Depleted Marlow overcome 'adversity of unavailability' against Thatcham

Marlow managed to overcome the ‘adversity of unavailability’ on Saturday as they overpowered bottom-side Thatcham with a youthful looking squad.

Rory Greenslade-Jones was forced to blood some of the club’s younger players due to various injuries and absentees, but everyone of the players stood up to be counted as the hosts steamrolled Thatcham 52-0 at Riverwoods.

If anything, the result shows the strength in depth that is at Greenslade-Jones’ disposal at Marlow, and he admitted afterwards it was an easier day at the office than he’d anticipated. He was also very much gratified to see that their hard work in training, particularly on the defensive side of their game, had paid off during the match.

The result sees them cut the gap to fourth placed High Wycombe to only three points ahead of more challenging fixtures against Aylesbury and Reading.

“I was very impressed with the boys that stood up and came into the team,” he said. “They put in a good performance considering we faced a little bit of adversity with unavailability.

“I had to blood a few that hadn’t played much before, so it was exciting to be able to go out there, score quite a lot of tries, and not concede any really.

“With the couple of games, we’ve got coming up, it was our defence I really wanted to work and focus on. It was about our line speed coming out of the blocks, tackle selection, and competing for balls we can win while leaving other balls that were sealed off.

“They (Thatcham) are not the best competition so yeah it was always going to be an easier day at the office but to be fair, they did come down to us after a tough game a week before at Stow-on-the-Wold.

“I did feel a little bit for them as they had a good pack. They fronted up and gave us a run for our money in the scrum but ultimately, it was all about us putting our processes in place ready for the game on Saturday against Aylesbury away.”

With only nine games left to play, Greenslade-Jones would love to mount a challenge for the top four, however, given the changes and challenges they’ve had to adapt to before, and during the season, he’s more than happy with how they’ve performed.

“We will be happy if we finish third or fourth as we’ve had a bit of a season where many things have changed,” he said.

“We’ve been going back and forth with our selection of the backs just because of COVID, injuries, and other unavailability. While we’ve retained pretty much the same pack, we’ve just been mixing and matching the backs, so it’s been difficult to get any continuity in selection.

“It has been a difficult transition at the club, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. We’re in a pretty good place and we’re just trying to develop the youngsters coming through. Then, we can hopefully put in a better account of ourselves next season.”

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