Minety RFC

Archive for the ‘Match Reports’ Category

Minety fall to last gasp try

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The league match between 7th placed Minety and 3rd placed Melksham on Saturday was decided only by a late try and conversion as the visitors pulled themselves back from 13 – 0 down to take the points by 15 – 13 in a pulsating and hard fought encounter at Minety Fields.

Beaten only once since the opening day of the season, Melksham came to Minety on a fine run of form and Tom Claxton’s Minety were aware that they would have to be on top form to match them.

Kicking down the slope and with a fierce wind behind them, Minety pushed Melksham back but the opposition soon demonstrated why they hold 3rd place in the league with some assured handling and movement of the ball under pressure.

The home side took the lead in the 5th minute when Garin Garland stroked home a penalty.

Melksham struck back, rucking aggressively and turning the ball over.  Confident in possession, they forced Minety back and only some strong tackling from 2nd row Ben Scott and full back Chris Rule kept them at bay.

Garland used the advantage of the wind to clear Minety’s lines down field but the home side were unable to string together sufficient phases of play to exert real pressure on the Melksham line.

Minety had a chance to double their lead in the 18th minute but a long range penalty drifted wide.  Tempers flared shortly afterwards with the referee being forced to speak to the captains after a melee in midfield following a high tackle on Minety’s free running centre Jack Howse.

Garland kicked the resulting penalty and Minety were 6 – 0 to the good.

Steve White

Melksham were denied the opening try soon after and only some excellent defensive tackling by new Minety centre Will Crisp and flanker Jay Thompson kept the visitors out.  As Melksham continued to play neat and accurate rugby, Minety wingers Ben Langridge and the returning Steve White were both called upon to make telling tackles as the visitors sought to impose themselves on the match.  Melksham’s defensive line speed meant that scrum half Garland and fly half Dave Cooke had little time to settle and set up the backs but it was Garland who reacted first when Minety won a scrummage against the head.  Picking up the loose ball, he sped through a gap and crossed for Minety’s opening try in the 29th minute.  With the conversion successful, Minety were 13-0 up.

Will Crisp

One of the key moments of a tight match came in the 33rd minute when the promising Crisp, playing only his second match for Minety, dislocated his shoulder and was forced off.  A minute later Minety were down to 14 men when No. 8 Gareth Peirce was yellow carded after an infringement at a ruck.

Veteran Dave Church, making his first appearance of the season, replaced Crisp as Minety held off wave after wave of Melksham attacks as half time approached.

The home side ended the half on top as they desperately sought a second try to maximise their advantage of the slope and wind but Howse was stopped short after a good backs move and the sides changed ends with Minety leading 13-0.

The biting wind was augmented by driving rain as the second half got underway.

Melksham transferred territorial advantage into points in the 47th minute with a penalty after the Minety defence were caught off side deep in their own 22.

Coach Andy Grayson brought on Sam Hughes at scrum half, Garland moving to fly half, in an attempt to stem Melksham’s progress.

Despite some heroic defending, Minety were powerless to prevent Melksham scoring their first try on the hour.  A fine move involving numerous phases of play ended when the Melksham hooker touched down near the posts.  The conversion caught in the wind but Melksham were just 5 points behind with 20 minutes left to play.

As both teams chased the next score, which would almost certainly decide the outcome of the match, play became frantic and loose.  A brilliant last ditch tackle by Langridge prevented an almost certain Melksham try in the 76th minute and strong tackling from Rule, Church and Thompson held up Melksham down the centre.

Just when it looked as if the home side might hold on a clearance kicked stalled in the wind and a scrum against the Melksham head saw the ball loose near the Minety line.  Melksham exploited Minety’s desperate attempts to re-organise, with Howse on the ground after a clash of heads.  The ball moved out wide on the right and a good interchange of passes allowed the try to be scored bringing the scores level as the match entered added on time.

Melksham won the game with a fine conversion kick and took the league points by 15-13, the second time in 4 years that a match between the two has been won by Melksham with the last kick of a game.  (24th October 2015 Minety 6 Melksham 9)

Coach Andy Grayson was philosophical in defeat.  “The only reason we lost that game was because we didn’t score enough points in the first half when we had the advantage of both slope and wind.  It was as good a defensive performance as we’ve given all season.  I certainly can’t fault the lads on their efforts.”

Man of the Match, for his superb defensive work out wide, Steve White.

Written by Graham Cooke

December 9th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Under strength Minety beaten at Combe Down

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One week on from their Senior Vase Final, and with an injury list of epic proportions, Minety travelled to unbeaten Combe Down on Saturday with 14 players and ended the match with just 11.

Whilst the score line of 55 – 10 may give the impression of a hammering, the match was anything but, with the Minety team matching their more illustrious opponents for long periods of the game.

Debutant Will Crisp

Minety gave a debut to centre Will Crisp and used a number of players in new positions to try and manage a Combe Down team averaging over 60 points per match this season against full strength teams.

The villagers more than held their own in the opening exchanges, keeping the ball in centre field and coping well with their numerical disadvantage.  Scrum half Mark Glew organised a makeshift pack, brilliantly led by Andrew Hibbard, and Minety soon had Combe Down defending deep in their own 22.

The village side went behind in the 12th minute.  Combe Down won a lineout in the Minety half and stretched the play back and forth across the pitch before crossing for a try wide out on the left.

Down’s second try came soon after.  Despite ferocious tackling from Glew, Crisp and full back Chris Rule, Minety couldn’t keep out an attack on the right which led to a try beneath the posts.  The conversion was successful and the runaway  league leaders were 12 – 0 up.

Minety missed the chance to get on the score board in the 25th minute when Ash Windle’s penalty slipped narrowly wide.  The contrast in approaches was marked: Minety kept the ball in the centre of the field and used close passing to maintain possession while Combe Down sought to exploit their 1 man advantage by kicking the ball and chasing.

The home side increased their lead in the 30th minute with a try out wide on the right and added a 4th two minutes later, using pace and the width of the pitch to out flank Minety’s defence.

Minety captain Tom Claxton, flanker Gareth Peirce and Hibbard drove the village team back on the attack and their enterprise and endeavour was rewarded when Windle kicked a penalty in the 35th minute.

Two minutes later fly half Dave Cooke took a flying interception and ran 60 metres to score beneath the posts, Windle converting, to bring the score back to a much more respectable and representative 24 – 10.

Fly half Dave Cooke races clear for Minety’s try

Now down to 13 players, with veteran 2nd row Phil Ward withdrawn with a neck injury, Minety battled to see the half out.  Crisp’s clever chip through almost set up a second try but the ball bounced unkindly and the chance was lost.

Against the run of play, it was the home side who scored with the last play of the half.  A break from deep in their own half saw Combe Down spread the ball wide, stretching the defence, and ended with the right winger scoring beneath the posts.

Minety opened the second half brightly, moving the ball confidently and forcing the home side back.  Strong running from Rule, Matt Stone and Crisp pushed the home side deep into their own half and Minety should have had a second try when the overlapping Cooke was free out on the left but the pass went behind and out of play.

With 2nd row Ben Scott dominant at the lineout, Minety more than matched the top of the table outfit but a kick and chase downfield ended with a Combe Down try and a 38 – 10 lead after 53 minutes.

The home side’s 7th try came two minutes later.  Once again, Minety were unable to cover a quick break down the left wing.

The 13 men soon became 12 when scrum half Mark Glew’s terrific performance was halted by a nasty leg injury forcing him off the field in the 63rd minute.

Undeterred and outnumbered, Minety were soon back on the attack again, flanker Rob Hinwood stopped metres from the line and then Stone, Scott and prop Colin French all going close.

Windle missed a penalty chance in the closing minutes before Come Down scored two more tries against an exhausted Minety team before the referee called a halt to proceedings when Minety lost fly half Cooke to an ankle injury, leaving the final score 55 – 10.

Dave Peirce, managing the team in coach Andy Grayson’s absence said afterwards, “I was really proud of all the lads.  Combe Down are a very good side and have put over 100 points on a couple of teams this season but we gave everything and all the lads can hold their heads up high.  It was a fantastic effort from a patched up team.  I can’t single out a player for man of the match – they all deserved that accolade.”

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nd XV beat Bath Saracens 65 – 22 at Minety Fields to move up to 4th place in Dorset and Wiltshire Division 3.



Written by Graham Cooke

December 2nd, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Minety lose in epic final

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Wiltshire’s Minety RFC lost in the final of the Dorset and Wiltshire Senior Vase to the Dorset Dockers from Christchurch by 36 points to 17 in a terrific match played at Salisbury on Saturday.

For once this season, Coach Andy Grayson, was able to put out a near full strength Minety side as they endeavoured to win the Vase for the second time in four years.

Under grey skies and with a fine mist in the air, the Dockers, beaten only once this season and having amassed 235 points in their last three games, kicked off in front of a good crowd.

Minety immediately showed their intent to attack from defence, flanker Ben Sellick catching the kick off and running straight back at the heart of the Docker’s defence before fly half Tom McAllister, scrum half Garin Garland and full back Duncan Simpson combined to run the ball up to the half way line.

Minety’s enterprising start almost brought them the first score after just 5 minutes when Garland collected from a line out and almost made it to the try line.

The powerful and well organised Dorset team certainly knew that they were in for a tough afternoon as the visibly smaller Minety pack competed well at the early scrummages and lineouts.

Dorset opened the scoring with a penalty in the 16th minute and increased their lead 3 minutes later.  Strong and powerful  running in midfield set up a chance for their right winger to burst through a tackle and touch down for the opening try and an 8 – 0 lead.

Minety came back strongly, Sellick running at the defence before off-loading to centre Jack Howse.  When McAllister spotted gaps in the defence his clever chip kick pushed the Dockers back onto their own line.  Minety missed a chance to get on the board in the 30th minute when a long range penalty kick dropped short but they hit back two minutes later.  The Minety pack, superbly led by captain Tom Claxton and No. 8 Andrew Hibbard, won a scrum against the head and then won a penalty in the Dockers 22.  Garland’s quick tap kick took him under the posts but the play was ruled out by the referee, however  the subsequent kick was successful.

Both teams knew that a score in the minutes leading up to half time could be crucial in terms of momentum and the game opened up, players running the ball whenever they could.

Deep in 1st half added time Minety tried to run the ball out of defence but a pass was intercepted and run back in for the Dockers’ 2nd try , converted this time, and a half time lead of 15 – 3.

The Dorset team started the second half strongly, running hard at the Minety defence.  Whilst the villagers were able to withstand the barrage, it came at a cost when the influential Sellick was injured and had to be replaced in the 46th minute.  Soon after the pressure told as the Dockers’ No 8 forced his way over for their 3rd try, converted, and a 22-3 lead.

The Dorset team, somewhat flattered by the score line, grew in confidence and stretched the Minety defence on numerous occasions but Grayson’s men tackled like demons and refused to give up an inch without a fight.

As the game entered its last quarter it was Minety who dominated the territory but the villagers were unable to transform territorial advantage into points as move after move was thwarted by the fine Dockers’ defence.

Another scrummage win against the head took Minety within reach of the Dockers’ line but replacements Del Murray and Andy Darrall and then Garland were all halted just short.

Against the run of play it was the Dorset team who scored next.  In arguably the move of the game they passed their way out of their own 22 right up to the Minety 22 and then fashioned a fine overlap move to allow their fly half to run in from 10 metres.  The successful conversion saw the Dockers in complete control 29 – 3 up and with just 10 minutes left on the clock.

Refusing to let their heads drop, Minety pushed on and a move involving McAllister, Simpson and winger Dave Cooke opened up the Dorset defence at last.  Cooke’s long pass in field allowed Hibbard to run through to score the villagers opening try.  Garland’s conversion was successful.

Andrew Hibbard touches down for Minety’s 1st try

With both teams tiring, the game opened up and a series of missed tackles allowed the Dockers their 5th try, the No. 8 touching down beneath the posts.

Fittingly, it was Minety who finished the scoring.  Attacking once again, they won a penalty and from  Garland’s tap the ball went out to winger Ben Langridge, who burst through 3 tackles to score Minety’s 2nd try.  Garland kicked the conversion and the game finished with the Dorset Dockers victorious by 36 – 17.

Ben Langridge, with ball, celebrates Minety’s 2nd try

Coach Andy Grayson was upbeat after the game.  “They were a really good side who hit the ball at pace and from depth.  We never gave up and showed the true Minety spirit that makes this club so very special.  We scored two really good tries and I know there’s not a player out there who could have done more. I’m very proud of them.”

The Minety Senior Vase Final Squad 24th November 2018

Man of the Match for Minety: Andrew Hibbard.

Written by Graham Cooke

November 25th, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Minety claw back for win

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On an afternoon ideal for rugby, bright, windless and dry Minety welcomed Chippenham to Minety Fields for an eagerly awaited Division 1 clash writes Peter McAllister

Chippenham started the game playing down the hill with the sun behind them but it was the home side who started strongly, driving into the Chippenham 22 with Number 8 Andrew Hibbard carrying the ball into contact. The Minety scrum set the tone for the match by completely dominating the set piece, immoveable on their own put in and driving Chippenham backwards on theirs.

The villagers put together a series of fine passages of play following a smart pick up by winger Ben Langridge out wide but the chance of an opening score was thwarted when Chippenham were awarded a penalty.

Nevertheless Minety’s persistence was rewarded in the 10th minute with a penalty from just outside the Chippenham 22 which scrum half Garin Garland converted to give Minety a 3-0 lead.

Chippenham came back strongly but the Minety defence stayed resolute and forced Chippenham to kick the ball away.

The visitors continued to press and after 20 minutes Minety lost their own line-out 5 metres from their try line and Chippenham took full advantage, cutting through to score a try. The conversion was missed but Chippenham led 5-3.

The game was evenly balanced, Minety defending fiercely, winger Langridge in particular putting in some decisive tackles on the very dangerous Chippenham backs whilst the Minety forwards held the upper hand against their opponents. Even though Minety began to dominate and gained good field position they contrived to knock the ball on or lose possession. A penalty kick went wide of the posts and Minety found themselves 5-3 down at half time despite their overall superiority.

The second half saw Minety attacking downhill and early pressure led to a penalty opportunity but again the kick drifted wide.

Chippenham always looked dangerous with a quick back line and a large pack so it was no surprise that the game see-sawed back and forth. Minety’s excellent tackling and dominance in the scrum was counter balanced by Chippenham’s lineout superiority and all round pace.

A kick and catch by fly half Will Mason, making his first appearance of the season, pushed the home side into the Chippenham 22 again and the subsequent pressure resulted in a penalty in front of the posts which Garland coolly slotted to edge Minety  into a 6-5 lead.

The Minety scrum was so effective against the large Chippenham pack that it consistently drove the opposition back and it was surprising that the advantage didn’t convert into points for Minety.  The match took an unexpected turn in the 61st minute when Chippenham cleared the ball quickly from a retreating scrum and then fashioned a fine try with a set piece backs move to score under the posts. The successful conversion moved Chippenham into a 6-12 lead.

With time against them Minety had to respond but their desperation to force the play often led to handling errors which allowed Chippenham to reset and gain possession. However, the home team’s determination and superiority told; a great break by Mason was ended by a high tackle but Garland responded quickest and scurried over to score under the post. The try was converted and Minety moved back into a slender 13-12 lead.

The game continued to be competitive as both teams took advantage of each other’s errors – Minety winning the scrums and Chippenham taking the lineouts.

In the end the game was decided following sustained defensive pressure from Minety on the Chippenham 22. The ball went loose and 2nd row Matt Stone pounced to pick it up in midfield and race through unopposed under the posts to score the decisive try. Garland’s conversion was successful taking the score to 20 – 12 with just moments remaining.

Minety were deserved winners but the fact that Ben Langridge was named Man of the Match for his tackling and defensive duties were a measure of how competitive the game was. Special praise was also reserved to the pack and, in particular the Minety front row of Mark Glew, captain Tom Claxton and Andy Darrall.

(Match photographs to follow, care of Terry Parker and Wilts Glos Standard)


Written by Graham Cooke

November 18th, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Minety Select brave an Amesbury onslaught

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Unable to field a full team to play their Dorset and Wilts Division 3 fixture at runaway league leaders Amesbury, Minety fielded a team made up of a core of their own players augmented by players loaned from Salisbury teams and Amesbury.

On a bright sunny November afternoon at the picturesque Amesbury ground, the Minety select soon found out why Amesbury are unbeaten this season.  The home side, well organised and very powerful, soon made their advantage felt, running in three tries in the first 10 minutes and sewing up their four try bonus point in the 23rd minute.

The Minety select team, to their credit, refused to lie down, and fought for possession and territory and although the first half ended with the home team comfortably 48-0 up, the contest was much more even.

A chance to re-group at half time game the visitors the opportunity to switch some players around and this tactic paid off in the opening exchanges of the second half when they scored two tries in the opening 10 minutes and then battled against the home side for the rest of the game, eventually losing 82-22 in a game where the big winners were sportsmanship and rugby.

Amesbury are clearly going to be a force to be reckoned with in Division 3 and if they do realise their ambition of a first season promotion to Division 2, there are a number of teams there who will find them more than a match!

Minety Select 2nd XV

Congratulations must go out to both sets of players for their commitment, sense of fair play and desire to play open and attacking rugby.

Thanks must also go to the members and supporters of Amesbury who made the small Minety party so welcome and cheered both teams on with equal enthusiasm.

Written by Graham Cooke

November 18th, 2018 at 11:34 am

Minety march into final

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Minety defeated their fellow Dorset and Wilts Division 1 team Warminster on Saturday to qualify for the final of the Dorset and Wilts Senior Vase, a competition they last won in 2015.

The village team swapped from their normal pitch in the days leading up to the match, opting for one of the newly drained club pitches after several days of heavy rain in the area.

The two squads observed a minute’s silence before the game.  The visitors kicked off, playing down the slope at Minety Fields against perhaps the strongest line-up that Minety has been able to assemble this season.

After soaking up some early Warminster pressure, the home side started to dominate, their scrum pushing the Warminster pack back and giving scrum half Garin Garland and fly half Tom McAllister lots of time to set up waves of attacking moves.

The villagers took the lead in the 10th minute when Garland stroked home a penalty and should have extended their lead given the territorial advantage that they enjoyed.

Their attacking impetus was disrupted somewhat when the powerful Ben Sellick was forced off with a nasty head injury in the 15th minute, Del Murray replacing him at flanker.

Man of the Match, Tom McAllister

Garland doubled the lead in the 18th minute with another penalty and straight from the restart Murray burst brilliantly through the Warminster defence to set up a try out wide for McAllister after some fine work from No. 8 Andrew Hibbard and centre Jack Howse.  Garland’s excellent 30 metre conversion put Minety firmly in the driving seat, 13 points to the good.

Centre Jack Ward and prop Mark Glew were both halted by last ditch tackles metres from the Warminster line as Minety piled on the pressure.  Opportunities to increase the lead were squandered as Minety were guilty of overplaying attacking situations but it came as no surprise when they registered their second try in the 38th minute.  Complete domination at the scrum pushed the visitors back to their own line and they were helpless to prevent Garland picking up and darting over the line.  With the conversion successful, Minety led 20-0 at the interval.

Playing downhill in the second half, Minety looked to continue their domination but injuries to second row Ben Scott and Ward disrupted their flow and an injury to a Warminster prop meant that all subsequent scrummages were uncontested, with Minety losing their domination of the set piece.

With Warminster enjoying more possession from the scrum, Minety had to defend but strong tackling in midfield and aggressive rucking kept the visitors pinned back.

A fine break from McAllister, from in front of his own posts, was taken on by replacement centre Chris Rule and then by Garland before winger Ben Langridge was brought down inches from the line.  From the ensuing ruck second row stalwart Ben Collins crashed over for his first try of the season and Minety’s third of the match.

Warminster struck back in the 63rd minute with a converted try near the posts in one of their very few incursions into the Minety 22 but the village team sealed their place in the Vase final after a period of sustained pressure on the Warminster line when Hibbard picked up and drove through for a try after Garland, Collins and Murray had all been held up agonisingly close to the line.

Garland’s conversion ended the scoring with Minety running out 32-7 winners.

Coach Andy Grayson was more than pleased with the result.  “It was a great all round performance and had the scrummages not been uncontested in the second half, I am sure we would have won far more convincingly.”

In the Vase final Minety will face the Dorset Dockers from Christchurch at a neutral venue yet to be decided.

Man of the match went to fly half Tom McAllister whose tactical kicking and game management was exemplary.

Minety players celebrate their victory

Written by Graham Cooke

November 10th, 2018 at 7:54 pm

Five try Minety back to winning ways

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Man of the Match: Ben Collins

Minety halted their unfortunate run of 2 straight defeats on Saturday with a convincing 41-19 win at Calne in a bruising Dorset and Wilts Division 1 match.

Under leaden skies and with a bitterly cold wind driving across the pitch to contend with, Coach Andy Grayson was able to field a much more balanced team than the one which lost to Avonvale last week.

In club captain Tom Claxton’s extended absence through injury, Andrew Hibbard led the side, opting to use the wind at their backs in the first half against a Calne team, significantly bigger and heavier than the village team.

The early exchanges were dominated by the home team with Minety’s scrum being put under extreme pressure at the set piece.  Front rowers Steve Wilson, Mark Glew and the returning Matt Park found themselves in a real battle while second rowers Ben Scott and Ben Collins tackled and rucked aggressively to keep the Calne forwards at bay.

Against the run of play, Minety took the lead when fly half Jack Ward kicked a 30 metre penalty after a Calne offence at a ruck.

Minety were reduced to 14 men soon after when Ward was yellow carded for a high tackle, Grayson moving winger Dave Cooke into fly half as cover.

Calne used their numerical and size advantage to good effect and pressurised the Minety line but full back Duncan Simpson and his defence kept wave after wave of attacks out.

Minety extended their lead in the 23rd minute.  A break down the middle by Hibbard was taken on by Glew and flanker Kieran Tillotsen.  From the ruck Cooke broke the line, fed Glew and his beautifully timed off load allowed pacy centre Jack Howse through.  A side step around the covering full back allowed Howse to touch beneath the posts.  Scrum half Sam Hughes kicked the conversion and Minety led 10-0.

Howse breaks free to score

When Calne’s hooker was yellow carded for an offence in the ruck, Ward struck a beautiful 40 metre penalty to push the village team’s lead to 13-0.

Minety always looked dangerous when the ball was played along the back line and they were only denied a second try when a Calne player deliberately knocked the ball on with the line beckoning.

After Hughes and Hibbard had been held up agonisingly close to the line, Ward finished a move in the 37th minute, adding the conversion and putting Minety into a comfortable 20-0 lead with half time close.

Ward cuts back for try No. 2

Deep in first half stoppage time Calne struck back.  After an extended period of forward domination their first try was scored after a jinking run by their fly half close to the posts.

Minety’s 14 point advantage was halved in the first move of the second half.  Calne manoeuvred the ball down field straight from the kick off and one of the forwards touched down for a try near the corner flag.  In the blustery conditions, the successful conversion kick from the touch line was outstanding, and Calne were back in the game, trailing by just 6 points.

Minety re-grouped and Simpson’s incursions into the line continued to cause problems for the home defence.  The villagers pushed forward and Hughes and Ward were both stopped close to the line but the home defence could do nothing to prevent Tillotsen from scoring his first try for Minety in the 49th minute.  Ward’s conversion was successful and Minety led 27-14.

Tillotsen shrugs off defender for No. 3

Calne struck back in the 63rd minute after a throw in to the front of the line set up a maul and then a ruck on the Minety line.

In the gathering gloom Minety set about securing the game and scoring a 4th, bonus point winning try.

After soaking up more Calne pressure, a superb Hibbard catch and run up field was taken on by Hughes and Howse.  From the ruck Hughes passed to Cooke who off loaded to Glew who ran in for the 4th try beneath the posts. 

Glew bursts through for try No. 4

Hughes’ conversion secured the victory for Minety but there was still time in added time for a richly deserved try for Hibbard after a tap penalty near the line by Hughes.

Hibbard ends the scoring with try No. 5

The 41-19 win secured the win and bonus points for Minety and keeps them in 6th place in the division.

Coach Grayson was pleased with the result.  “It wasn’t a great match to watch but I felt we coped well with their size and aggression.”

Man of the Match: Ben Collins

Next week attention turns to the Dorset and Wilts Senior Vase semi final when Minety host high flying Warminster.

Written by Graham Cooke

November 4th, 2018 at 11:53 am

Minety taught a harsh lesson

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Man of the Match: Mark Glew

Avonvale, second highest point scorers in Dorset and Wilts Division 1, overcame a patched up Minety side by 57 points to 8 at Minety Fields on Saturday as the home side struggled to put out a team after a recent spate of injuries had decimated the squad.

Coach Andy Grayson was forced to field a team made up almost entirely of forwards from the 1st and 2nd XV’s.  Stand in captain Andrew Hibbard led a team with a prop forward, Mark Glew, playing at scrum half, two second rowers in the centres and a pair of flank forwards on the wings.

Avonvale used their pacey backs to great advantage and within the first 18 minutes of play had scored three tries and opened up  a 17-0 lead.

Minety kicked off the first half playing uphill into a bitingly cold wind on an overcast and windswept day but were soon on the back foot as the Avonvale backs moved the ball wide on the left with their winger crossing by the corner flag.

Minety dominated the next phases of play led by Hibbard and Glew, keeping the ball close in the pack.

Debutant Del Murray, playing in an unaccustomed fly half role, broke into the Avonvale 22 and in the following phases of play Glew, prop Colin French and 2nd row Phil Ward all went close.

The home side were unable to maintain the pressure and Avonvale broke away to score their second try in the 10th minute, the scrum half picking up at the base of a ruck and chipping over for the fly half to run in and score.

Avonvale’s third try came on 18 minutes.  Once again, Minety’s lack of lateral speed allowed the opposition to move the ball wide quickly and they overran the defence for another try out wide.

Captain Andrew Hibbard

To their credit, Grayson’s Minety didn’t allow their heads to drop.  With Glew growing more confident by the minute and strong tackling from all the forwards, they fought back to stem the tide.  When stand in hooker Jay Thompson found Ben Scott at a lineout, Minety launched an impressive rolling maul that took them well into the Avonvale 22.  Props French and Cameron Smith linked up well to drive the ball forwards in midfield but the Avonvale defence was resolute and well organised and the village side came away empty handed.

Against the run of the play, Avonvale picked up their 4th try, and a valuable league bonus point, in the 32nd minute.  Breaking down the centre from their own half, the ball first went right and then across the pitch where their flanker neatly side stepped the stretched defence to score.

Minety got on the scoresheet in the 37th minute, centre Ash Windle kicking a penalty after Avonvale were off side at a ruck.

Any hopes the home side had of a recovery disappeared in first half added time.  Centre Bram Coleman injured his leg and was replaced and then winger Matt Stone was forced off with an ankle injury.  Moments later centre Windle was red carded for a tip tackle.

The 14 players of Minety were unable to keep out the prolific and pacey right winger from Avonvale in the 42nd minute as he danced his way through the defence to score near the posts and the visitors soon had their 6th and 7th tries of the game, driving through an exhausted Minety defensive line and exploiting their one man advantage and superior pace.

43-3 down after 49 minutes, the village side could easily have capitulated but led by Glew and Hibbard, they fought back. With the bitter wind and driving rain, Minety matched Avonvale as the game entered its final stages.

Mark Glew scores

Late on Minety lost replacement prop Andy Darrell to a head injury and the remaining players on the pitch were unable to prevent Avonvale scoring their 8th and 9th tries in the last 4 minutes.

As the rain intensified and the game entered stoppage time, Hibbard, playing a true captain’s role, drove forward into the Avonvale 22.  Glew set up Scott before the ball went to Murray.  From the ensuing ruck, Man of the Match Glew picked up, spotted a gap and crashed over for a well-deserved consolation try to leave the final score Minety 8 Avonvale 57.

Coach Andy Grayson was not despondent at the end of the game.  “We knew that we were up against it even before the match started, and injuries and the loss of players made the job even harder, but everyone out there gave 100% and we never gave up.  We must now look to next Saturday and try to get as many of the injured fit and try to put out the type of team that we know we can produce here.”

The 2nd XV match was conceded by Supermarine.

Written by Graham Cooke

October 28th, 2018 at 11:10 am

Double Delight for Minety

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Playing at home for the first time this season, both Minety teams registered confident wins, the 1st XV against local rivals Sutton Benger, the 2nd XV versus Melksham.

Tom Claxton’s 1st XV took to the newly refurbished pitch at Minety knowing that Sutton Benger would be a major hurdle to overcome.  Beaten only once in 22 outings last season to win promotion to the top tier, Benger had enjoyed an opening day win against Chippenham and put in a spirited display before succumbing to a slightly under par Minety by 27 – 10.

Consistent drizzle in the previous 12 hours had left the surface greasy and a blustery wind provided challenging conditions for good rugby.

Minety kicked off into the wind and were soon using the pace they possess in the backs to push the visitors back with runs from centre Chris Rule, scrum half Sam Hughes and full back Duncan Simpson.

Benger found it impossible to get out of their half in the first 10 minutes as Minety launched attack after attack but the visitors’ quick defensive line speed and tackling kept the home team from scoring.

Against the run of play, Benger opened the scoring in the 13th minute with their first serious incursion into the Minety half.  A clearance kick and a series of forwards’ moves pushed them to the Minety 22 and a clever break from their fly half released the winger to score near the corner flag.

Minety thought they had an equaliser 2 minutes later.  Hughes fired a long pass out to fly half Jack Ward, who burst the line before off-loading to Simpson to touch down beneath the posts but a Benger hand prevented the grounding and Minety were denied.

The home side didn’t have to wait long.  Simpson caught a clearance kick 40 metres out and flung a long pass to Hughes.  His huge “up and under” was allowed to bounce and winger Ben Langridge was quickest to react and seized the opportunity to score. Ward drilled the conversion between the posts and Minety led 7-5.

As Sutton Benger grew in confidence so they began to dominate possession, rucking efficiently and keeping the ball tight in mid field, denying the fast paced Minety attack from doing too much damage.  However the home team were always dangerous when the ball went loose and a beautiful move involving Hughes, Ward, number 8 Ben Sellick and outside centre Jack Howse was only stopped by some desperate Benger defensive work.

As the half came to an end Minety pushed forward again and pressed the Benger line.  The pressure told when the prolific Sellick picked up at the base of a scrum 5 metres out and crashed through the defence to score and put the home side 12-5 up.

Coach Andy Grayson made three changes at half time, giving a season’s debut to 2nd row Ash Windle, bringing on Colin French to replace Cameron Smith at prop and substituting Dave Cooke for the returning Steve White.

The home side dominated the early exchanges in the 2nd half with Simpson secure under the high ball and Ward putting in crunching tackles in midfield.

Ward stroked home a penalty  in the 45th minute after another huge kick from Hughes had caused panic in the Benger defence.

To their credit, the visitors stormed back once again, using their forward power and keeping the ball in tight.  A tap penalty set up their 2nd try, the forwards rucking aggressively before the ball went out wide on the right for a try.

Man of the Match: Duncan Simpson

Minety struck back immediately from the restart.  Simpson launched a kick up field and was first on hand to pick up after a defensive drop, off-loading to Sellick, who ran in under the posts to score to extend Minety’s lead to 20-10.

Almost all of the last 10 minutes was played in the Sutton Benger half as Minety sought their bonus point winning 4th try but they had to wait until the 77th minute for that to come. The impressive 2nd row Ben Scott caught a lineout ball on the Benger 22.  Hughes slipped a pass to Rule and then carried the ball on again to break the line.  Simpson took the ball on almost to the line before passing to Howse to score beneath the posts.  Ward converted and Minety were home by 27-10.

The win keeps Minety in 4th place in Division 1, just one point behind 2nd placed Avonvale.

Man of the Match was Duncan Simpson.

In the other match, Steve Wilson’s Minety 2nds defeated Melksham by 39-7 in a free flowing game.  Dave White put in a match winning performance, running in 3 tries for the home team, who move up to 5th in Division 3.

There are no matches for Minety teams next week with the 1st XV being seeded directly through to the semi final of the Dorset and Wilts Senior Vase competition.

Written by Graham Cooke

October 7th, 2018 at 11:23 am

Sellick shines as Minety hammer Supermarine

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Man of the Match: Ben Sellick

Andy Grayson’s Minety 1st XV travelled to local rivals Supermarine on Saturday determined to build on the fine win at Royal Wootton Bassett.

Without regular half back pairing Garland, injured, and McAllister, university bound, coach Grayson paired Sam Hughes with the hugely experienced Jack Ward at scrum and fly half.

Already down to just 16 fit players, Minety suffered the loss of 2nd row Ben Collins to a back injury in the opening exchanges and promoted Gareth Peirce into the team for his first outing of the season and it was the debutant who opened the scoring in the 5th minute, ending a fluent move involving Hughes and forwards Andrew Hibbard and Mark Glew.

Flanker Ben Sellick scored his first try 3 minutes later, bursting through the home defence to touch down near the posts after Ward and Hibbard had made ground in midfield.  Ward’s conversion was successful and Minety led 12-0.

After a period of pressure from the home side, Minety broke free and when Supermarine were caught off side, Ward slotted the penalty to extend the lead to 15 points.

Supermarine opened their account in the 26th minute with a marvellously opportunistic try.  When Ward kicked to the half way line to relieve pressure on the Minety line, the Supermarine full back collected the ball and kicked it high back into the Minety half.  The ball bounced perfectly and he was able to bat it over the advancing defence, catch it and then race away under the posts.  The conversion was successful.

Minety struck back immediately, Hughes breaking through before off-loading to Sellick for the flanker’s second try.  Ward kicked the conversion and Minety led 22-7.

The bonus point winning 4th try came in the 30th minute.  Full back Duncan Simpson broke the line before passing to Ward, whose perfectly timed off load to centre Chris Rule saw the latter over the line.  The conversion extended Minety’s lead to 29-7 with half time looming.

Minety continued to play at pace as the half ran down.  Solid in the scrum against a heavier pack and dominant on their own lineouts, the village team were quick and confident in attack and resolute in defence.

The second half was a minute old when Sellick scored his third try.  Ben Scott took the lineout and Hughes rifled a long pass to Ward.  The fly half’s quick pass to Sellick saw the flanker through the defensive line at pace and then it was a question of whether he could outpace the stretched defence.  Ward’s conversion extended the lead to 41-12.

Supermarine’s third try came in the 55th minute after more forward based incursions into Minety’s 22.

Minety’s speed and all round fitness told in the closing quarter as they ran in 5 tries.  In the 60th minute outside centre Jack Howse burst the line to touch down beneath the posts.

Three minutes later the quick thinking Hughes spotted a gap, raced through and released Sellick for the flanker’s 4th try of the match.

Minety’s 8th try came when flanker Matt Stone seized on a loose ball before passing to Howse.  The centre drew the defence before passing to winger Ben Langridge who scored wide on the left.

Minety’s 9th came after a move that started back in their own 22.  Stone took a high ball and then a move involving prop Colin French, Hibbard, Ward, captain Tom Claxton and Hughes ended with full back Duncan Simpson racing away to score beneath the uprights.

Ward completed the scoring in the 79th minute, shrugging off defenders to register Minety’s 11th try.  His conversion ended the scoring with the village team emerging 74-17 winners.

Man of the Match, Ben Sellick for his 4 tries and dominant performance all around the pitch.

Minety’s win takes them to 4th in the table behind early season pace setters Avonvale, Combe Down and Warminster.

In the day’s other game, Minety 2nds went down 62-10 at top of the table Combe Down.

Next week both Minety teams will play at home for the first time this season on their newly drained pitches with the 1st entertaining newly promoted Sutton Benger and the 2nds up against Melksham.



Written by Graham Cooke

September 30th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Minety turn on the style at Bassett

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Minety turn on the style

Minety’s 1st XV travelled to Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday eager to kick start their D&W1 season into life after last week’s narrow loss at Warminster.

Fielding a team showing 4 changes, coach Andy Grayson set out his side ready for an open and expansive game and his team responded magnificently, comprehensively beating their local rivals by 47 points to 13.

On a bright and breezy afternoon, the villagers kicked off and immediately used their quick and incisive passing to push the home team back.

Minety took the lead in the 6th minute.  After a flowing backs’ move, hard hitting flanker Ben Sellick burst through the defensive line before centre Tom McAllister popped the ball to second row Matt Stone, the forward side stepping his way to the line to score.

After a period of home pressure Minety struck again. Bassett’s scrum was pushed back near their line and the quick thinking scrum half Garin Garland was the first to react to a loose ball, picking up and crashing over for a try which he then converted to put Minety 12-0 up.

The village team had certainly learned lessons from the opening day defeat at Warminster; tackling was crisp and the defensive line speed meant Bassett rarely had time on the ball to set up attacking moves properly.

One of Bassett’s rare breaks was foiled by a wonderful full length tackle from the hugely impressive Sellick.

Minety’s momentum was halted by an unusual incident in the 30th minute.  Winger Dave Cooke collided with the linesman whilst chasing a defensive kick.  Both went down, the linesman subsequently requiring 5 stitches in an ugly head wound, and the game was held up for 10 minutes while both received treatment.

The break broke Minety’s rhythm.  Bassett responded with an unconverted try and a penalty to reduce the arrears at half time to 12-8.

The second half started in dramatic fashion with Minety’s Number 8 Andrew Hibbard breaking out of defence and running 60 metres before being hauled down.  Slick passing pushed the visitors forward and when Hibbard caught Garland’s chip through and passed it to Sam Hughes, the young fly half side stepped his way to the line.

Centre Jack Howse scored the bonus point winning 4th try with a marvellous individual effort.  Picking the ball up 40 metres out, the centre danced his way through the entire Bassett defence to score near the posts.  Garland kicked the conversion and Minety extended their lead to 26-8.

Minety’s 5th try came after a period of sustained pressure.  Hibbard, Cooke and McAllister were all held up close to the line but the defence could do nothing to prevent prop forward Mark Glew’s finely judged charge to the line.  Garland’s conversion extended the lead to 33-8.

Stone grabbed his second try in the 65th minute, ending a fluent attacking move down the left wing involving Garland, McAllister and Glew.  The scrum half was injured in the move but McAllister made no mistake with his conversion: 40 – 8.

Man of the Match: Matt Stone

Bassett scored a consolation try in the 70th minute as both sides tired but it was left to Minety centre Howse to complete the scoring with his second, and Minety’s 7th try of the match in the 72nd minute, intercepting a pass and running in under the posts from 20 metres out.  McAllister converted and Minety took maximum league points with a 47-13 victory.

Coach Andy Grayson was delighted with his team’s performance.  “That was a really good game with so many positives to come out of it.  Our defence was fine, we scored some lovely tries and our forwards dominated.  Special mention to Cameron Smith, coming back to play prop after a couple of years out, but Man of the Match, for his two tries and great all round work, must go to Matt Stone.”

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nds went down 33-24 in a hard fought and competitive match at Chippenham.

Written by Graham Cooke

September 16th, 2018 at 10:18 am

Minety beaten in 9 try thriller

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Man of Match Chris Rule

Minety travelled to Warminster for the opening match of their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 season with a new look team after coach Andy Grayson and captain Tom Claxton were forced into a raft of last minute changes.

Giving 1st team debuts to 18 year old James Nixon and veteran Phil Ward, with Club Chairman Ken Wright on the bench, the village team faced up to a large and very mobile Warminster team.

Minety pinned Warminster back in their own 22 with some fierce tackling and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts in the 2nd minute, scrum half Garin Garland calmly slotting home between the posts.

Minety’s tenacious start was further rewarded in the 12th minute when Garland kicked his second penalty after Warminster were adjudged off side at a ruck.

The villagers’ desire to run the ball on all occasions was admirable but it did leave them vulnerable to counter attacks from the mobile and well drilled Warminster backs and the home team opened their scoring in the 12th minute with a penalty.

Warminster snatched the lead in the 27th minute after a period of open play in the middle of the park.  A quick move in the home team back line and a pass, that most observers thought went forward, set up a try wide out on the left wing.

Minety rallied and some fine attacking running from centres Chris Rule and Jack Howse and front row Mark Glew, Claxton and Colin French held the hosts at bay as Warminster pushed for a second try before half time.

The home team were rewarded with a forwards’ try in the 32nd minute, the resultant conversion extending their lead to 15-6.

Garland reduced the arrears on the cusp of half time with another penalty after a rampaging run from Andrew Hibbard had cut through the home defensive line.

The second half was barely underway when Garland broke out of the Minety 22, sprinted 60 metres down field before offloading to fly half Tom McAllister, who ran in to touch down wide out on the left wing.  Garland’s long range conversion was successful and Minety lead 16-15.

The visitors lost prop Mark Glew to a head injury, with veteran Phil Ward replacing him as Grayson shuffled his pack.

Warminster struck back in the 44th minute, a kick ahead and a lucky bounce allowed their centre in for a score.  The conversion was successful and the home side re-took the lead 22-16.

Undaunted, Minety hit back.  After Howse and Garland were held up on the line, McAllister seized the ball, dummied the defence and crossed for his second try.  Garland kicked the conversion and Minety now led 23-22.

Minety pushed on but were punished for their endeavours when Warminster broke free deep in their own half and the winger ran in for a try beneath the posts from 40 metres out in the 55th minute.

As the players tired so the game opened up, both teams eschewing defence for attack.  Claxton was held up inches from the line before Howse sidestepped his way through the defence after a break from McAllister.  The conversion struck the post and bounced wide leaving Warminster clinging to a one point lead with 10 minutes to go.

Unfortunately Howse was injured in the process of scoring the try and was replaced by Matt Cross, making an all too rare appearance for Minety.  The influential McAllister was also forced off with an ankle injury, replaced by Club Chairman Ken Wright.

In the final minutes Warminster scored two tries to end the match with a rather flattering 41-28 scoreline.

Man of the Match for Minety: Chris Rule.


Full photograph gallery to follow.  MTV coverage of the match on this website on Wednesday.

Written by Graham Cooke

September 9th, 2018 at 11:48 am

Beaten but unbowed

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A patched up Minety team ended their fine season with a loss at 3rd placed Avonvale in a much closer match than the 31-13 score line suggested.

Scott & Mark Glew

With a number of players facing their 3rd game in 8 days and giving season debuts to Jay Thompson and 47 year old Scott Glew, the village team entered the match knowing that 4th place, in a very competitive league, was assured after the midweek win at Swindon.

Avonvale showed their intent early on with a fine crossfield move through their backs which stretched the Minety defence but the villagers clawed themselves back into the contest, keeping the ball in the forwards and using the pace and power of captain Andrew Hibbard and flanker Ben Sellick to relieve the pressure.

As the game opened up, Minety increasingly relied upon scrum half Garin Garland’s quick breaks and defensive line speed to break up Avonvale’s well organised attacks.

It was no surprise when Avonvale opened the scoring. A six phase move saw the ball out wide on the left and the 1st try was scored.  A fine conversion followed putting the home team 7-0 in the lead.

Minety came back strongly, centres Chris Rule and Jack Howse using their power and pace to push Avonvale back but the village team were unable to transform possession into points against a well organised and disciplined Avonvale defence.

A change in tactics saw a long penalty kick chased down by winger Del Murray near the Avonvale line. Minety chose to run the ensuing penalty and first Sellick and then Garland and Ben Langridge were held up inches from the line.

When Avonvale were penalised again, Garland stroked home the penalty to bring the scores back to 7-3.

Avonvale struck back with their second try in the 28th minute.  After a series of forward based attacks down the left, the play was switched across field for their right winger to touch down near the corner flag.  Another long range conversion was successful and Avonvale led 14-3.

A Garland penalty on the stroke of half time saw the teams change ends with Avonvale 14-6 up.

The opening phases of the 2nd half were evenly contested although Avonvale always looked dangerous when the ball went out wide.

The decisive moment came in the 55th minute.  The physically larger Avonvale team began to dominate a visibly tiring Minety side, many of whom were playing their second match in four days.  With the Avonvale pack pushing Minety back onto their own line, the referee spotted an errant hand on the ball and awarded a penalty try to Avonvale.

When centre Chris Rule picked up a leg injury, 47 year old Scott Glew, making his season debut, joined his son Mark in the Minety front row.

Avonvale’s 4th try came from another forward drive before the ball was moved back for the centre to break the line and touch down beneath the posts.  Yet another successful conversion saw Avonvale stretch their lead to 22 points.

Ben Sellick

A long range penalty in the 75th minute took Avonvale’s advantage to 31-6 but Minety’s grit and resolve was summed up in the last play of the match, and the season, when Sellick intercepted a pass and ran 60 metres to score Minety’s try wide out on the left.

Garland capped a fine individual performance with a conversion to leave the final score Avonvale 31 Minety 13.

Coach Andy Grayson had nothing but praise for his side.  “I thought it was a really great effort from the lads.  They never gave up and fully deserved that try at the end.  At the start of the season I thought we were capable of a 4th place finish and we’ve managed it.”

Written by Graham Cooke

April 29th, 2018 at 3:21 pm

Mission accomplished

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Minety secure 4th place in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North!

Minety were forced to travel to Swindon for their final “home” match of the season, the game being played midweek under lights, in the knowledge that a bonus point win would clinch 4th place in the league at the end of a bruising and injury ravaged season.

Fielding just 15 players and with several playing out of their usual positions, the Minety team rose to the challenge magnificently, winning 39-14 and gaining that necessary bonus point.

Swindon kicked off into a stiff breeze on a firm and well grassed pitch but it was the visitors who dominated the early exchanges, going ahead in the 3rd minute when scrum half Garin Garland slotted home a penalty after Swindon were penalised for a high tackle on the dangerous Minety full back, Matt Roberts.

Just minutes later, flanker Kieran Tillotson had a try ruled out after a pass to him was adjudged to have drifted forward but Minety maintained the pressure and only a fine interception prevented Roberts from scoring after fly half Dave Cooke had broken through the Swindon defence.

Garland extended the lead in the 9th minute with his second penalty.

The young scrum half tormented the Swindon defence with his darting runs and his quickly taken penalty almost saw centre Jack Howse through for the opening try but the ball went to ground.  Garland was on hand when the resulting Swindon scrum was turned by the powerful Minety pack and the ball broke free.  With his conversion successful, Minety led by 13-0.

Swindon fought back and were denied a try by some fine defensive tackling but Minety scored again when powerful centre Jack Howse seized on the ball in midfield, kicked ahead and then won the chase to touch down.  Garland’s conversion sailed between the posts and Minety were 20-0 up.

Fly half, Dave Cooke

From the kick-off Garland sliced through the Swindon line and ran 60 metres before being hauled down but the ball broke to Tillotson who off loaded for Cooke to score for Minety’s 3rd try and extend the lead to 25.

With the natural light fading, Swindon hit back, their outside  centre crashing through the Minety line to score close to the posts.

As the half reached its end, Number 8 Andrew Hibbard, captaining the team in Tom Claxton’s enforced absence, was held up on the line as Minety chased the 4th, and bonus point winning, try.

The all-important score came in the last play of the half.  Garland intercepted a pass on his own 22 and sprinted away before passing to outside centre Ben Kingston, making only his second 1st XV appearance of the season, who ran in from just inside his own half to touch down under the posts.  Garland’s 3rd successful conversion took the half time score to 32-7.

With the wind behind them and the floodlights taking effect, Swindon dominated the early stages of the second half and both Roberts and Tillotson put in bone jarring tackles to hold back the tide.

Hibbard and centre Chris Rule held up a Swindon forwards’ move as Minety’s defence held firm and it was only a last ditch tackle from prop Rob Hinwood beneath the posts that prevented a try.

Against the run of play, it was Minety who scored next.  Winger Ben Langridge intercepted a pass on his 10 metre line, drove forward before Howse fed Cooke, who ran in to touch down from 40 metres out.  Garland’s conversion stretched the lead to 39-7.

Swindon struck back with a try from one of their forwards, the successful conversion ending the scoring at 39-14 leaving Minety to manage the final 20 minutes of play.

The village team might have had a 6th try late on when a fine backs’ move deep in their own 22 released winger Steve White, who ran 50 metres before being hauled down by Swindon’s last line of defence.  The winger was subsequently forced off with a head injury and Minety had to play out the final 10 minutes with just 14 players.

Coach Andy Grayson was full of praise for his team after the win.  “It was a fine all round team performance.  We achieved what we set out to do, gain that win and the bonus point, and did it against a spirited and doughty Swindon side.  A number of performances caught the eye but Man of the Match must go to Dave Cooke, playing his first ever match at fly half, who took his two tries well and impressed throughout.”

Minety now travel to Avonvale on Saturday for their final match of the season, secure in the knowledge that 4th place in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 is theirs.

Earlier Minety 2nd XV ended their league campaign, beaten by league champions Corsham in a tight game by 26-10 at Minety Fields.


Written by Graham Cooke

April 27th, 2018 at 11:45 am

Minety turn on the style

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Minety turn on the style.

With the 1st XV match conceded by visitors Pewsey Vale, all eyes turned on the 2nd XV’s match away at Bath Saracens in Dorset and Wilts Division 3.

The match, played at Oldfields RFC very attractive venue, pitched 6th placed Bath Saracens against 8th placed Minety and gave visiting coach Andy Grayson a chance to look at some of the emerging talent in the 2nd XV.

Man of the Match, James Nickson

The visitors started the match pushing the Saracens back into their own 22 and dominating the open play, teenage scrum half James Nickson martialling his troops with an assurity which belied his youth and relative inexperience.

With hooker Mark Glew’s powerful running in midfield and the dangerous full back Ben Kingston always looking for counter attacking opportunities, Minety applied pressure across the pitch but were unable to find a way through Saracens’ well organised defence.

Veteran 2nd row Phil Ward was dominant at the back of the line out and Minety enjoyed quality ball so it was something of a surprise that they failed to open the scoring before the 27th minute.

A series of rucks near the Saracens line ended with the dangerous Glew taking the ball at pace and slicing through the defence for the first try.  NIckson’s long range conversion was a success and Minety led 7-0.

Minety doubled their lead 4 minutes later with one of the tries of the season.  From a scrum just outside of his own 22, Nicksen picked up the ball and dummied the Saracens’ defence before streaking clear, side stepping the full back and toughing down beneath the posts.  His conversion sailed between the uprights and Minety led 14-0.

Glew scored his 2nd, and Minety’s 3rd try from a forwards’ pushover just before half time as coach Grayson made a number of changes, experimenting with players playing in unaccustomed positions.

With both teams making full use of bench players in the very hot sunshine, Minety started the 2nd half 19-0 up.

They wrapped up the 4 try bonus point in the 48th minute.  Nickson fed replacement fly half Dave Cooke.  His long pass was caught by centre Bram Coleman, whose flicked pass set Garin Garland in for a try near the posts.  Coleman kicked the conversion to put the visitors 26 points clear.

In the energy sapping conditions, it was great credit to both teams for the high pace that the game was played at.

Despite the score line, Saracens continued to play open, attacking rugby and richly deserved their opening try in the 63rd minute.  After a fluent backs’ move along the line, play switched in field and a clever “grubber” kick through the Minety line allowed the home side’s inside centre to touch down under the posts.

Minety hit back with some forceful running from the powerful Gareth Thomas but it was the home side who scored next with a fine “length of the pitch” try involving 6 players before the scrum half touched down beneath the posts.  The successful conversion brought the scores back to 26-14.

All chances of an unlikely comeback were halted 2 minutes later when centre Del Murray cleverly picked his way through the home defence to score under the posts.

The 6th Minety try came in the 77th minute when the impressive Kingston broke through to touch down, Coleman converting to end the match 40-14 in Minety’s favour.

Coach Grayson was delighted with the performance of the whole squad but singled out James Nickson for particular praise after a Man of the Match performance.

Minety’s win lifts them into 7th place in the league with one fixture remaining of the season against champions Corsham.

In Division 1, Minety’s home walkover and Warminster’s defeat at home to Avonvale mean that the village side lie 4 points behind Warminster with two matches in hand in the fight for 4th place in the league.

Written by Graham Cooke

April 22nd, 2018 at 12:15 pm