Minety RFC

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A harsh lesson for Minety

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Minety’s run of losses in the Dorset and Wilts league was extended to three on Saturday when they were taught a harsh lesson in finishing by a confident and well drilled Avonvale side.  The Batheaston unit, beaten only three times this season, twice by runaway leaders Combe Down, ran in 9 tries to inflict a heavy 57 – 3 defeat of Andy Grayson’s patched up Minety side, although the casual watcher would have thought the sides much more evenly matched with Minety dominating both possession and territory, especially in a second half where they were camped on the Avonvale line for long periods.

With club captain Tom Claxton still out with a head injury, Andrew Hibbard captained a team which gave Ned Lockwood his first team debut and brought in a number of second teamers to raise a basic 15 players.

On a pitch that dropped at least 10 feet from one touchline to the other, the game kicked off under grey skies and a whirling cold wind.

Much of Avonvale’s success has been built upon their confident handling and speed of attack and Minety were forced to defend their line in the first minute, debutant Lockwood and Jay Thompson being called upon to make try saving tackles as Minety tried to organise their line.

Avonvale opened the scoring with a well worked try by the right hand corner flag.  From a lineout on the other side of the pitch the ball was moved quickly cross field for the winger to touch down.

Captain Andrew Hibbard

Hibbard looked to have broken through for an equalising try soon after but play was brought back when the assistant referee indicated a foot had touched the line.

Minety’s lineout, without regular catcher Ben Scott, also out with a head injury, held up well, Matt Chisholm in only his second match of the season, taking the ball confidently and providing good ball to the new half back pairing of Del Murray and Will Mason.

Strong tackling in midfield from Morgan Aubrey, second row Matt Stone and centre Bram Coleman kept Avonvale at bay as the home side opted for an open attacking style with Minety content to keep the ball in tight.

Minety on the attack

Minety’s attacking cost them dear in the 18th minute.  Avonvale gathered a loose ball in mid field and, after a suspiciously forward looking pass, broke the line, their second row ran in to touch down beneath the posts.  The conversion was successful and Minety were 12-0 down.  Minety struck back and centre Jack Howse, Stone and prop Colin French were all held up by a well disciplined and resolute Avonvale defence.

As Minety pressed Avonvale were penalised on a number of occasions as Hibbard drove his forwards towards the line.  Tempers flared up in the 26th minute as the battle intensified and the referee had to speak to both captains to calm the situation down.

Chris Rule and Ned Lockwood combine to keep out a try

Avonvale’s 3rd try came in the 28th minute.  With Minety desperately pressing for a try, a chip over the Avonvale defence was caught by the full back who launched an impressive attack featuring three quick passes to allow the fly half a run in from half way with the Minety defence caught upfield.

Fly half Will Mason, in his second appearance of the season, posted Minety’s first score in the 32nd minute with a long range penalty after Aubrey had been illegally cleared out of a ruck.

Morgan Aubrey “cleared” out of a ruck

Avonvale ended the half strongly with two tries in stoppage time, the first a push over from a scrum, the second a run in by the centre after play had broken down in midfield.

The villagers were reduced to 14 players in the opening minute of the second half when Howse picked up a leg injury with no players available to replace him on the bench. Avonvale capitalised on the advantage, plundering a try on the short side after a ruck near the Minety line. The 7th try came from another breakaway.  A Minety attack down the right broke down in the home 22 and a swift attacking move down the left involving four players saw the full back cross for a try which he converted to take Avonvale into a 43-3 point lead.

Ben Langridge tackled

A solo effort from scrum half Murray was taken on by Hibbard and Rule before Lockwood was held up over the line as Minety pushed for their first try.  In the next passage of play Stone, French, Murray and Hibbard all went desperately close but were kept out by the impressive Avonvale defence.

A wonderfully mazy run by Mason, beating three players, was halted on the Avonvale 22 and when Hibbard caught the clearance kick and ran it back it seemed certain that Minety would score but Stone, now playing in the centre, and full back Chris Rule both went close without being able to breach the defensive line.

Will Mason breaks free

Minety’s chances of salvaging anything from the match went with 10 minutes to go when winger Langridge suffered a re-occurrence of an ankle injury that had kept him out for a month earlier in the season and then hooker Jay Thompson suffered a shoulder injury which necessitated huge changes to the organisation of the pack.

Ned Lockwood held up over the line

Desperately tired and outnumbered all over the pitch, Minety were unable to hold out and Avonvale’s prop scored close to the posts with 3 minutes left and the Batheaston outfit finished the game with a further breakaway converted try in stoppage time to run out 57-3 victors.

Chris Rule breaks through

Coach Andy Grayson had nothing but praise for his side after the match.  “Thanks to all who played, many out of position.  I couldn’t have asked for more effort.  We were down to 14 men at the start of the 2nd half and then lost two more to significant injuries but the team kept going and I thought they were desperately unlucky not to score at least one try, especially since we had so much possession and territory.  Special mention to Ned Lockwood, making his debut on the wing; I thought he had a great game and was so unlucky not to score mid-way through the second half.  My joint men of the match were Morgan Aubrey, for his tremendous tackling, and Andrew Hibbard for his attacking play.”

Batterde and bruised, joint man of the match, Morgan Aubrey

Next week Minety take on Calne at home, hoping to arrest a slide that has now cast them adrift of the top sides, sitting in 7th place 7 points behind Trowbridge and 12 ahead of 8th placed Sutton Benger.

The “Brains Trust”



Written by Graham Cooke

February 10th, 2019 at 11:06 am

Minety misery mired in the mud

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Minety’s bright start to 2019 has hit the buffers hard.  After two fine wins at the start of the month, Andy Grayson’s team have now suffered back to back losses against Sutton Benger and Trowbridge, teams that they would have expected to beat earlier in the campaign.

Saturday’s 15 – 0 defeat by fellow mid table team Trowbridge was the first time that Minety have suffered a “shut out” since March 2018, when they were on the end of a hammering by eventual champions Bradford on Avon.

On a pitch dampened by a pre match shower and in rather blustery conditions, the home side kicked off up the slope, the team showing a number of changes to the line-up, with, once again, numerous players playing out of their usual positions.

Early signs were good with the new half back combination of Garin Garland and Dave Cooke using their powerful forwards to push Trowbridge back.  Flanker Mark Glew was only stopped inches from the line in the 2nd minute while number 8 Andrew Hibbard was on the end of another move that ended with a thumping tackle close to the visitors line as Minety sought an early lead.

Garin Garland before his injury

Having seen off Minety’s early pressure, Trowbridge kicked their way into home territory and began to move the slippery ball confidently but were thwarted by fine tackles from winger Chris Rule, flanker Morgan Aubrey and full back Duncan Simpson.

Trowbridge opened the scoring in the 7th minute.  A missed tackle in midfield allowed their fly half to slice through the Minety defence and, although he was stopped, the ball broke to the outside centre who cleverly cut back against the direction of play to touch down beneath the posts. The conversion was straight forward and Trowbridge led 7-0.

For the second week running an injury proved pivotal to the outcome of the game.  Last week Minety lost specialist fly half Sam Hughes to a concussion; this week it was Minety’s top point scorer and play maker scrum half Garland, suffering a dislocated shoulder in the 12th minute.  The injury forced coach Grayson to make a number of changes, moving flanker Glew to scrum half and shuffling his pack, introducing Matt Chisholm to the action.

The Minety pack, which despite being smaller than most opposition 8’s, has been dominant this season, once again proved its worth, pushing Trowbridge back.  When Hibbard picked up at the back of a scrum and dived for the line most thought Minety had scored; sadly, the referee didn’t see it that way and brought play back for a reset scrum.  Despite all of their pressure, Minety were unable to score and the game became a forwards battle in midfield although Trowbridge always looked dangerous when the play became open and their quick backs could attack down the flanks.

Hibbard reaches for the line

Another break down the middle almost saw Trowbridge through for their second try but the ball was dislodged in a tackle allowing Matt Stone to counter attack down the wing, with Hibbard in support as Minety tried to clear their lines.  With props Colin French and Andy Darrall tackling hard and closing down space, Minety were able to hold Trowbridge in midfield. 

Minety’s scrum and lineout continued to dominate but with so many positional changes, they lacked the ability to be able to clear their lines and set up the type of flowing rugby that categorised their early season successes.

In the final minute of the half Trowbridge increased their lead with a penalty to end the half 10-0 to the good.

The visitors started the second half strongly but once again, fearless tackling from the Minety players, notably Aubrey and fellow flanker Gareth Peirce, held them back as both teams sought to move the ball on a pitch that was cutting up quickly.  Free running centre Jack Howse was always a threat to the visitors while the pack held firm and Ben Scott and Hibbard continued their domination at lineout.

Ben Scott takes another lineout

Coach Grayson brought on Gareth Thomas for Darrall on the hour and introduced Del Murray at fly half, moving Cooke back to his accustomed position on the wing.

Trowbridge effectively settled the match shortly after with their second try, scored by their centre as the Minety defence tried to re-organise.  The conversion was successfully charged down by Simpson but with the rain falling and the scrummages now deemed “uncontested” after Trowbridge withdrew a prop and were unable to replace him, Minety’s final chances slipped away in the mud.

Morgan Aubrey & Chris Rule tackle

Coach Grayson was philosophical at the end.  “I thought we put in and immense effort and I can’t fault any of the 18 players who wore the Minety shirt.  We had so many players in unaccustomed positions and no real system to fall back on but they gave everything.  For his tackling and rucking, my Man of the Match must go to Morgan Aubrey.”

Man of the Match: Morgan Aubrey

Next week Minety have a very welcome week off.


Written by Graham Cooke

January 27th, 2019 at 10:51 am

Grayson’s selection nightmare mired in the mud

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Minety’s topsy turvy season took another unexpected twist when the team lost narrowly away to local rivals Sutton Benger 18-17 on a rain sodden and muddy pitch.

Minety coach Andy Grayson must be wondering what else this season has in store after a selection nightmare for the game. Already without his two starting wingers, further injuries picked up last week deprived him of the influential pair of Jack Ward and Matt Roberts and then he lost leading points scorer, scrum half Garin Garland on the morning of the match.

The patched up Minety team started with a prop, Mark Glew, at scrum half, two flankers playing on the wings and a winger, Steve White, at full back.

With the rain falling steadily, Minety kicked off against a strong Benger team who have progressed well in Division 1 after their promotion last season.  The early play was untidy, the wet ball making possession through phases difficult and the slippery ground halting backs moves almost before they had started.

Minety’s hat trick hero from last week, fly half Sam Hughes began to exert his presence on the game making short bursts in midfield and kicking over the top very effectively to release pressure.

It was Hughes who opened the scoring in the 8th minute with a 25 metre penalty kick after a Benger infringement at a ruck. The home side hit back just two minutes later when Callum Harford stroked home a penalty from a similar distance after Minety were caught offside.

With pitch conditions deteriorating fast, the game became mired in midfield.  Minety’s quick backs were unable to move the ball effectively and it was down to the experienced Hughes to manage the plays and kick the ball downfield to break up play and allow Minety to reset.

Minety regained the lead in the 26th minute.  After a series of assaults on the home line had been halted, Minety were awarded a scrum 5 metres out and No. 8 Andrew Hibbard was on hand at the back of the scrum to pick up and drive over for a try.  Hughes kicked the conversion and Minety led by 10-3.

Andrew Hibbard reaches for the line to score Minety’s try in the first half.

Benger struck back, pinning Minety into their own half, moving the ball amongst the forwards and rucking effectively to maintain possession.  The pressure told in the 31st minute when the ball was moved through a number of phases out to the right where a try was scored close to the corner flag.

Perhaps the pivotal moment of the match came just before half time when fly half Hughes was concussed after a heavy tackle and had to be withdrawn.  Coach Grayson was forced to replace his fly half with a prop, Andy Darrall, and re-shuffle his team, now with no experience at half back and little experience elsewhere.

Minety re-organised at half time, centre Jack Howse now playing at fly half for the first time in his career at Minety.  The incessant drizzle had made any sort of open play impossible as players sought grip in the mire.

A long range Harford penalty early in the 2nd half fell short as play became bogged down in midfield, with the physically larger and more settled home team shading both possession and territory.

Benger took the lead for the first time in the game in the 60th minute when one of the game’s only backs moves saw the ball moved swiftly across the pitch for the left wing to touch down near the corner flag.

In the physically taxing conditions, exhausted players began to make mistakes and the game became fragmented.

Fowards battle in the mud

Benger extended their lead in the 77th minute.  Minety were unable to clear their lines and a when a clearance kick fell short the ball was run back.  From a ruck near to the line, Benger moved the ball right and crossed for a try to extend their lead by 18-10.

Needing two scores to win the game, Minety launched a concerted attack on the home line.  A clever chip from stand in full back White almost saw winger Matt Stone in on the right but the Benger defence held out.

As the game entered stoppage time, Benger were penalised in the scrum as Minety pushed them back onto their own line.  After a series of furious attacks close in Benger were again penalised and when the Minety forwards pushed over a home player disrupted the play as Hibbard was about to touch down leaving the referee with no alternative but to award a penalty try.

Over the line – Minety’s penalty try

There was no time for a re-start so Benger took the league points with an 18-17 victory.

Try telling him defeat doesn’t hurt – photo by Caroline Stone

Afterwards coach Andy Grayson said, “I cannot fault our effort or commitment. Everyone gave 100%.  The conditions made it a forward battle and when we lost Sam Hughes we simply couldn’t compensate for the loss.  My Minety Man of the Match had to come from the front row and I chose prop Colin French for his tremendous all round performance in terrible conditions.”

Coach Andy Grayson with his players at the end.

Next week Minety will hope to get their revenge on Trowbridge after a narrow defeat earlier in the season.


Written by Graham Cooke

January 20th, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Hughes hat trick as Minety hit 50

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Hat trick hero, Sam Hughes

2019 has started really well for Minety, as they followed up their impressive victory over Royal Wootton Bassett last week with a crushing 50 -0 win over struggling Supermarine at Minety Fields on Saturday.

Coach Andy Grayson was forced into making 5 changes from last week’s team through injury but used the opportunity to welcome back flanker Kieran Tillotson and full back Matt Roberts, the latter after a long term back injury.

Minety started the match in 7th place in Dorset and Wiltshire Division 1 whilst Supermarine found themselves at the bottom, without a league win to their name this season.

The home team kicked off, playing up the slope, and immediately began playing some of their hallmark rugby, moving the ball swiftly through their mobile forwards to their pacey backs.  In the first minute only a fine defensive tackle prevented winger Duncan Simpson from scoring on the left wing.

It took the home side just 2 minutes to register their first try.  Scrum half Garin Garland fired the ball to fly half Sam Hughes.  The ball went swiftly on, via centre Jack Ward, to Roberts whose pace and guile split the defence wide open allowing winger Chris Rule to score wide on the right.

Chris Rule scores 1st try

Another marvellous run from Roberts, surely the most talented and exciting back in the league when fit, almost set up Hughes and then a break from Number 8 Andrew Hibbard and second row Ben Collins faltered close to the line.

Supermarine, faced with a confident and adventurous Minety, bellied their league position with some excellent tackling and rucking but were always on the back foot.  Minety should have increased their lead on several occasions but over-elaborated plays when a simpler option would have been more productive.

Minety’s 2nd try came in the 11th minute.  A clever chip by Simpson panicked the defence and from the ensuing scrum Garland found the illusive Hughes who sided stepped his way under the posts for the first of his three tries.  Garland converted and Minety were 12 – 0 up.

Sam Hughes crosses for try 2

The third try came straight from the re-start.  Prop Mark Glew caught the ball and then a play involving half of the Minety side saw them up to the Supermarine line.  When 2nd row Ben Scott was tackled metres from the line, Garland found captain Tom Claxton who set up a ruck and it was Collins who reacted first to pick up and score his 2nd try of the season.  Garland’s conversion took Minety to 19 points.

Ben Collins scores try No. 3

Three tries down after 14 minutes would have seen some other clubs buckle under the pressure, but to their credit Supermarine fought back, keeping the ball in tight and denying Minety the space to set up their attacks.

Both Rule and centre Jack Howse probably should have scored before half time but the speed and complexity of the moves led to the ball being lost at the crucial moment with the line beckoning.

When Supermarine did break out of their own half they looked dangerous but superb tackling from Garland, Simpson and Roberts kept them out. The visitors mounted a concerted assault on the Minety line in the closing minutes of the first half but were met with a steely resolve from the home team not to concede any points.

Minety lost combative flanker Jay Thompson to a yellow card early in the second half and then Glew was forced off with a thigh injury, Morgan Aubrey coming on for his 3rd appearance of the season.

Supermarine were reduced to 14 men when their full back saw red after an off the ball incident halted a superb Minety move involving Roberts, Aubrey, Ward and Garland.

Minety’s 4th, and bonus point winning try, came in the 54th minute.  After a move broke down in midfield it was Ward who reacted quickest to a loose ball to run in and score under the posts, Garland converting and the home team now in complete control 26-0 up.

Jack Ward beneath the posts for try No. 4

It was Howse who scored the 5th just three minutes later, ending a move across the pitch and beating three defenders to score out wide on the left.

Jack Howse scores No. 5

In the last ten minutes Minety scored three tries.  In the 72nd Ward and Aubrey combined to tackle and win the ball on the half way line and when Garland fed Howse his flick pass to Simpson saw the winger streak clear to run half the length of the pitch and score beneath the posts.

Duncan Simpson races in for try No. 6

Hughes added Minety’s 7th, and his second, try in the 76th minute, on hand to collect a pass and scythe through to score near the posts, Garland converting.

Sam Hughes grabs No. 7

In stoppage time the impressive Hughes collected his hat trick.  Garland’s tap penalty on the half way line was taken on by Hibbard who passed to Hughes 35 metres out. Somehow the young fly half beat 4 defenders to score a fine try and cap an excellent individual performance.

Sam Hughes caps a fine performance with a hat trick try

Minety almost grabbed a 9th with the final move of the game but Hughes again was denied by a last ditch tackle metres from the line.

Coach Andy Grayson was very pleased with the result.  “We set out to deny them any points, and we did, and we wanted to play our expansive game, which we did.  We scored some nice tries but we did over play some situations.  I know Sam Hughes had a terrific game but my Man of the Match goes to the returning Matt Roberts whose running and tackling was superb throughout.”

Man of the Match: Matt Roberts

Next week Minety make the short journey to Sutton Benger.

Written by Graham Cooke

January 13th, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Minety battle back to form against Bassett

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All local derby matches are keenly fought and the one which pitched 7th placed Minety against 5th placed Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday was no exception.

It was the village team who emerged victors at the end of a full bloodied affair, storming back from 14-5 down to win 25 – 17 and complete a noteworthy double over their more illustrious neighbours.

The home team, playing down the slope, started brightly, taking the first scrum and sending scrum half Garin Garland down the right.  A high tackle halted his run but Minety opted for a scrum rather than a penalty and their enterprise was rewarded when No. 8 Andrew Hibbard picked up at the base of the scrum and charged the Bassett line.  Further attacks from captain Tom Claxton and flanker Ash Windle were held up but temporary scrum half James Nicksen reversed the direction of play and a fine backs’ move saw the recovering Garland drive over for the opening score in the 4th minute.

Garland scores Minety’s 1st try

Bassett struck back immediately, pinning the home team back in their 22 and moving the ball confidently from side to side as they sought to breach the Minety line.  Only some fearless tackling from centre Jack Howse, flanker Jay Thompson and fly half Tom McAllister kept the Minety line intact but they were helpless to prevent the opening Bassett score.  A long flighted pass split the home defence and the full back was on hand to score near the posts.  The conversion was successful and Bassett led 7-5.

The visitors had clearly rattled a Minety team who had lost their previous 4 matches and only a last gasp tackle from prop Mark Glew prevented a breakaway try direct from the kick off.

Matters worsened for the home team seconds later when full back Ben Langridge suffered nasty ankle ligament damage in a tackle, an injury that could keep him out for several weeks.  Coach Andy Grayson was forced to reorganise, shuffling the back line and bringing on Jack Ward, himself still not match fit after an injury before Christmas.

The visitors increased their lead in the 16th minute from another slick backs’ move which ended with a lovely line from the full back to break the home defence.  Another successful conversion and Bassett had stretched their advantage to 14-5.

The home team struck back, dominating the scrummage and disrupting the Bassett line out and after another burst into the opposition 22 by the powerful Hibbard, Garland fired a pass out to Claxton, unusually positioned out on the wing, and the Minety captain scored his first points of the season wide out on the left.  Garland’s huge conversion kick drifted agonisingly wide but Minety were back in the match just 10-14 down.

Claxton scores Minety’s 2nd try

With both teams playing some lovely rugby, the pace of the game actually increased as did the ferocity of the tackling.  Minety were reduced to 14 players when Ward saw yellow after he took exception to a tackle and its aftermath.

Bassett increased their lead with a penalty in the 29th minute after the home side were caught off side at a ruck.

Minety managed the yellow card period by continuing to dominate at set pieces and through some hard tackling from second rowers Ben Collins and Ben Scott allied to some clever tactical kicking from Tom McAllister and penetrative running from centres Sam Hughes and Chris Rule.

With Ward back on the pitch, Minety took a scrum and attacked down the right. A tap penalty taken by Hibbard saw the No. 8 batter the Bassett defence and the ball was swiftly passed along the line to Nicksen on the right wing, who scored despite a neck high tackle.  The referee awarded Minety a penalty try to bring the scores level at half time.

James Nicken is caught by a high tackle scoring Minety’s 3rd try

Bassett kicked off the 2nd half with the advantage of the slope, usually considered to be worth at least two scores, and Claxton’s team knew that they had their hands full to arrest a slide that has taken them down the league in recent weeks.

With their dominance of set pieces still intact, Minety pushed for the bonus point winning 4th try and looked to have had it when Hibbard picked up at the base of a scrum, charged forward and slipped the ball to the unguarded Garland to run through but the pass was considered forward and play was brought back.  Seconds later another scrum against the head saw Hibbard almost in at the corner before a cross field kick to Hughes ended with the centre held up inches short.  From the recycle, Minety moved the ball along the line and Howse seemed to be over for a try but the ball was dislodged as he dived for the line.

Minety were dominant at this stage, playing their best rugby of the season, and Bassett only held them out with fully committed tackling, rucking and some tactical kicking.

Minety lost centre Hughes to a leg injury, Dave Church coming on to replace him in the centre in the 53rd minute.  The attritional nature of the game saw Howse down after a heavy tackle.  Garland’s penalty attempt in the 60th minute floated wide as both teams fought to break the deadlock.

Minety thought they had a try shortly after when Ward crossed but once again it was brought back, the ball again being dislodged by a defender’s hand.

Tempers flared shortly after and the referee had to separate the two teams and speak to the captains.

Bassett were reduced to 14 men after a yellow card for a high tackle in the 66th minute and Garland stroked home the penalty to put Minety ahead by 20-17.

With both teams now playing some of the most impressive and aggressive rugby seen at Minety this season, something was sure to give and the visitors were reduced to 13 men in the 73rd minute when a player was shown a second yellow and dismissed for another high tackle.

Minety introduced Matt Roberts, back after a long term injury, in the 73rd minute to replace Church but then Windle suffered ankle ligament damage and Church was forced back on to replace him for a frantic last 5 minutes.

The match was settled in stoppage time with the move of the match.  Ward set up a ruck just outside his own 22.  Claxton ran a dummy line and allowed Garland to find Rule who broke through the line, releasing Hibbard.  The No. 8 burst forward up to the Bassett 22 before passing to Garland who scored by the corner flag to put Minety 25-17 up and secure the league bonus point.

Garin celebrates after scoring the 4th try in stoppage time

Garland was yellow carded as Bassett made a desperate last attempt on the Minety line but the home side held out magnificently.

Afterwards coach Grayson praised his teams all round performance.  “We did make it hard for ourselves at times but I can’t fault any of the 18 players who played today.  Special mention must go to centres Chris Rule and Jack Howse and young James Nicksen, but it was the pack that really won it for us and I thought Tom Claxton was a deserved Man of the Match.”

Man of the Match, Tom Claxton


Written by Graham Cooke

January 6th, 2019 at 11:45 am

Minety’s slide continues

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Minety slipped to a 4th straight defeat on Saturday at Pewsey Vale in a match played in possibly the worst conditions this correspondent has witnessed in over 40 years of watching rugby.  In driving rain and a biting wind, the village team, who were only able to field 15 players in total, were beaten 17 – 7 by Pewsey Vale.

The match started 15 minutes early when it was clear that the light was fading fast and the weather was only going to get worse.

James Nicksen

With young James Nicksen, just back from university, thrust into the fly half role and Morgan Aubrey promoted to play No. 8, Tom Claxton’s team faced a huge challenge even before the kick off.

Pewsey, who themselves have found it hard to field full teams regularly this season, started promisingly and their large pack were soon driving Minety back deep in to their own 22.  Two early attacks were only halted by last minute tackles as the skies darkened, the temperature plummeted, the rain increased and spectators were forced back into the club house.

As Minety tried to organise their defences and counteract the conditions, Pewsey opened up the scoring with a try on the right hand side.  The conversion was missed.

Morgan Aubrey

Often caught out by the slippery conditions underfoot and the wet ball, Minety’s pacey backs found themselves enveloped time and time again by the Pewsey defence and it was not until Nicksen started to kick over the top that play moved into the Pewsey half.  This more enterprising approach paid dividends in the 20th minute when, from a forward’s move close to the home line, scrum half Garin Garland picked up the ball and scrambled over near the posts for Minety’s try.  Garland converted the try and Minety led 7 -5.

By this time Mark Glew, who in previous weeks had played at prop, hooker and scrum half, and now found himself in the unaccustomed role of flanker, had picked up a nasty blow to the jaw.  Clearly feeling the effects of the injury he was withdrawn and, without any substitutes, the village team were down to 14 players.  The situation became worse when shortly after Minety’s free running centre Jack Howse attempted an interception, slipped on the slimy surface and fell, catching his head on a Pewsey player’s knee.  With his withdrawal Minety were down to 13 players yet held out against the odds for 15 minutes before they conceded a try just before half time.

With Pewsey leading 12 – 7 and the conditions worsening by the minute, a severely curtailed half time was spent in a huddle out on the pitch before the second half began.

3. Andy Darrell

The 13 soon became 12 when Minety’s other flanker Jay Thompson injured his shoulder and was withdrawn.  Somehow the village team held out with forwards Colin French, Andy Darrall, Ash Windle, Ben Scott and Aubrey putting in huge covering defensive tackles to keep Pewsey out. 

Home pressure began to tell and when Pewsey picked up their third try, exploiting their numerical advantage, the match was effectively over.  The Minety players, tired after a long run of matches and hopelessly outnumbered, tried their best but it was not to be.  The match was eventually ended 8 minutes from time when scrum half Garland was injured and Minety could no longer field a viable team.

The loss, against a team they should have comfortably beaten, demonstrated the threat that an overburdening fixture list can have upon a small club like Minety.  The village team now find themselves in 7th place in the league and adrift of the top four spot that they targeted at the start of the season.

The villagers, who try to field two teams, one in Division 1 and the other in Division 3, have enjoyed just one match free Saturday since 1st September.  In what was their 14th match of the season, Minety, who battled their way through to the Dorset and Wiltshire Senior Vase Final, have had an unbroken run of 9 consecutive Saturday matches and now have not won since defeating Chippenham on the 17th November.

Coach Andy Grayson cut a frustrated figure at the end of the match.  “All credit to Pewsey, who did all that was needed to win the match, but we were battling numbers and the conditions and simply could not keep going.  Everyone gave their all and one only had to look at Ben Scott, who has played in 13 matches since September, to see how exhausted and disappointed the whole team are.  We now have two Saturdays free before we start on the second half of what has been a very difficult season for the club.”

Joint Men of the Match for Minety Andy Darrall and Morgan Aubrey.

Written by Graham Cooke

December 16th, 2018 at 11:12 am

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