MARLBOROUGH moved off the bottom of South West One East following a 20-19 victory away at Witney last weekend.

Following last-minute illnesses and a lack of fuel to allow some players to travel, a patchwork squad of 18 arrived in Oxfordshire to battle away for the club’s third win from their first four games.

It was not plain sailing for the Common side though, with the first half featuring a number of errors and missed opportunities.

This was perhaps summed up when Marlborough saw a disallowed try turn into a score for Witney up the other end after half an hour.

The only positive for the Wiltshire side was that their Oxfordshire counterparts had only nudged ahead by seven points at the break.

The second half started a little more brightly for Marlborough with a well-taken individual try from fly-half Aaron James which was then converted by Jake Williams.

Williams put a further three points on the board for Marlborough via a penalty in the 50th minute.

However, Marlborough’s defensive frailties soon returned, allowing Witney to score a rather soft converted try a few minutes later.

In an extraordinary run of events, Marlborough had four tries disallowed before eventually scoring a legitimate try in the 60th minute.

Isikeli Bainivalumailepanoni (Bai) finished off a well-worked backs move, and Williams slotted the conversion.

Witney were not ready to throw in the towel though and nudged ahead five minutes later, only for the hosts to give away a penalty with seconds remaining. Williams struck the place-kick through, and Marlborough escaped by the barest of margins.

Elsewhere, Royal Wootton Bassett fell to Exeter University 26-11 at home in South West Premier.

Bassett were 6-5 up at the break before the University side came back with a vengeance to win the second half 21-5 thanks in the main to a couple of early scores at the start of the second period.

Back in South West One East, Chippenham lost 19-13 away at Windsor and Trowbridge beat 36-5 on home soil.

In Southern Counties South, Devizes hammered Swindon College Old Boys 41-10 and Swindon triumphed in a low-scoring affair away at Dorchester, emerging 12-0 winners. Corsham lost 21-0 at home to Walcot.