-time.

Chippenham made a flying start to the second half, scoring three tries and a penalty before Banbury troubled the scoreboard again.

Unwin struck twice and Oli Alcorn also touch down, while two Ayliffe conversions and a penalty saw the hosts in control at 41-28.

With Banbury seemingly down and out, they unexpectedly galvanised themselves in the closing stages and a lineout drive rumbled over for a converted try to cut the deficit to 41-35.

The rejuvenated visitors soon mounted another attack, spreading the ball wide for another try. The conversion put them a single point ahead and there was no time left for Chippenham to muster a reply.