MARLOW returned to winning form in the Southern Counties North this season after a 30-12 victory against Bicester on Saturday.

The Bucks-based club had suffered defeat in their three previous matches but this most recent success moves them up to fifth position in the league table.

Jamie Maddern featured in his first game of the campaign and he set the tempo for a Marlow side that defied the elements and played some open running rugby. Through their playmaker, the hosts took every opportunity to run the ball and be expansive.

Both the Bicester tries came from tight forward play going through the phases, but the home team matched them with driving efforts finished from prop, Eddy Smyth, and number eight, James Branch.

Maddern created the moment of magic when setting off on a jinking run from between his own 22 and the halfway line. The Bicester defence were chasing shadows once he broke the game line and the star touched down under the posts.

Pushing for a bonus point try, Marlow spread the ball wide to the wing for hooker Stuart Sylvester to pop up and find and almost unnatural turn of speed to round the Bicester left wing and score in the corner.

The home team were equally adept in defence as in attack with notable performances from Bruno Renucci, a commanding performance in the front row from Chris Clark and the towering Ben Smith in the lineout.

Marlow make the short trip to bottom of the table and winless Bucks rivals Chesham this Saturday (3pm).

  • MARLOW Ladies completed a hat-trick of wins after a 10-0 victory against Hackney Ladies 2s to move up to third position in the Women's Challenge Series South East division.

Hackney arrived at Riverwoods Drive having not lost a game this season and were expecting to continue that record, but the amazing start to the campaign for Marlow continued in the driving rain on Saturday.

The visitors were surprised by the strength and resilience of the home defence and were on the back foot for much of the first half.

The hosts had much of the attacking play but, despite this dominance, struggled to find the final yards to get points on the board. The first period ended with neither side registering a score.

Marlow continued to have the upper hand as the second half got under way, quickly gaining territory and putting pressure on the Hackney defence.

The referee penalised the visitors for being offside within five metres of their own try line and they failed to reform quick enough to stop Laura Marks taking the penalty and breaking through to score.

Both sides then started to feel the effects of the conditions and passing the ball accurately became more difficult. Marlow quickly adapted however and switched tactics to a more forward dominated game.

The move soon paid when the forwards pushed within five metres of the line allowing Kerryn Newman to pick up and drive over the whitewash.

The game was another great showcase for women's rugby and continues the miraculous turnaround for Marlow, who now have three wins from five matches this season, and are second to High Wycombe in the table.

Marlow Ladies host Aylesbury this Saturday (12.30pm).