Minety RFC

Archive for the ‘Match Reports’ Category

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

Minety grab bonus point

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Ordinarily a 20-15 point defeat would not be viewed as a positive, but Minety coach Andy Grayson was both relieved, to have captured one league point, and surprised by the efforts of a very much patched up Minety team.

Seven of the 18 man squad had not played 1st team rugby this season and for three of them, it was their first taste of competitive rugby since last season.  To emerge from a close fought encounter with such a narrow defeat spoke volumes for both the commitment and spirit of the Minety team.

In a match played, unusually, under sunny skies and on a near perfect pitch at Melksham, Minety kicked off and more than matched their more organised opponents in the opening encounters, especially in the scrum and lineout play.

Minety took the lead in the 10th minute from a Garin Garland penalty after Melksham were caught off-side 20 metres from their line.

Garland extended the lead 3 minutes later with another well taken penalty.

Minety pressurised the Melksham defence with some fine forward work and in the 18th minute a rolling maul made 20 metres only to be halted right on the Melksham line while Garland was held up on the line just moments later.

Garland kicked his third penalty after centre Jack Howse had broken through and been brought to ground inches from the line.

The village side held out until the 34th minute when a fluent move along the line saw Melksham’s winger cross for the game’s first try wide out on the right.

Garland’s injury time penalty in front of the posts saw Minety enter the half time break 12-5 up.

Melksham started the 2nd half strongly and their efforts were rewarded with a try in the 42nd minute.  A cross field move and a deft cut back by their hooker opened up the visitors’ defence for the second try.

When flanker, Gareth Peirce, himself making his first appearance of the season, was injured, Club President Andy Ward, one of three veterans making up the Minety bench with a combined age of 164, was forced into action.

The Minety bench: Ken Wright, Phil Ward and Andy Ward

With Garland, prop Mark Glew and hard charging Andrew Hibbard making inroads down the middle, Minety re-grouped and more than matched the home side.

Fly half John Blair’s fine solo run was halted metres from the line and follow ups from full back Ben Kingston and winger Dave Cooke were thwarted by a hastily re-arranged Melksham defence.

In the 60th minute the Minety forwards pushed Melksham back and Garland’s solo effort was held up short as the village side strove for their first try.

Perhaps the turning point in the match came when Minety’s influential captain Tom Claxton was forced off with a nasty looking ankle injury and then Melksham were awarded a try after it appeared that the ball was knocked on over the line.

Melksham’s 4th try came in the 73rd minute and one might have expected the visibly tiring Minety side to cave in but instead they pushed Melksham back and when Garland slotted his 5th penalty of the match the result was still in the balance.

Minety threw caution to the wind in the last minutes of the game, Garland and the impressive flanker Ben Sellick taking play from beneath their posts into midfield to set up another wave of Minety attacks.

But it was not to be and the match ended with Melksham taking the points by 20-15 although Minety’s losing bonus point keeps them in with a slim chance of a top four position come the end of the season.

Coach Andy Grayson said after the match: “They ought to be proud of what they did over the course of 80 minutes; I know I am.  We had so many players new to the squad with others playing out of position but they gave their all and you can’t ask more than that.

The game plan worked well in the first half but we tired in the 2nd and allowed them to come back into the match.  Even so, with a couple of breaks going our way, we could have won it.

“We now have three matches to go and need wins in all of them.  Hopefully, some of our injury hit squad will be back for those matches as we chase 4th place in the league.”

nb  The combined age of the Minety bench was 164.  164 years ago, in 1854, Victoria was still on the throne, the 4th Earl of Aberdeen was Prime Minister, Britain declared war on Russia and so the Crimean War started, Florence Nightlingale prepared to leave for the Crimea, Franklin Pierce was the US president and the California Gold Rush was into its final year.  The American civil war was still 7 years away!

Written by Graham Cooke

April 15th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Minety dig deep for win

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Gareth Thomas

Minety overcame local rivals Chippenham 31-26 in a hard fought Dorset and Wilts Division 1 match on Saturday.

The visitors needs a win after two heavy defeats at the hands of table topping Bradford on Avon and Combe Down and responded magnificently to captain Tom Claxton’s call for a return to the free flowing rugby that served them so well earlier in the season.

Fighting for a top four finish to the campaign, Minety knew that nothing short of a win would suffice against a resurgent Chippenham team just two places below them in the league table.

The village team, desperately struggling for match fit players, was forced to field just one substitute for the game as a very competitive and physical league campaign has stretched playing resources almost to breaking point.

Try 1: Garin Garland

Against a big Chippenham side, Minety dominated the early exchanges and took the lead with a fine try near to the posts in the 5th minute.  Full back Duncan Simpson’s tap penalty led to a move through the backs to fly half Tom MacAllister.  His surge to the line was halted but a miss move involving scrum half Garin Garland and Claxton saw the former crash over for the try.

Minety continued to enjoy the majority of possession but were often guilty of over playing situations and giving up the ball.

Chippenham equalised in the 20th minute.  A Minety defensive kick was blocked and from a throw in Chippenham gained possession, broke the line and touched down.  The conversion was successful and the teams locked at 7 all.

Chippenham exposed Minety’s defences in the 23rd minute when the Number 8 brushed aside 4 defenders to score wide on the right.

Try 2: Gareth

Aggressive running from the Minety forwards pushed the home team back into their own 22 but despite efforts from Andrew Hibbard, Del Murray and Ben Scott, the home side preserved their

lead until the 39th minute.  After a fine scrum, Number 8 Jack Ward, Garland and Ben Collins were all held up inches from the line but Garland’s swift pass out to prop Gareth Thomas saw the latter register his first try of the season and tie the scores at half time.

Chippenham started the second half strongly, pushing Minety back and the village team struggled to cope with the power of the home pack.  2nd row Ash Windle was shown a yellow card in the 45th minute for a ruck infringement close to the Minety line.

Try 3: Tom McAllister

The 14 men eventually succumbed to the pressure when a fluent Chippenham cross field move and a cut back from their No. 8 saw the latter cross for his second try of the match.  The conversion was successful and the home side led 19-12.

Minety hit back almost immediately with a fine solo effort from McAllister, slicing through the home defence to score from 30 metres out.

With both teams throwing caution to the wind, play moved from end to end at breakneck speed and it was Chippenham who edged further in front in the 57th minute with a close range try after Minety had held up a previous attack on the line.  The successful conversion took the score to 26-17 and Minety’s resistance seemed to be at an end.

However, Claxton’s team turned the match on its head in two dramatic minutes starting in the 63rd.

Try 4: Del Murray

Chippenham lost control of a lineout on the Minety 22 and flanker Murray picked up the loose ball and outpaced the defence to run in a brilliant solo try from 60 metres out.  Garland kicked the long range conversion and Minety were within two points.

From the kick off Minety gathered the ball, Garland fed McAllister who broke the defensive line, drew the full back before passing to centre Jack Howse, who ran in under the posts from 40 metres out.  Garland stroked home the conversion and Minety led 31-26.

In a desperate and breath-taking last 15 minutes, two players from each side were yellow carded and only brilliant tackling from the visitors prevented Chippenham from scoring.

Try 5: Jack Howse

Coach Andy Grayson was pleased and relieved at the end.  “Our defence, especially out wide, was brilliant and we showed the kind of commitment that was lacking in our recent defeats.  They were a tough side and we’re delighted to have completed a league double over them this season.”

The bonus point win takes Minety to 55 league points, one behind 4th placed Warminster, with a game in hand and a slightly easier run in.

In the weekend’s other match, a very patched up Minety 2nd XV lost by 30-10 away at Supermarine.



Written by Graham Cooke

March 25th, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Bradford batter sorry Minety

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Top of the table Bradford on Avon handed out an eight try beating to a struggling Minety team, forced to play their home game at Royal Wootton Bassett after all three Minety pitches failed inspections again.

On a bitterly cold day, with flurries of snow being blasted across the pitch by a biting easterly wind, Minety simply could not manage the pace and power of a Bradford team seeking promotion at the end of the season.

The visitors showed their intent from the kick off, moving the ball out to pacey winger Murray Dewar, who broke through the Minety line and was only stopped from scoring by a magnificent tackle by full back Duncan Simpson.

Simpson and fly half Tom McAllister were called on again to halt the next attack as Bradford threatened the Minety posts as the powerful Bradford pack launched yet another attack.

Bradford took the lead in the 12th minute when flanker Josh Felix stroked home a penalty in front of the posts after Minety were caught off side.  The home team had to wait until the 14th minute to break into the Bradford half when winger Steve White and the industrious Simpson forged an attack wide on the right.

Bradford’s first try came from a break within their own 22.  The ball was passed out to centre Dan Bright who broke the Minety line and sent winger Dewar in for a try in the corner.

The villagers were forced to make changes to their front row when prop Mark Glew picked up an injury but they held on almost until half time, White’s incursions on the right wing pushing Bradford back, but the visitors’ defensive line speed was impressive and gave Minety’s back line precious little space to work in.

Bradford scored their second try in the 36th minute with another break out try scored under the posts by Dewar.  Felix converted and the lead was now 15 points.

The visitors’ third try came almost from the kick off, this time Dewar feeding Bright who ran in from 35 metres to score, Felix converting to leave Minety 22 points down at half time.

Dewar’s hat trick try came in the 47th minute after a fluent backs move as Bradford made good use of the wind to peg Minety back in their own 22.

McAllister and captain Tom Claxton eased the pressure with some direct running, pushing Bradford back into their own half, but the visitors’ tackling and rucking ensured a steady supply of quality ball for their backs to work with.

Dewar’s 4th came in the 64th minute when he found himself on the end of another fine backs’ move to score in the corner.

Exhausted and dispirited, Minety shipped three more tries in the final ten minutes during which time flanker James Stuart was sent off.

Bradford ended the match winners by 51-0 to cement their place at the top of the table.

The only consolation for Minety was that the team immediately below them in the table, Pewsey Vale, were heavily beaten at Trowbridge.

The 2nd XV were awarded a Home Walk Over victory when Melksham conceded their match in D&W3N on Saturday morning.


Written by Graham Cooke

March 18th, 2018 at 12:35 pm

High Fives at Minety

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Minety returned to league action for the first time in over a month with a convincing 5 try 36-0 win over Trowbridge on a very muddy Minety pitch on Saturday.

The village team had lost three recent fixtures to the weather and now face a fixtures backlog that will see them in action every Saturday between now and the end of the season.

Other than the heavy defeat at title chasing Combe Down, Tom Claxton’s team have been impressive in 2018, winning four of their five fixtures and scoring 107 points in their victories whilst conceding just 3.

Minety kicked off playing uphill and with a stiff breeze in their faces.

Early exchanges were fairly even but the home team opened the scoring in the 5th minute.  After a fine break from defence from Andrew Hibbard, Minety’s pack secured a scrum on Trowbridge’s 22.  Scrum half Garin Garland fed Tom McAllister, who orchestrated a complex miss move in the centre to send full back Matt Roberts racing away to score wide on the right.

Minety’s well organised pack dominated at set pieces and cancelled out any advantage that Trowbridge might have derived from the slope and breeze.

Minety increased their lead in the 14th minute, Garland spotting a gap to squeeze through after a period of sustained pressure on the opposition try line.  Garland’s successful conversion put Minety 12 points clear.

Garland’s penalty, after Trowbridge were caught offside, extended the lead to 15 after a series of moves saw captain Tom Claxton, flanker Jack Ward, winger Dave Cooke and prop Mark Glew all held up within inches of the line.

Trowbridge enjoyed their best spell of the match in the final minutes of the first half but some huge defensive tackles from Roberts, prop Gareth Thomas and 2nd row Ben Collins, kept them at bay.

Early on in the league campaign, one criticism that could be levied at Minety was the quality of their tackling.  That weakness is now a strength; every time Trowbridge threatened , Minety put in tackles, halting progress and turning defence in to attack.

Hard charging centre Jack Howse opened the scoring in the second half, intercepting a pass and running 30 metres to score beneath the posts.  Garland’s conversion was successful and Minety lead 22-0.

Howse looked to have sealed the bonus point after Claxton intercepted a pass and had taken play to the Trowbridge line but from the ensuing 5 metre scrummage, the dominant Minety pack drove over the line and Ward touched down to secure the 4 try bonus point after 60 minutes.

Garland kicked the conversion to extend the lead to 29.

Minety ended the scoring in the 66th minute.  Roberts was held up on the line but when the ball came back Garland picked up and crossed for his second, and Minety’s 5th try, which he subsequently converted.

In the closing moments Howse, Roberts and winger Steve White all went close but failed to add to the score line.

Coach Andy Grayson was reasonably pleased with the win. “Scoring 36 and conceding none is excellent but we know that we left a lot of points out on that pitch and we looked rusty.  We will need to step up our performance next week when we take on table topping Bradford on Avon here.  The lack of competitive action recently has taken the edge off our play.  We need to get training and make sure our support play is much improved.”

The win keeps Minety in 4th place in Division 1 behind Bradford on Avon, Combe Down and Avonvale.

Written by Graham Cooke

March 11th, 2018 at 11:11 am

Minety Blitzed

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A patched up Minety team were soundly beaten by Dorset and Wilts Division front runners, Combe Down, by 46-0 on Saturday.

The result brings to an end an unbeaten run for the village side stretching back to 11th November.  Minety, forced by injuries and unavailability, made 8 changes to the team which had beaten Supermarine the previous Saturday and gave season debuts to front rowers Martin Coe and Craig Smith and a full debut to Bramwell Coleman.

Combe Down, who sit just behind leaders Bradford on Avon, but with a game in hand, started at breakneck speed and crossed the line for their first try after just 3 minutes. The villagers’ cause was further hindered when hard running centre Jack Howse was sent to hospital with a bad hand injury within the first 5 minutes.  Combe Down extended their lead in the 10th minute with another try and the third and, bonus point winning, 4th try, came in the 14th and 18th minutes as the village side struggled to get themselves organised and moving on a very heavy pitch.

24 points down with just a quarter of the match played and an avalanche of points might have been predicted,  but Andy Grayson’s team, led from the front by hooker and captain Tom Claxton, fought their way back into the match and steadied the ship.  Ferocious and fearless tackling, especially from No. 8 Ben Sellick, fly half Jack Ward and centre Dave Church helped clear the lines and push Combe Down back.  With a front row stacked with experience, but also with a collective age of over 100, Minety’s scrum held its own and then started to dominate as the half wore on.

Jack Ward, Martin Coe & Craig Smith

Matt Roberts, playing at full back, troubled the Combe Down defence with his kicking and running and Church and Sellick were always in the thick of the action in the centre of the field.

At half time coach Grayson was forced into more changes as Minety lost fly half Tom McAllister and Church was moved to cover him.  Colemen’s introduction to the 1st team was a brutal one when he was on the wrong end of a huge tackle just after catching a flighted pass.

Combe Down struck their 5th try with a swift move down the left wing in the 41st minute and registered their 6th in the 66th minute.

By the time that they had scored their 7th and 8th tries in the closing minutes, Minety had lost the influential Claxton to a hip injury and were a team out on their feet.

Coe and Smith, both coaxed out of 1st XV retirement, enjoyed the match but admitted that it had been really hard work.

Coach Andy Grayson was philosophical about the defeat.  “I cannot fault the commitment of any of the lads who played today – they gave everything and for large parts of that game matched a very impressive Combe Down side.  The injury crisis at the club has hit both teams; the 2nd XV couldn’t put out a team today against Swindon and some of their players came across to bolster the 1st’s , for which we are very grateful. We now have a short break and will be hoping to get as many players fit for the final push towards the end of the season.”

When the two teams met earlier in the season at Minety, Combe Down won with the last kick of the match.

Minety maintain their 4th place in the league but face table toppers Bradford at Minety Fields in a fortnight’s time.

Minety 2nd XV were forced to concede their match at Swindon when it became clear that they couldn’t raise a team.  Like the 1st XV, Matt Stone’s 2nd XV have a week off before facing Melksham on the 17th February.

Written by Graham Cooke

February 4th, 2018 at 11:20 am

Minety win in mud bath

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Minety maintained their unbeaten run, stretching back to early November, with a dogged and unspectacular 20-3 win over Supermarine in quite appalling conditions at Minety on Saturday.

Many must have been surprised that the waterlogged pitch had passed a pre match inspection and it was soon evident that underfoot conditions would play a major role in the outcome of the game.

With the rain sweeping across the ground and spectators huddling in groups, Minety kicked off playing down the slope.

Fun in the mud – 2nd half action

The home side dominated the early exchanges and opened the scoring in the 7th minute before Supermarine had even ventured out of their own half.  Strong running from centres Jack Howse and Chris Rule and No. 8 Andrew Hibbard pushed the visitors back and a fine move saw flanker Ben Sellick stopped on the line but a quick pass to scrum half Garin Garland allowed Josh Bull to grab his 3rd try of the season wide on the left.

Garland’s long range conversion attempt drifted wide but the home side were 5-0 up.

The village side’s dominance at both scrum and lineout gave them plenty of possession but with the pitch cutting up badly and the ball like the proverbial bar of soap, maintaining possession beyond two phases was well-nigh impossible.

Supermarine struck back but determined tackling from the Minety pack held them at bay until the 26th minute when the visitors were awarded a penalty in front of the posts.  The ensuing points for Supermarine were the first to be scored against Minety since mid-December.

Tom Claxton leads his team off at the end

The inform Minety team scored their second try in the 31st minute.  Full back Duncan Simpson’s introduction into the line moved the ball to Supermarine’s try line.  Hibbard disrupted a Supermarine lineout and fly half Tom McAllister’s run back against the direction of play split the defence.  Captain Tom Claxton and his forwards drove the ball to the line and Garland picked up at the base of the ensuing ruck, beating two defenders to score.  Garland’s long range conversion saw Minety end the first half 12-3 up.

Coaches Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees brought Jack Ward on to replace the returning Steve White, back after a long term should injury, but with the pitch deteriorating rapidly, the match became even more fragmented with both teams struggling in a sea of mud.

Minety produced the best move of the half starting with a break out by Bull followed by a 50 metre advance involving nearly all of the team.  The move ended when Supermarine were penalised but Garland, usually so reliable from the kicking tee, sliced the penalty wide.

Tom Claxton, Ben Coilins and Jack Ward

Mired in the mud and unable to find the fluid, quick passing game that has proved so successful this season, Minety struggled to contain the oppositions for great swathes of the 2nd half without ever looking as if they were going to concede a try.

A typically barn storming cross field run by Howse ended with him flat on his back after an unsafe tackle.  After a lengthy delay while the young centre received treatment on the pitch, Garland slotted home the resulting penalty to extend the lead to 15-3.

Minety ended the scoring when Ward barrelled his way over wide on the right to score Minety’s 3rd try and ensure a 20-3 points victory that takes them up into 4th place in Division 1, above Warminster, who surprisingly lost at Royal Wootton Bassett.

After the match Coach Andy Grayson praised his team.  “We defended well in truly awful conditions but we made hard work of attacking.  We have a team that likes to play quick running rugby and we just got bogged down in the 2nd half.”

Dave Cooke, Chris Rule, Garin Garland and Ben Sellick

Next week the 1st XV travel to league leaders Combe Down determined to reverse the last play defeat they suffered earlier in the season.

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nds lost a hard fought encounter with title chasing Chippenham by 10-0 in Division 3.

Written by Graham Cooke

January 28th, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Minety’s double delight

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Minety completed the league double over their nearest Dorset and Wilts rivals at Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday whilst also celebrating their second successive shut out of the new year.  The village side have remarkably played nearly three hours of rugby since an opposition player has scored against them.

In damp and miserable conditions, on a heavy pitch and with a wet, slippery ball, Minety put the opposition on the back foot from the kick off.  Having been forced into making sweeping changes after injuries sustained in their recent win over Warminster, Minety dominated the early scrums and lineouts.

The villagers took the lead in the 4th minute, scrum half Garin Garland slotting home a penalty from 22 metres after Bassett were punished at a scrum.

Minety lost hard charging centre Jack Howse to a nasty eye injury in the 5th minute but kept up the pressure with impressive line speed and ferocious tackling.  Prop Andrew Hibbard was stopped a metre from the line as Minety pushed the home side back.

The combination of hard tackling and fly half Tom McAllister’s exceptional tactical kicking meant that Minety were able to dominate ball possession and territory as the game settled down.

Garland doubled the lead in the 17th minute after the Bassett line was caught off side after a lineout.

Minety scored their first try in the 21st minute.  Breaks from flanker Josh Bull and No. 8 Ben Sellick and another inch perfect kick from McAllister drove Bassett back and when Kieran Tillotsen’s midfield tackle turned over possession Garland fired the ball through the backs to winger Ben Langridge, who evaded four defenders to score in the corner.

Garland extended the lead to 14 points in the 34th minute with a 35 metre penalty kick as Minety controlled the game, keeping the home side comfortably away from the visitors’ try line.

Minety’s injury crisis was compounded before the interval when they lost both wingers, Langridge to another eye injury and Dave Cooke to a head injury.

Bassett enjoyed their best spell of possession and territory as the half drew to a close but seldom looked capable of breaching a resolute Minety line.  Bull dominated the lineout and McAllister was always on hand to clear the lines if needed.

The second half was, in the main, a drab affair with Bassett pressing for a score but Minety holding them out.  Sellick and full back Matt Roberts put in some punishing tackles while both lineout and scrummage continued to give Minety quality ball.

The teams exchanged penalty misses late on as Bassett pushed hard for a score but, despite spending time camped out on the Minety line, they were unable to breach the defence.

In the 85th minute Minety scored their second try.  Strong running from centre replacement Tom Windle and a sumptuous kick to touch 5 metres out from McAllister saw Bassett scramble to clear their lines and, after another strong run from Windle, McAllister threw a 20 metre pass to replacement Jack Ward who touched down in the corner.

Coaches Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees were delighted with the performance, the latter commenting that, “It wasn’t pretty but we took our opportunities and made the best of difficult conditions.  The tackling was tremendous, the set pieces worked despite so many player changes and Tom McAllister’s kicking was outstanding.”

The win keeps Minety in 5th place, equal on points with 4th placed Warminster.  Next week Minety welcome 10th placed Supermarine to Minety Fields as they aim for a top three position in the league.

In the weekend’s other fixture, Minety 2nds travelled to 2nd placed Trowbridge in Division 3 but were well beaten 47-0.



Written by Graham Cooke

January 21st, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Minety turn on the style

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Minety RFC began their 2018 Dorset and Wilts campaign with an emphatic 32-0 win over championship chasing Warminster at Minety Fields on Saturday that left coaches Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees delighted.

The visitors, who started the day 3rd in the league, kicked off down the slope in the first half and had a chance in the opening exchanges when their superior weight in the scrum forced Minety back.  The penalty kick drifted wide and Minety showed their intent in a wonderful counter attacking move involving scrum half Garin Garland, centre Chris Rule, full back Duncan Simpson and Number 8 Andrew Hibbard which ended with Garland being held up in a tackle under the Warminster posts.

Ferocious tackling in mid field and fast movement of the ball along the line put Minety on top and their first try came in the 14th minute.  Fly half Tom McAllister broke the defensive line before off-loading to centre Jack Howse, who evaded five defenders to score a superb try from 30 metres out.  Garland converted and Minety led 7-0.

Jack Howse scores try Number 1

The villagers’ forwards, driven on by captain Tom Claxton, set up quality ball and allowed the free running back division to use their pace and guile to drive the visitors back.  If the home team’s first try was a fine individual effort, the second, which came in the 24th minute, was an outstanding team effort.  McAllister’s penalty kick to touch set up a lineout 15 metres out.  Claxton’s throw was taken in by Hibbard as the forwards drove on. Garland fed McAllister, who fended off two tackles before popping the ball to Simpson.  The full back broke the line before passing to Howse, who drew two defenders before off-loading to winger Dave Cooke, who scored unopposed.

Dave Cooke scores try number 2

On the rare occasions that Warminster broke out of their own half their progress was halted by fine Minety tackling and rucking.

The home team were forced to make changes when front row Nick Britten suffered a nasty knee injury but they were soon back on top with the fast breaking Garland, Rule, Howse and Cooke pushing Warminster back deep into their own territory.

Garland extended the lead to 15 points in the 33rd minute.

The half ended with the Minety forwards on the rampage.  Hibbard took up the ball in midfield, feeding Colin French who broke through, passing to Gareth Thomas who set up 2nd row Ben Collins whose try attempt was only thwarted by a last ditch tackle.

Garland started the 2nd half scoring, slotting home a penalty in the 46th minute before French had to leave the pitch with a shoulder injury.

Warminster enjoyed their best spell of possession and territory but were kept in check by Minety’s fine defensive tackling.

The match, and the winning bonus point, was wrapped up with two converted tries in the 68th and 73rd minutes.  Hard running Ben Sellick and Howse punched holes in the Warminster line and Garland fed Hibbard who touched down after beating 3 defenders.

Andrew Hibbard scores try number 3.

Garland scored the 4th after a tap penalty set Cooke away down the centre.  Side stepping two defenders, the winger popped the ball to the scrum half who scored with ease to secure the 32-0 win.

Garin Garland scores try number 4

Coach Andy Grayson could not hide his pleasure at the end of the match.  “I couldn’t have asked for more.  We’ve been working at keeping the ball alive in training and managing game situations and we executed brilliantly today.  Our off loads set up our backs, who looked dangerous all game, while our forward play and tackling was the best I’ve seen since I’ve been at the club.”

Lineup:  1.  Colin French; 2. Tom Claxton (c); 3. Nick Britten; 4. Ben Scott; 5. Ben Collins; 6. Kieran Tillotsen; 7. Tom Windle; 8. Andrew Hibbard; 9. Garin Garland; 10. Tom McAllister; 11. Matt Stone; 12. Chris Rule; 13. Jack Howse; 14. Dave Cooke; 15. Duncan Simpson; 16. Ben Sellick; 17. Gareth Thomas.

Next Saturday Minety travel to Royal Wootton Bassett for what is sure to be a keenly fought local derby.

Written by Graham Cooke

January 14th, 2018 at 11:56 am

Minety drop points in last play drama

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For the second time this season, Minety have dropped valuable league points in the final play of a game.  In October a last play penalty saw table topping Combe Down snatch a victory;  on Saturday a last play try and conversion saw Melksham  grab a 19-19 draw.

Late withdrawals meant that the village team went into the last fixture of the first half of the season with an inexperienced back line and a reduced bench.

Kicking down the slope in the first half, Melksham pushed Minety back deep into their own 22 and it was only strong tackling from Ben Scott and the Minety pack that held them at bay while fly half Tom McAllister’s astute tactical kicking helped relieve the pressure.

Minety began to gain some semblance of control thanks to heavy  tackles in the centre from Jack Howse and Chris Rule and lineout dominance from Kieran Tillotsen and Josh Bull.

The home team took the lead in the 14th minute when Melksham were penalised for handling in a ruck and Garin Garland slotted home the ensuing penalty.

Melksham hit back straight from the kick off.  Despite some excellent defensive work from full back Duncan Simpson and flanker Rob Hinwood a clever cut back from the Melksham flanker sliced through the defensive line and the visitors had their first try.  The conversion was missed but Melksham now held a 5-3 lead.

Minety should have retaken the lead soon after but captain Tom Claxton and Tillotsen were held up on the line and despite massive forward pressure, the Melksham defence held resolute.

Whilst there could be no criticism of their effort, Minety’s tactics of running the ball at the centre of the Melksham defence, and not passing it wide, did play into the visitors’ hands and Melksham extended their lead when the full back entered the line and crashed over for a converted try to take the score to 12-3.

Minety reduced the arrears with a Garland penalty deep into 1st half stoppage time.

Chris Rule scores Minety’s try

The village side took the lead in the opening minute of the 2nd half.  When Garland ran a clearance kick back at the Melksham line, first Claxton and then McAllister were held up inches from the line but, from a ruck, Garland fed Rule who thundered over for his first try in Minety1st XV colours.  Garland converted the try and Minety led 13-12.

Garland stretched the lead in the 48th minute with a long range penalty kick.

As the home team pushed Melksham back with a combination of kicking and backs’ moves, Garland’s long range penalty kick drifted agonisingly wide in the 54th minute.  Eight minutes later, the scrum half was on target with another penalty after Melksham were again penalised at a ruck.

The game opened up in the final 10 minutes of the game as Minety pushed forward for the score that would take them out of Melksham’s range and the visitors pushed for a potential equalizer. After a period of extended Minety pressure, Garland’s long range drop kick sailed narrowly wide and set up a breath-taking finale.

In the gathering gloom, Melksham launched one last attack down the left wing, their fly half out running an exhausted Minety defence to touch down close to the posts.  The conversion was successful and the match drawn, 19-19.

The draw keeps Minety in a comfortable 5th place in the 12 team league but Claxton’s men will rue the lost chance to close the gap on Warminster and Avonvale, who are tied for 3rd place.

Minety 2nd XV’s match was cancelled after visitors Devizes were unable to raise a team.

The 1st XV return to action on the 13th January when they take on championship chasing Warminster at Minety Fields.

Written by Graham Cooke

December 17th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Six of the best as Minety romp home

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Minety kept in touch with the leading 4 teams in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North with a convincing 41-3 victory at Swindon on Saturday.

The village side ran in 6 tries on a bitterly cold afternoon against a Swindon outfit languishing at the wrong end of the table.

Minety opened the scoring with a fine team try in the 4th minute.  Scrum half Garin Garland collected the ball at the base of a scrum, passing to fly half Adam Watts.  A clever miss move in the centre saw Jack Howse sprint clear before passing to winger Ben Langridge who pulled the defence wide before slipping the ball infield to flanker Josh Bull who ran in to touch down unopposed under the posts.  Garland kicked the conversion and Minety were 7-0 up.

Minety kept up the pressure, pinning Swindon in their own half.  They doubled their score in the 14th minute.  Full back Tom McAllister collected his own high kick ahead, passing to winger Dave Cooke who burst through the defence to run in Minety’s 2nd try of the game and his 5th try of the season.

Garland collected the 3rd try in the 17th minute, picking up from the base of the scrum 30 metres out and beating off four defenders to touch down.  With the successful conversion, Minety were 21-0 up with three quarters of the match still to be played.

Swindon used their heavier pack to disrupt Minety at the scrum and enjoyed territorial advantage but never seriously threatened the Minety line, consoling themselves with a penalty kick in the 23rd minute.

Minety captain Tom Claxton and his forwards dealt with Swindon attacks down the centre while strong tackling from Minety centres Howse and Matt Roberts halted backs moves out wide.

Garland extended the lead to 24-3 with a penalty on the cusp of half time.

Cold hands and a wet ball made ball handling difficult in the second half but strong running from Ash and Tom Windle forced Swindon back deep into their own half.  Minety introduced Jack Ward, Gareth Thomas and Ben Collins and it was Ward’s break through the defence that allowed Roberts in for Minety’s 4th, and bonus point winning, try in the 50th minute.

Ward scored his first try of the season in the 55th minute.  McAllister collected a partially charged down clearance and his long pass to Roberts opened up the defence.  The pacey centre drew the final defender before releasing to Ward, who crashed over near the corner flag.

It was Ward who ended the scoring in the 61st minute with an outrageous dummy, bought by players from both sides and a few spectators on the touchline.  His break allowed him to score beneath the posts.  Garland’s conversion was successful and Minety ran out 41-3 winners.

Coach Andy Grayson was positive about the performance.  “We played some good rugby and looked really dangerous when we used our full back line.  We played an expansive game and off loaded well out of the tackle.  We need to be more accurate in our passing next Saturday when we come up against a useful Melksham team in our final match of the first half of the season.”

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nd XV went down 52-7 at top of the table Corsham, who maintained their 100% rfecord in the league this season.  Minety’s cause was not helped by having only 12 players for the match, many of those playing out of position.

Next week the 1st XV host Melksham while the seconds look forward to the visit of Devizes.  Full previews will be available on this site during the week.



Written by Graham Cooke

December 10th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Minety grind out victory in the mud

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Dave Cooke (14) scores Minety’s try

Minety’s 1st XV resumed their league campaign with a hard fought 13-8 victory over local rivals Chippenham at Minety Fields on Saturday.

Playing uphill in bitingly cold conditions, Minety struggled at scrummages, pushed back by the much heavier Chippenham pack, but dominated at the lineout and tackled like demons to pen the visitors in their own half.

Minety skipper Tom Claxton, back after injury, drove his team forward and the Chippenham defences were tested in the opening quarter as Minety launched wave after wave of attacks.

When the visitors attacked, strong tackling from the new Minety centre partnership of Dave Church and Ben Sellick prevented much progress whilst counter attacking runs from No. 8 Andrew Hibbard and scrum half Garin Garland helped clear the lines.

Minety opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a fine team try. Ben Collins took a lineout and Hibbard and Colin French made ground in centre field.  Claxton and Sellick continued the move and when Garland spotted a gap at a ruck he burst through, drawing the full back before releasing to winger Dave Cooke who outpaced the remaining defence to score.  Garland kicked the conversion and Minety led 7-0.

Chippenham responded and it took some desperate defending from the home team to keep the powerful visitors at bay.  Full back Chris Rule, fly half Tom McAllister and Garland were secure under the high ball and cleared the lines efficiently.

Minety were reduced to 14 men when Church was yellow carded for an infringement at a ruck as Chippenham pushed for their opening score.

The visitors opened their account in the closing minutes of the half.  The exhausted Minety pack was unable to halt a drive at a scrum and Chippenham crashed over for a try which went unconverted.

Somehow the 14 men struck back from the restart and a brilliant cross field run from the dangerous Sellick was only thwarted by a last ditch tackle as he reached for the line wide out on the right wing.

Minety coaches Hywel Rees and Andy Grayson made changes at half time, introducing winger Ben Langridge for Ash Windle and moving the back line around.

The home side should have increased their lead just after the interval when Garland broke free but his pass to flanker Josh Bull went to ground and the chance was lost.  Another opening was lost when Jack Howse was unable to cling onto a defence splitting pass from McAllister.

The pressure did result in a penalty for Minety when the visitors were penalised for handling the ball in a ruck and Garland swept home a 30m penalty kick.

As the wet pitch began to cut up Minety kept the ball tight in the forwards with the front 5 of Mark Glew, Claxton, French, Collins and Ben Scott all putting in immense efforts whilst McAllister and Garland pushed Chippenham back with clever tactical kicking.

Minety almost extended their 10-5 lead in the 71st minute but Garland’s long range penalty kick drifted agonisingly wide.

The scrum half did score in the 78th minute, kicking a penalty after Howse was body checked as he chased down a kick ahead.

In the gathering gloom, Chippenham missed a penalty kick as they sought the two scores necessary to win the match but despite enormous pressure, the village team held out and Chippenham’s only consolation was a drop goal in the final play, Minety running out 13-8 victors to cement their 5th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division1 North.

Coach Hywel Rees was happy with the win. “We’ll take that after the recent loss at Trowbridge, but we can do better.  It was a tremendous effort to stop a powerful Chippenham team crossing the line more than once but we should have had that game in the bag long before the final 10 minutes of play.”

Minety have a welcome week off before resuming their league campaign against lowly Swindon on the 9th December.

In the weekend’s other action Minety 2nd XV came back to defeat Supermarine 29-15.



Written by Graham Cooke

November 26th, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Minety fail to spark

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Try scorer, Ben Langridge

After a bright opening, which saw centre Tom Windle and winger Chris Rule held up metres from the Trowbridge line, Minety failed to sparkle on a cold and windswept day at Trowbridge, losing, against a team that they would have expected to have beaten, by 24-8.

Minety were on the scoreboard after just two minutes when scrum half Garin Garland stroked home a penalty.

A fumble from the re-start gifted possession back to Trowbridge who showed good pace on the centres and strength on the pack to push Minety back.  They opened their account with a rare drop goal, the first seen in a Minety match this season.

As the game settled down, progress was limited by a combination of good cover tackling and ball handling errors.  Minety’s work was often up the centre with wingers Rule and Langridge forced infield in search of the ball.  Fine defensive work from full back Dale Langdown, making his first appearance of the season, halted a promising Trowbridge back move but much of the rest of the play was bitty and disjointed.

Minety’s set piece at both lineout and scrummage was secure but all too often possession was lost by the third or fourth phase of play and it need a combination of centre Tom Windle and full back Langdown to stop a fine counter attack by the homeside.

With the lineout giving quality possession, Minety pushed up field and only some desperate defensive work kept Rule and Windle out but, despite dominating territory and possession, Minety were unable to add to their score and allowed Trowbridge to play on the counter attack.

Minety ended the half on top but their only reward was a penalty from 30 metres out which drifted wide.

Trowbridge took the lead in the 43rd minute with a fine try.  Having moved the ball across the field from left to right, their outside centre cut back and sliced through the Minety defence.  The conversion took the score to 10-3.

At last Minety discovered some of the form that has troubled all of the top teams in the league this season.  With Garland managing his forwards and centres Windle and Jack Howse driving in midfield, Trowbridge were pushed back into their 22 metre area.  At last a move involving more than 5 phases paid off and winger Langridge crashed over for his second try of the season.  The conversion drifted narrowly wide but the score was back to 10-8.

Minety’s chances of a win were dented in the 55th minute and extinguished just two minutes later.  Missed tackles enabled Trowbridge to break free from their own line and then crucially more were missed in defence allowing the Trowbridge flanker to score.  The conversion was successful.

As Minety pushed forward from the re-start, the ball was intercepted in midfield and Trowbridge’s centre ran in the deciding try from 50 metres.

The village team kept in the game thanks to try saving tackles from Langdown, Rule and fly half Adam Watts and mounted a series of attacks as the game entered the final minutes.  In a move that summed up their game, the Minety forwards and backs combined to move the ball beautifully through several phases only for it to be nudged forward inches from the line.

The squad now has a two week break before returning to league action at home to Chippenham.

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nd XV went down 32-14 at Bradford on Avon.


Written by Graham Cooke

November 12th, 2017 at 11:17 am

Minety scrape home in thriller

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With their two narrow defeats by table topping Bradford on Avon and Combe Down still fresh in the memory, Minety headed into their D&W1N match with newly promoted Avonvale knowing that a win was essential if they were to keep in touching distance of a promotion slot come the end of the season.

Avonvale’s 2017/7 season in Division 2 had been very impressive, 21 wins and a draw, netting them 106 points, and they had brought that compact and well organised approach into Division 1 with some success, winning 5 out of 6 matches and sitting one place above Minety.

Minety took the lead in the 2nd minute.  An Avonvale clearance kick was caught by winger Chris Rule just inside his own half.  A quick off load to Matt Roberts saw the full back slice through the visitors’ defence, evading 5 defenders before touching down beneath the posts.  Scrum half Tom McAllister kicked the conversion and Minety were 7-0 up.

Both teams looked to attack but the defences were well organised and gave little ground.

McAllister extended Minety’s lead in the 8th minute with a 22 metre penalty kick.

Avonvale struck back and got themselves on the scoresheet in the 13th minute with a penalty when Minety were caught not releasing the ball after a tackle.

The home team dominated much of the play in terms of possession and territory but despite some intricate passing moves and intelligent kicking from fly half Adam Watts, they were unable to impose themselves on the well-disciplined and mobile Avonvale defence.

As half time approached it was Avonvale who threatened the Minety line.  Attack after attack was thwarted by some brave tackling from the home side’s defence.  In the 34th minute Avonvale kicked their second penalty to bring the score to 10-6.

Minety’s task was made even harder when both captain Tom Claxton and hard hitting flanker Ben Sellick were forced off with head injuries.  In the re-shuffle Rob Hinwood moved to flanker, Tom Windle to centre and Mark Glew came on as Claxton’s replacement at hooker.

Avonvale started the second half on the front foot and in the 44th minute kicked their third penalty to reduce the arrears to just a single point.

Both teams launched attacks in the next 10 minutes, Minety using their forward power to push down the centre while Avonvale preferred to attack out wide on the flanks.  2nd row Ben Collins, out injured for a month, returned to duties in the 53rd minute when Ashley Windle was injured and McAllister eased the pressure in the 56th minute with his second penalty kick of the game.

Minety’s resources were stretched to the limit when Roberts, always an attacking threat from full back, was forced off with a recurrence of a back injury.  Avonvale took advantage of the re-organisation of the Minety back division and brought the gap back to a single point in the 68th minute with their 4th penalty.

The last 10 minutes were played out mainly in mid field and there was certainly relief on the faces of the Minety coaching staff when the final whistle was blown.

After the match coach Andy Grayson said, “We weren’t at our best today and the injuries and changes made life difficult.  We started very well but our set piece play at scrum and lineout wasn’t as good as usual but we did enough to win and our game management, especially at the end, was excellent.”

The win keeps Minety in 5th place in the league but they will need to win again at 9th placed Trowbridge next week if they are to bridge the gap to the top 4 teams.

In the weekend’s other match, Matt Stone’s Minety 2nd XV overcame Bath Saracens by 52-17 and moved up into 5th place in D&W3N.


Written by Graham Cooke

November 5th, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Oh so close

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For the second week running Minety came up agonisingly short against an unbeaten side in Dorset and Wilts Division 1, losing to league leaders Bradford on Avon by 13-8.  After last week’s stoppage time loss to  Combe Down, Tom Claxton’s team knew that their stiffest challenge of the season lay ahead at Bradford on Avon, top of the division and boasting winning bonus points in every match this season.

To make their task even tougher, Minety played almost 70 minutes with 14 players after centre Dave Church and 2nd row Ash Windle were yellow carded in the first half and then Church received a second yellow and was sent off early in the second half.

On a well prepared pitch, both teams had to contend with a gale blowing across the ground, making place and penalty kicking something of a lottery.

The pattern for the match was established in the opening 5 minutes with Minety pushing Bradford back with a combination of slick back moves and crunching forward tackling.

Bradford’s first attack in the 8th minute was stopped on the line by a fine tackle from outside centre Jack Howse supported by Claxton and Church.  With Windle dominating at the base of the lineout and fly half Jack Ward kicking well to touch, Minety forced their way back into what was fast becoming a real battle.

Bradford took the lead in the 16th minute from a penalty after Church was yellow carded for a perceived high tackle.

If the table toppers thought the 14 men of Minety would be easy picking, they were soon disabused of this; Minety roared back into attack, scrum half Garin Garland managing his pack and forwards Andrew Hibbard, Colin French and James Stuart making inroads into the Bradford defence while Ward and full back Matt Roberts sought defensive weaknesses out wide.

Bradford extended their lead in the 27th minute, moving the ball across from right to left and exploiting their extra man.  The try, out on the left, was not converted and the home side led by 8-0.

Full back Roberts almost found a way through in the 30th minute, halted close to the line as Minety pushed for their opening score.

The tackling was ferocious from both teams as Minety pinned Bradford back in their 22.  Forwards Ben Scott and French were denied by last gasp tackles while Ward, Church and Howse held centre ground as Bradford tried to break the shackles.

Minety’s persistence was rewarded in the 33rd minute when Bradford were penalised for holding on and Garland kicked the penalty.

A Roberts break and a Claxton drive were both held up metres from the line as Minety drove for an equalising try but the village team were reduced to 14 men again when Windle was yellow carded on the stroke of half time.

Minety brought on Rob Hinwood for the tiring Stuart at half time, the latter having put in a tremendous, energy sapping shift in the 1st 40 minutes.

As both teams pushed forward, gaps appeared in defence and it was only a brilliant saving tackle by Garland that stopped an almost certain Bradford try in the 44th minute.

The 14 soon became 13 when Church picked up a second yellow card and was sent off.

Bradford extended their lead in the 53rd minute.  Ward’s kick to touch stalled in the wind and was then blown back into centre field.  The home team collected the loose ball and with a smooth passing move their outside centre scored wide out on the right.

But if anything is to sum up Minety’s efforts thus far it is their determination and effort. 13-3 down with one man short to the league leaders, they simply would not lie down and it was the terrier like Garland who spotted a gap and raced 25 metres to score their try to bring the score back to 13-8 in the 56th minute.

Both sides threw everything into the final 20 minutes in what was a fine advert for everything that is good about league rugby.  Minety lost hard working French to a leg injury in the 74th minute but left nothing out on the pitch as they stood up to the Bradford team.

Minety’s consolation 1 league point for a close loss was no reward for their efforts and Bradford came away knowing that they’d been in a real battle.

In the weekend’s other fixture, Matt Stone’s 2nd XV recorded a fine away win at Melksham by 50-15 with Scott Glew scoring his first try for Minety.



Written by Graham Cooke

October 29th, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Minety fall to stoppage time penalty.

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Minety’s fine run of victories in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North came to an end when they were edged out 25-22 by unbeaten Combe Down in an encounter decided by the last kick of the match.

The match started under leaden skies and blustery wind.

Playing up the slope, and into the wind, Minety found themselves having to defend desperately in the opening exchanges as the confident Combe Down outfit launched attack after attack.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Minety were punished at the ruck in front of the posts.

The home side attacked from the restart, scrum half Garin Garland and fly half Adam Watts combining well to push the visitors back onto their line.  Strong forward play from captain Tom  Claxton and Number 8 Andrew Hibbard maintained the momentum and when second row Ash Windle caught a lineout ball and  set up a ruck on the try line, Garland picked up and dived over for Minety’s first try.  The young scrum half converted his try and the home side led 7-3.

Minety increased the lead in the 15th minute.  Winning a scrum 20 metres out from the Combe Down line, Hibbard set up a ruck and when Garland kicked ahead, flanker Josh Bull was the first to react, catching the ball and diving over.

Combe Down struck back and only some desperate tackling by the home defence kept the league leaders at bay.  The pressure led to Minety being penalised and the visiting fly half converted the penalty to bring the score back to 12-6.

Both sides defied the deteriorating conditions, choosing to pass the ball along the line and stretch the defences and it was the visitors who profited next.  Minety, unable to gain any ground kicking into the fierce wind, tried to break out down the centre but the ball was lost and from the subsequent scrum, the ball was fed to the full back who won a sprint to the corner flag to touch down for their opening try.

A single point separated the sides as they headed into stoppage time at the end of the first half.

A ruck out on the right, on the Come Down 22 metre line, was secured by Minety.  Garland fed Watts and Claxton took the ball on.  Prop Colin French set up another ruck and Watts’ long pass was taken by full back Matt Roberts who burst through the defence to score Minety’s 3rd try.  Garland converted and the village team led 19-11 at half time.

Given that the visitors had only conceded one try and only 10 points in total in their first 4 league matches, Minety had put in a fine 40 minutes of rugby.

With the advantage of the slope and the wind, the home side started the second half in confident mood, winger Tom McAllister jinking through the visitors’ defence and Watts using the conditions intelligently to kick Minety deep into Combe Down territory.

Against the run of play, Combe Down registered the first points of the second half when sloppy defensive work allowed their winger to burst through for a try to bring the score back to 19-16.

The away side adapted better to the deteriorating conditions as a fine drizzle made both ball and ground slippery.  Only fine tackling from winger Duncan Simpson and flanker Kieran Tillotson maintained the slender home lead.

The scores were tied at 19 all when Minety were caught offside in front of their posts and the visitors edged ahead in the 71st minute with another penalty.

Minety struck back with just 4 minutes left.  Strong running from centre Tom Windle, Roberts and Simpson pushed Combe Down back and when the visitors were penalised at the ruck, Garland kicked the penalty to tie the match at 22-22.

A cruel bounce of the ball from a high kick put Minety on the back foot as both teams went for the win. A penalty, a throw in and three rucks later, Minety were penalised and with the last kick of the match, Combe Down took the win 25-22.

The visitors’ post-match celebrations contrasted with dismay on the faces of the Minety players.

Coach Andy Grayson was philosophical in defeat.  “We played our best half of rugby in the first half and the worst half of rugby in the second.  I’m really disappointed.  We should have put the game to bed at half time.  We let it slip.  Now we must make sure that it doesn’t happen again. “

Next week Minety travel to the other unbeaten team in the league Bradford on Avon.

In the weekend’s other fixture, tries from Rob Hinwood, Jon Blair (2) and Dale Langdown saw Mienty 2nd’s overcome Swindon III’s by 34-19 in D&W3N.



Written by Graham Cooke

October 22nd, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Minety maintain impressive start

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Minety maintained their impressive start to the season with a fine 38-5 win at hitherto unbeaten Supermarine in Dorset and Wilts Division 1.

With playing resources across their two teams stretched to the limit, Minety gave debuts to ex Academy 2nd row River Burton and flanker Ben Sellick and actually kicked off the match with just 15 player and no replacements.

Minety dominated the early exchanges but with both teams evenly matched at both lineout and scrum, the action was played out in midfield with handling errors breaking the rhythm of the game.

Minety opened the scoring in the 25th minute.  When winger Ben Langridge was brought down 25 metres out it was scrum half Garin Garland who spotted a gap to race through to score.  Garland converted his try and Minety led 7-0.

Minety doubled their lead in the 38th minute.  A fine attacking move involving centre Tom Windle and flanker Sellick took the ball deep into their opponents’ half.  The home defence repelled a number of attacks before prop Colin French evaded one tackle and spun out of another to claim his first 1st XV try.

Supermarine ended the half with a fine try.  Missed tackles in midfield allowed the home team space in Minety’s 22 and their centre touched down out on the right to leave the score at half time Supermarine 5 Minety 14.

The village side dominated the start of the second half and, after a series of fluent attacking moves, scored their third try when fly half Adam Watt dummied the home defence and raced through to score under the posts, Garland converting the score.

Minety extended the lead to 23 points in the 47th minute.  Centre Tom McAllister broke free on the left and fed Garland who made ground before off loading to Dave Cooke, the winger spinning out of two tackles before running the ball in to score from 25 metres out.

In the 52nd minute Claxton’s brilliant burst through the Supermarine defence set up first full back Duncan Simpson and then 2nd row Ben Scott, both held close to the line, before Garland spotted a gap to register his 2nd try and take the score to Supermarine 5 Minety 33.

The game opened up in the final quarter with both teams intent on moving the ball around.  Solid tackling from Simpson and the forwards kept Supermarine at bay.

Minety’s superior speed and ball retention told in the end when a fine move across the width of the pitch ended with Langridge touching down wide on the right for Minety’s 6th try and a 38-5 lead.

Garland was denied a hat trick deep in injury time.  His initial break on half way was taken on by the impressive Sellick.  Simpson was on hand to run the ball towards the corner flag but as Garland collected at the ensuing ruck, the referee was bowled over in the melee and was unsighted as the scrum half touched down.

Final score Supermarine 5 Minety 38.

Coach Hywel Rees was very pleased with his team’s performance.  “It took a while for us to settle down but when we did we ran in tries from all over the pitch.  We’re now up to 4th in the table, just 4 points behind leaders Bradford on Avon.”

Next Saturday Minety travel to Dorchester for Dorset and Wilts Cup Action.

In the weekend’s other game, Minety 2nds were edged out 18-13 at Chippenham.

Written by Graham Cooke

October 8th, 2017 at 11:38 am

Garland display as Minety hit 50

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An outstanding individual performance from Minety scrum half Garin Garland capped a fine team display from the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 team as they trounced local rivals Royal Wootton Bassett II by 50 points to 12 on Saturday.

Garland’s four tries and five conversions garnered the village team 30 points as they overran the opposition, running in 8 tries in all.

Minety opened the scoring in the 2nd minute.  Good ruck ball allowed fly half Adam Watt to feed centre Jack Ward who made the break through the defensive line.  Two passes later returning centre Matt Roberts, back from a long term injury, touched down near the corner flag.

With dominance at lineout, scrum and ruck, the pacey Minety backs were given free rein to run the ball, keeping the opposition on the back foot.

The home team extended their lead in the 11th minute.  Captain Tom Claxton’s lineout throw was caught by second row Ben Scott and, from the ensuing ruck, Garland spotted a small gap and scored near the left corner flag.  His long range conversion was inch perfect and Minety led 12-0.

Andrew Hibbard, Ben Collins and Tom Windle all made ground in midfield and with Claxton and young front row Mark Glew sniping around the edges of rucks, Minety were able to control the ball.

Minety’s third try came on the half hour after a prolonged period of pressure on the Bassett line.  After the visitors were penalised, Garland took a quick tap penalty and dived over, converting the try himself and increasing the lead to 19 points.

The home side’s desire to run everything cost them in the 36th minute.  Trying to run the ball out from their own line, they were caught and Bassett pounced to open their account with a close range try.

The fourth, bonus point winning, try came deep in 1st half injury time.  Once again, a secure lineout and follow up ruck allowed Garland the time and space to score his third try of the half.  The successful conversion saw the home side 26-5 up at half time.

Bassett enjoyed their best period of the match at the start of the second half, at last managing to secure quality ball in set pieces.  The dominance was rewarded when their outside centre scored their second try of the match from close range.

Any hopes of a Bassett comeback died when Minety ran in 3 tries in 6 minutes.  Winger Dave Cooke ran in try number 5 after a fine move involving full back Duncan Simpson and fly half Watt.

An excellent driving run from Scott ended with a beautifully timed off load to Garland, who sprinted in from 25 metres out for try number 6 and a 36-12 lead.

The seventh try came in the 66th minute.  Watt’s perfect place kick to touch, a secure lineout and a driving maul set up Andrew Hibbard, who drove through to touch down, and it was last year’s club captain who notched his second try in injury time, Garland converting to secure a 50-12 win.

Club coach Andy Grayson was obviously delighted with both performance and result.  “Our sets pieces were brilliant and allowed us to move the ball wide and score tries.  We switched on straight away and dominated the game.  Next week we need a copy of today’s performance against a Supermarine team who are unbeaten this season and who sit equal top of the table.”

In Saturday’s other fixture in Division 3 North, Minety II’s comprehensively overcame Trowbridge III’s by 40-5 to register their first win of the campaign.  We hope to bring you a report on this match soon.



Written by Graham Cooke

October 1st, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Slow start costs Minety dear

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Elis Garland, scorer of two second half tries

Buoyed by their excellent season opening win at Pewsey, Minety took to the field at Warminster under no illusions that this was to be an altogether stiffer test.  In fact, it took less than a minute for the in-form home team to score.  Direct from the kick off, Warminster secured the ball and a fine move across the pitch involving the entire back line saw their full back touch down under the posts.

Shell shocked, Minety hit back and enjoyed territorial advantage but were held at bay by some ferocious Warminster tackling in midfield.

When a Minety backs move broke down metres from the Warminster line it looked as if the home team would increase their lead but brilliant smothering tackles from centre Jack Howse and winger Ben Langridge saved the day.

Warminster doubled their lead in the 11th minute with another break away try.  A cross field run from their pacey full back and a well-timed pass to his right winger saw the latter out pace a threadbare defence and score under the posts.

Whilst a stable scrum and some good lineout ball gave the village team plenty of possession, the speed of the home defence meant little quality ball reached the Minety wingers.

Warminster’s third try came, once again, after a period of Minety pressure.  A neat interchange between centre and fly half saw the latter break through, evading two tacklers and scoring out wide on the right.

Minety held Warminster at bay for the rest of the half and started the second period strongly with scrum half Garin Garland a constant thorn in the home side’s defence.

Minety got on the score sheet nine minutes into the half.  Moving the ball much more confidently, they launched attack after attack on the home line and after Warminster were penalised for a high tackle, Garland took a tap penalty and fed hooker Tom Claxton, who charged through to score.

Minety’s second try, and the best of the match, came direct from the kick off and featured scrum half Garin Garland and his elder brother, full back Elis Garland, making a comeback after over a year out. Breaking the home line, the younger Garland fed his brother who outpaced 6 defenders to score wide on the left.

Minety’s desire to attack from all areas of the pitch cost them dear in the 54th minute.  After winning a scrum deep in their own 22, a clearance kick to touch would have been the safe option, but they chose to run the ball out and when the move broke down, Warminster pounced on the loose ball to score near the posts to stretch the lead to 26-10.

Langridge’s stunning one handed ankle tackle prevented another home side breakaway score as both teams went on all-out attack mode as the game entered its final quarter.

Del Murray scored Minety’s third try after they won a line out and scrum half Garland spotted a gap by the touchline which saw the young winger touch down by the corner flag.  Garland’s long range conversion was successful and Minety were back in the game.

Warminster struck back and a slick move across the backs saw their right winger touch down in the 77th minute.

Minety ended the match strongly and several try scoring attempts were thwarted by last ditch tackles, but the villagers gained a well-deserved consolation bonus point winning 4th try when the mercurial Elis Garland broke through to score in stoppage time.

Coach Hywel Rees took many positives from the game.  “We scored four second half tries against a very good team.  Everyone stepped up their game after our slow start.  We need to switch on at the start and begin with the same intensity that we end our games but overall I’m really proud of all the lads who played today.”

Written by Graham Cooke

September 17th, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Claxton inspires Minety to opening day win

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New Minety captain Tom Claxton saw his team open their Wadworth 6X Dorset and Wilts Division 1 campaign with a fine 29-14 victory at Pewsey Vale on Saturday.

On a beautifully prepared pitch, Minety dominated the early exchanges as the forwards held a powerful Pewsey pack and the pacey Minety backs ran at the home team’s line.

Against the run of play, Pewsey took the lead in the 9th minute.  A speculative kick into the Minety 22 took a wicked bounce and full back Duncan Simpson was clattered to the ground as he tried to pick up.  The loose ball was seized upon and the try awarded close to the posts.

Centre Tom Windle was denied a try in the 13th minute by a last second clearance after a clever kick from fly half Adam Watts wrong footed the Pewsey defence.

Minety opened their account with a fine opening try in the 20th minute.  A solid scrum on the half way line allowed scrum half Garin Garland to feed Watts who passed to right winger Ben Langridge.  From the ruck, Simpson broke the line and fed left winger Dave Cooke, who side stepped the full back and ran in to score under the posts.

Garland’s conversion was successful and the match was tied at 7 all.

Minety’s 2nd try came in the 32nd minute.  A lineout steal in their own half led to a break from No. 8 Andrew Hibbard.  Garland kicked ahead and when the ball was won at the ruck centre Dave Church and Windle combined to allow the latter to score wide on the right.

The score galvanised the home team, who proceeded to play some of their best rugby, pushing the visitors back onto their own line.  A Pewsey score seemed inevitable when Garland was yellow carded but somehow the 14 men of Minety held out to half time.

With flanker Josh Bull imperious at the lineout and the pack, with Mark Glew and Colin French, in fine form, Minety controlled the start of the second half.

Garland extended Minety’s lead in the 50th minute with a penalty after the home team were penalised for not releasing after a tackle.

Pewsey mounted attack after attack on the visitors’ line, only for each wave to be repelled by some immense tackling from Ben Collins, Matt Chisholm, Church and Bull in particular.

Pewsey’s 2nd try came at the end of another concerted series of attacks.  The successful conversion brought the scores to 15-14 in the visitors’ favour and set up a breathless last quarter.

Both sides pushed for the victory and play moved around the pitch at breakneck speed.

The match was settled in the 79th minute when Simpson picked up in midfield and ran in to score from 30 metres, Garland converting the try.

The “4 try bonus point” was secured deep into injury time.  Minety won a Pewsey scrum in their own half, Garland drove forward before slipping the ball to Bull who capped a fine performance by running in the try from 35 metres.

Garland’s conversion ended the match with Minety 29-14 victors.

New Minety coach Andy Grayson was delighted with the performance.  “We all fronted up and I was delighted with the commitment the lads showed.  It was a great squad performance with a number of 2nd team players stepping up and showing their qualities.  It’s onwards and upwards as we prepare for Warminster next week.”


Written by Graham Cooke

September 10th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Nailsea prove too much for inexperienced Minety

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Minety 7  Nailsea 45  2nd September 2017.  Pre-season friendly

Minety’s final pre season friendly match proved to be a bruising encounter against Somerset Premier League side Nailsea and Backwell.

After the comfortable 36-0 victory over Cricklade in midweek, coaches Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees put out a relatively inexperienced team against the formidable Nailsea outfit.

Lacking a number of 1st team regulars, the Minety team surprisingly held the aggressive and well organised Nailsea team in the opening half hour.  Much of the play was in the Minety half but some ferocious defensive tackling kept the pacey Nailsea backs at bay.

The opening score took to the 30th minute to arrive.  A move across field saw the Minety defence stretched and Nailsea crossed the line from close in.  Minety barely had time to re-organise before the visitors doubled their lead with a second try and then followed it up with a third in quick succession.

The home side clawed their way back into the game and young Kieran James brilliantly scooped up a loose ball to run in under the posts from 20 metres out after a fine flowing move involving Minety forwards and backs.  Garin Garland slotted the conversion from in front of the posts.

With the game opening up Nailsea exploited a gap in the home defence to score their fourth try in the final minute of 1st half injury time.

Grayson and Rees made a number of changes to the lineup at half time, some, unfortunately forced upon them through injury, as the game was played at breakneck pace on a well grassed but nevertheless firm pitch.

Tenacious tackling from the Minety players kept the score down in the opening exchanges of the second half but then three quick tries in 10 breathless second half minutes killed the game for the home team as Nailsea ran out 46-7 victors.

Andy Grayson was upbeat after the match.  “We played this game with a majority of lads who played in the 2nds last year.  That meant they were up against players 4 leagues above them.  We tackled our hearts out and in the end simply ran out of steam.  I couldn’t have asked for more effort and I’m delighted with the commitment of our team.”

Captain Tom Claxton, himself forced off in the second half with an ankle injury, added, “Everyone turned up this afternoon.  We left nothing out on the pitch.  Of more importance, we know what we have to do to improve and we can work at those aspects of the game in training.”

Both Minety teams will be league action next week when the 1st team travel to Pewsey Vale while the seconds play away at Warminster.

Club training is on Tuesday night at 7pm.


Written by Graham Cooke

September 3rd, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Minety win pre season encounter

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Minety’s new coaching team, Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees, declared themselves pleased with the home team’s performance in their 36-0 pre season victory over near neighbours Cricklade in a match played at Minety Fields on Tuesday evening.

The game, spread across three 20 minute periods, allowed both sets of coaches the chance to see as many of their 2017-2018 squads in action as possible.

Minety kicked off and spent nearly all of the first period encamped in Cricklade’s half.  Early breaks from fly half Tom McAllister kept the visitors pinned back and the first try came after a fine tactical kick into the corner.  Newly appointed club captain, Tom Claxton’s lineout found second  rower Ben Scott, who, supported by the Minety pack, pushed forward to the Cricklade line.  Second team captain Matt Stone took the ball on and from the resulting ruck scrum half Garin Garland found number 8 Andrew Hibbard and last year’s captain scored with ease.  Garland’s conversion missed to the left of the posts.

Continued Minety pressure resulted in a second try, this time for fly half McAllister after a probing run from centre John Blair had opened up the Cricklade defence.  Garland’s conversion was successful although Minety ended the first period 12-0 up having to defend their lines as Cricklade pressed forward.

The start of the second period saw the home team camped on the visitors’ line.  Garland’s quick passing spread the ball across the park and it was young Kieran James who broke through the first line of defence.  Ben Scott was stopped on the line but second row Ben Collins picked up at the back of a ruck and dived over for Minety’s third try.  Garland’s long range conversion missed narrowly but the lead was now 17 points.

With both coaching teams making multiple changes to the line ups, Ben Wilson collected a Cricklade clearance on half way, evaded a defender and off loaded to Ellis Garland, making his first Minety appearance for some time.  The elder Garland cut through the Cricklade defence before chipping the ball over the full back and touching down for a fine solo effort.  His brother, Garin, kicked the resulting conversion to take the score to 24-0.

The third period was played in the gathering gloom.  With less than 2 minutes gone into the period full back Duncan Simpson chose to run the ball out from under his own posts, passing to the influential Matt Roberts, back in the team after an injury ravaged 2016/7.  Roberts’ pace outstripped no less than 6 defenders before he off loaded to Simpson who ran in to touch down under the posts from 5 metres out.  Garland converted the try to push Minety’s lead to 31 points.

As the Minety floodlights illuminated at least one side of the pitch, Cricklade gamely pressed forward, eschewing the chance to kick at least two penalties in favour of running the ball but it was another brilliant Roberts try, this time from 40 metres out that finished the scoring with the home team running out 36-0 victors.

Minety will finish their pre season preparations with another home match, this time against Nailsea, on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.


Written by Graham Cooke

August 30th, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Pewsey power too much for Minety

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Minety’s 1st XV ended their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North campaign with a disappointing 43-25 defeat at the hands of Pewsey Vale on Saturday.

Minety finished in a creditable 6th place in the 12 team division with 11 wins from their 22 outings, one place above local rivals Wootton Bassett, whose 50-0 defeat at the hands of Bradford on Avon left them in 7th place.

The season ender was played in unseasonably warm weather at the picturesque Pewsey ground.

The visitors kicked off and pushed Pewsey back into their own 22 metre area with some quick passing but the “writing was on the wall” when Pewsey’s centres broke through the Minety defence and only some sloppy passing prevented an opening try.  The powerful Pewsey pack disrupted Minety’s scrum and the village side were forced to defend their lines desperately, fly half Tom McAllister’s kicking easing the pressure.

Against the run of play, Minety opened the scoring.  After Pewsey had been penalised for delaying a lineout, captain Andrew Hibbard picked up the ball 50 metres out and ran straight through the defence, off-loading the ball to Duncan Simpson, who touched down between the posts.  Garin Garland kicked the conversion and Minety were an improbable 7-0 up.

Pewsey hit back 5 minutes later when Minety were penalised in their own 22.  From the resulting scrum, fly half James Haynes burst through before slipping a pass to No. 8 Phil Vallis who scored from close range.  Haynes’ conversion tied up the scores at 7 each.

Minety kept the match even by moving the ball quickly in the backs but the scrummages were very one sided and any ball that the visitors claimed put them on the back foot.

Big second row Ben Collins, just back after a serious knee injury, proved a handful for the Pewsey defence and gave some respite for Minety’s overworked defence.

Minety regained the lead in the 30th minute when Pewsey offended at a ruck, Garland kicking the penalty, and it was the young full back who extended the lead to 13-7 from another penalty in the 35th minute.

Pewsey struck back before half time.  Once again, the combination of No. 8 Vallis and Haynes proved too much for the beleaguered visiting defence and the fly half touched down for Pewsey’s second try and then kicked the conversion to take the lead 14-13 at the end of the first half.

If there is to be one criticism that can be levied against the Minety team it is their inability to “switch back on” after a break and the four unanswered Pewsey tries in the first 12 minutes of the second half demonstrated this and ended Minety’s chance of getting anything from this match.

In the 41st minute replacement forward Sam Flippance ran straight through the Minety defence to score a fine solo try, converted by Haynes.

Three minutes later McAllister’s try line clearance was charged down and Pewsey’s loose head prop Guy Ellis was first to react to the loose ball to touch down.

Pewsey’s third try of the half came in the 49th minute.  Fly half Haynes picked up a Minety clearance, ran it back and from the resulting ruck flanker Olly Spence picked up and ran through for a try under the posts.

Pewsey’s 6th try came shortly after when flanker Chris Spence seized on the ball and scored wide out on the right wing.  Haynes’ long range conversion fell short but Pewsey were now in complete control of the match, leading 38-13.

The home team were reduced to 14 men when Chris Spence was yellow carded for “pulling an opponent down” at a lineout.

Minety pressed forward and played some of their most enterprising rugby of the match but all too often the final pass went astray and possession lost.

Both teams lost a player, each yellow carded, after a flare up in the 61st minute.

Minety’s second try came after a period of pressure on the Pewsey line.  A midfield run from Jack Ward was rebuffed but Simpson was on hand to pick up and score.

Pewsey extended their lead to 43-18 in the 77th minute when Vallis sprinted through for his second try.

Minety’s final try was a penalty try awarded after winger Dave Cooke’s fine run through the Pewsey defence was halted by a desperate neck high tackle close to the try line.

The final moments of the match saw Minety desperately trying to gain the all-important bonus point winning 4th try, but all their efforts were repelled by a resolute Pewsey defence.

Final score: Pewsey Vale 43 Minety 25


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Team photographs to follow; film of the match will be on MTV on Wednesday.



Written by Graham Cooke

April 23rd, 2017 at 12:02 pm

First half blitz sees Minety 2nds home

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With the 1st XV enjoying a rare weekend off, all eyes were focused upon Matt Stone’s Minety 2nd XV as they headed to Devizes for a Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North match on Saturday.

With the teams separated by just 6 points in the league, Devizes being 7th and Minety 8th, and the season rapidly nearing its end, this match was a “must win”  for both sides.

The opening exchanges were even, with defences on top.  Devizes were clearly the heavier and stronger in the scrum and their domination tested Minety’s defensive line again and again.  Somewhat against the run of play, Minety opened the scoring.  Exploiting a lack of numbers down the right, Minety’s backs pulled the Devizes defence one way and then the other before a quick interchange of passes saw veteran front row forward Steve Murray run through to score under the posts.  Will Mason kicked the conversion and Minety were 7-0 up.

Minety doubled their lead soon after.  Once again, the Devizes scrum put pressure on the Minety pack but from the disrupted play, scrum half Garin Garland spotted an opening and broke through.  Winger Kieran Gash cut back against the run of play and Garland’s long pass saw the winger through and under the posts.  Once again Mason slotted the conversion and Minety were 14 points to the good.

Minety continued to exploit spaces out wide and pushed their opponents back into their own 22 metre area.  When the home team were penalised for a rucking offence Garland took a quick penalty and his pass saw captain Matt Stone through for Minety’s third try.  Mason’s conversion was successful and Minety were 21 -0 up.

Devizes hit back and scored an unconverted try shortly before half time to reduce the arrears to 21-5.

Minety’s efforts in the first half took their toll early in the second.  With some fatigue and a little complacency, they let Devizes come back at them and the pressure told when Devizes scored their second try to reduce the deficit to 11.

The villagers were immediately on the back foot from the restart.  A lost ball and a couple of missed tackles saw Devizes score their third try, this one converted.

With the score now Devizes 17  Minety 21, the visitors rallied and regained some of the fire and form that had seen them so dominant in the first half.  Pressure eventually saw centre Tom Windle break through two tackles to score what was Minety’s final try with Mason converting again to end the match Devizes 17 Minety 28.

The “4 try bonus point” means that Minety 2nds are just 2 league points behind Devizes with the village team sporting a much superior points difference as the two teams prepare for the final league matches of the season on the 22nd April when Minety entertain 4th placed Warminster and Devizes host 2nd placed Alfred’s Nomads.

Captain Matt Stone praised the efforts of his team after the match.  “It was a patched up team but everyone came together and I thought our first half performance was tremendous.  We did switch off a bit at the start of the second half and had to show real determination not to allow Devizes to overwhelm us.  The bonus point was just what we hoped for and 7th place in the league is definitely there for the taking.”

Man of the Match: Mike Scott



Written by Graham Cooke

April 9th, 2017 at 10:08 am

Super 7 for Minety

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Minety’s final home match of the season saw them host Swindon, one place below them in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table.

Played in unseasonably warm weather, Minety kicked off up the slope at Minety Fields.  On a good, firm surface, both teams spread the ball across the line and opted for an open running game in the early exchanges.

The home team took an early lead when captain Andrew Hibbard burst over for the opening try from close range after Swindon had been penalised twice near their own line.

Minety nearly extended their lead minutes later when winger Ben Langridge was held up over the line after a superb attacking move involving all of the Minety backs.

Against the run of play, Swindon snatched the lead in the 21st minute.  A long clearance kick pushed Minety back onto their own line and when an adventurous move to run the ball back broke down, Swindon flanker Jermain Edwards ran in to score under the posts.  Fly half Mark Chatwin converted the try and Swindon were 7-5 up.

Swindon’s lead was short lived; Minety surged back and from a scrum deep in the visitor’s half, centre Tom Windle beat four defenders to score under the posts.  Garin Garland’s conversion extended the lead to 12-7.

Minety’s third try, in the 31st minute, ironically came at the end of Swindon’s best attacking period of the half.  Winger Langridge pounced on a loose ball and ran 80 metres unchallenged to score under the posts.

The villagers controlled most of the rest of the half but were unable to turn possession and territory into points.

The opening exchanges of the 2nd half were even, Swindon using the ball well across the line without ever really threatening the home team’s try line.

The crucial 4th and bonus point winning try came in the 54th minute.  Garland’s quick penalty caught the Swindon defence flat footed and allowed centre John Blair to cross under the posts.

Minety increased the lead 3 minutes later.  Fly half Tom McAllister spotted an overlap on the left and his precise through kick was collected by Langridge for his second try of the match.

Garland’s long range conversion took the score out to 33-7.

Tom Windle’s second try of the match came in the 73rd minute.  McAllister’s fine penalty kick took play to Swindon’s 5 metre line.  Hibbard won the lineout ball and , after a series of rucks, the centre burst through to score Minety’s 6th try. Garland’s conversion was successful and Minety were 40-7 up.

Minety scored their 7th, and final try of the match, in the far left corner after another sweeping “training ground” move by the backs to end the match 45-7 victors.

The win, and crucial bonus point, takes Minety back above Royal Wootton Bassett, and into 6th place in the league with just one match, away at Pewsey Vale on the 22nd April to come.

Coach Craig Smith was very happy with the performance.  “That was a pretty awesome display.  We stuck to the game plan, played quick ball and supported each other.”

Captain Andrew Hibbard, playing his last game as club captain said, “It was a great performance from everyone.  We had plenty of possession and used the ball well.  It was nice to be able to play on our 1st team pitch for a change.”


Man of the Match:  Rob Bugden, the inspiring the team from the sidelines.  More on Rob’s appearance later on this week.

Written by Graham Cooke

April 2nd, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Minety edged out in dramatic derby

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Minety travelled to Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday knowing that a win was vital against their nearest rivals, both in the table and geographically.

With club captain Andrew Hibbard unavailable, the village side were further hampered when vice captain Will North pulled out ill on the morning of the match and then hugely influential centre Jack Ward turned an ankle in warm up and was withdrawn.

The hastily re-arranged Minety formation, with many playing out of position, faced a strong Bassett team including a number of 1st teamers returning to action after injury.

Playing downhill, and with a fierce wind behind them, Minety used fly half Tom McAllister’s kicking ability to drive Bassett back deep into their own half to allow the hastily reshuffled village side to settle into the match.

Scrum half Garin Garland kept the ball close to the pack at breakdowns as Minety pressed forward, using the hard charging Tom Windle to make ground down the centre.

Somewhat against the run of play, Bassett took an early lead in the 9th minute.  Minety chose to run a ball out of defence, when perhaps a clearance kick would have been the better option.  Possession was lost and Bassett’s backs moved the ball swiftly to their right winger, who crossed in the corner.

Minety hit back straight away and flanker Josh Bull was stopped close to the line by a last ditch tackle and from the ensuing ruck, prop Owen Richardson was held up on the line.

Tom Windle scores Minety’s 1st try

A Garland effort was ruled out when Minety were penalised close to the Bassett line before the visitors opened their account after a period of sustained pressure.  With Garland orchestrating attack after attack, the scrum half threw a huge pass to centre John Blair who off loaded to Windle who scored out on the left.

Garland’s long range conversion was successful and Minety rebuffed a series of Bassett attacks to go into the break 7-5 up.

Both teams struggled with the blustery conditions.  A Bassett penalty kick near their own line caught in the wind and sailed the length of the pitch resulting in a Minety scrum deep in the Bassett 22 metre area.

Minety dominated possession and territory after the break, captain Tom Claxton driving forward on the crash ball while Garland used his backs well to spread play.

Bassett regained the lead with one of their first incursions into Minety territory in the 56th minute.  A huge clearance kick pushed the visitors back into their own 22 and when they tried to run the ball out of defence a pass went astray and Bassett pounced to score out wide on the left.  An excellent conversion from the touch line extended the home side’s lead to 5 points.

With both sides visibly tiring and the injury count rising alarmingly, the game entered the final quarter with Bassett 12-7 up.

Chris Rule runs in try No. 2

The match was settled in a dramatic 90 second period starting in the 74th minute.  Garland spotted a gap and burst through the Bassett defence. From the ruck Claxton fed winger Dave Cooke, who drew the covering defender before passing to full back Chris Rule, who ran in to score Minety’s second try to bring the scores level.  Garland’s conversion attempt stalled in the wind.

Straight from the kick off the ball was spilled and Bassett picked up and ran in for their third, and decisive, try beneath the posts.  The conversion was successful and despite Minety pressure in the last 5 minutes, the game was lost 19-12.

Coach Craig Smith praised his players for the “massive effort” that they had put in.

Tom Claxton, speaking after the game, said, “It was frustrating; we made two mistakes and were punished for both.  The lads put in a terrific shift and I was proud to be captain of a side that put so much into the match.”

Club Chairman Dave Peirce had nothing but praise for the Minety team.  “It was a fantastic effort from all the players.  They did themselves and the club proud.”

In the weekend’s other game the Minety 2nd XV, captained by Matt Stone, travelled to Swindon and came away with a fine 27-7 victory to boost their position in Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North.

Written by Graham Cooke

March 26th, 2017 at 11:46 am

Minety lose out in dour affair

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Minety missed the chance to grab 5th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North when they lost to a strong and well organised Melksham 26-7 at Melksham’s impressive new ground.

After their convincing win over Supermarine last week, Andrew Hibbard’s team went into the fixture with the chance of leap frogging Pewsey Vale in the league but came away well beaten in a dour affair.

Minety enjoyed most of the early play, fly half Tom McAllister using the blustery cross wind to good effect.  Opting to play almost exclusively in the forwards, Minety controlled proceedings.

Melksham took the lead following a superb 6 man move along the line that took play from their own 22 right up to the Minety line.  Although the visitors managed a partial clearance, Melskham’s outside centre ran a fine diagonal line to score wide on the right wing.  The conversion was successful and Melksham led 7-0.

With centre Dave Church and captain Hibbard making ground down the centre, Minety fought back but too often players were isolated in the tackle and quality ball was squandered.

Melksham’s second try, in the 15th minute, came about when McAllister was forced into a hasty clearance after messy ball from a scrum close to Minety’s line.  The Melksham backs ran the ball and their full back cut through Minety’s defences to score under the posts.

Minety’s best chance of the half came from a Hibbard break but despite spending 5 minutes camped on the Melksham line, the village team were unable to score.

Del Murray replaced the injured David O’Took after 30 minutes as the game became mired in midfield.  When Murray was yellow carded for a high tackle in first half stoppage time Minety were forced to play with 14 men for 10 minutes.

Melksham dominated the opening plays of the second half, Minety’s chances being further hampered by the loss of the hard charging Church to an ankle injury.

Flanker Josh Bull was held up over the Melksham line in the 60th minute but despite more goal line pressure the home defence held firm.

Melksham’s 3rd try came after a Minety counter attack floundered in midfield and the ball inextricably found its way into the hands of Melksham’s left wing, who ran in to score under the posts from 22 metres.

The 4th, and bonus point winning try came just 2 minutes later, in the 69th minute.  A superb cut back by Melksham’s No. 13 split the Minety defence and a well-timed off load allowed the full back to run in for a try from 40 metres out.

Will North crosses for Minety’s try.

Minety’s try in the final move of the game was deserved reward for all of their efforts.  Hibbard broke through on the left and a short pass to prop Will North saw the latter score close to the posts.  McAllister converted the try to leave the final score 26-7 to Melksham.

Written by Graham Cooke

March 19th, 2017 at 11:23 am

Minety return to winning ways

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Minety produced arguably their best half of rugby this season during the first half of their 38-5 Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North league victory over Supermarine on Saturday.

The village side’s victory allowed them to leap frog over their closest rival Royal Wootton Basset and climb to 6th place in the league, just a point behind 5th placed Pewsey Vale.

Having lost the toss, Andrew Hibbard’s team faced the prospect of playing up the slope at Minety Fields in the first half against strong and physical opponents.

Welcoming back influential centres Dave Church and Jack Ward, and with a settled pack, the village side imposed themselves from the opening whistle.

1st try in 6th minute

After a series of attacking moves had been rebuffed, Minety opened the scoring.  The forwards set up the move, pushing their way deep into the Supermarine half before Ward and flanker Tom Windle battered the Supermarine defence right back to their try line.  Twice Minety forwards were denied by last ditched tackles but flanker David O’Took found the smallest of gaps to squeeze through for a try which Garin Garland converted.

Minety enjoyed the vast majority of the possession and territory in the first quarter of the match, winning quality ball at both lineout and scrum.

Using hooker Tom Claxton and the impressive Tom Windle on the crash ball, the backs were able to spread attacks across the pitch and it was something of a surprise that the home side took until the 22nd minute to extend their lead.

Excellent defensive tackling from Supermarine kept out the dangerous Church and Hibbard but the pressure told when the visitors were penalised for offside.  Garland stroked home the ensuing penalty and extended the lead to 10 points.

Captain scores try number 2

With Supermarine still to make any significant ground in the Minety half, the home team launched another wave of attacks which resulted in another penalty, this time for “going over the top and off the feet” at a ruck.  Garland stepped up and Minety were now 13-0 up.

On the half hour Supermarine finally pushed Minety deep back into their own half but Josh Bull took Claxton’s throw in and fly half Tom McAllister cleared the lines with an impressive kick to touch on the half way line.

Garland kicked his 3rd penalty of the half in the 34th minute and right on half time Windle was held up over the line.  From the resulting 5 metre scrum, Hibbard picked up and drove over for Minety 2nd try and a half time lead of 21-0.

Coach Craig Smith replaced prop Will North with Nick Britten at half time.

Tom Windle scores try number 3

Playing downhill in the 2nd half, Minety extended their lead in the 45th minute.  After a period of sustained attacking play, Windle burst through a gap in the Supermarine defensive line and fended off three players to score under the posts.  Garland converted and Minety were comfortably 28-0 up.

The game became fragmented as the penalty count rose against both teams and Supermarine saw their chance as Minety failed to settle.  Pushing the home team back deep into their own 22 metre area, the visitors forced a number of penalties, opting to scrum each time, and finally in the 52nd minute they crossed for an unconverted try wide out on the left wing.

Minety shook off their lethargy and when Garland was adjudged to have been unfairly dump tackled close to the Supermarine posts, he slotted home the penalty to take the home team to 31 points.

Garin kicks his 4th penalty

The game then drifted again, neither team able to make much progress, although the Supermarine defence did put in some fine smothering tackles to end Minety attacks.

As the final whistle approached Minety switched back on again and pushed forward for the 4th try, which would guarantee them an all-important league bonus point.

In the final play of the game, Ward and Church combined to punch a hole in the Supermarine defensive line and an off load allowed Bull to run in for the 4th try under the posts.  Garland kicked the conversion, his third of the day, and Minety ran out 38-5 winners and, in so doing, gained maximum league points.

Josh Bull scores try number 4

After the match captain Andrew Hibbard said, “That was a really good win for us after our defeat last week at Corsham and it’s great to see that it lifts us into 6th place in the league. I thought our first half game was perfect.  We had a game plan and we stuck to it.  In the second half we allowed things to drift a bit, lost our shape and

struggled, but the main thing was we got the win and the bonus point with that try right at the end.”

Man of the Match: Josh Bull, for his all round game and the fine last minute try.

Click on a photograph to bring up a full size image.


Gallery: Click cedntre to Pause / Start slideshow.  Click on left or right side of photo to move back and forth.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”5″ gal_title=”Minety v Supermarine 11/3/17″]



Written by Graham Cooke

March 12th, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Corsham turn on the style

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Top of the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table Corsham maintained their unbeaten record this season with a comprehensive victory over Minety by 46 points to 4 at Corsham on Saturday.

In weather conditions that veered wildly from spring sunshine to wintery squalls, the home team showed just why they have been unbeaten for so long in this league.

Minety were forced into changes even before the match kicked off when prop forward Will North picked up an injury in warm up, Owen Richardson coming in to replace him.

It was Minety who forced the first play of the game right from the kick off, but when the ball was lost in a ruck close to the Corsham lines the home backs moved the ball quickly and pacey winger Kalif Barnes broke through the stretched Minety defence to run the length of the pitch for the first try, converted by Hamish Miller.

Minety hit back, keeping the ball tight and close to their forwards before releasing Tom Windle to batter the heart of the Corsham defence.  Twice Minety attacks were thwarted by excellent tackling and rucking from Corsham but the pressure eventually gave rise to two penalties to Minety, both kicked by fly half Tom McAllister, to bring the score back to 7 – 6 after 13 minutes.

With dominance at the scrum and an ability to disrupt the normally efficient Minety line out, Corsham controlled the quality ball and left the village side to feed from loose ball.  Strong defensive tackling from winger Chris Rule and full back Duncan Simpson kept Minety in the game while flanker Josh Bull fought for any ball on the ground.

With the home team playing on the front foot, the second try in the 26th minute was inevitable.  Clever work in midfield allowed flanker Josh Macey to exploit numerical imbalance on the right wing and score out wide.  Macey got his second try just 5 minutes later, again down the right and Corsham gained their four try bonus point in the 38th minute when full back Robert Robinson crashed over to leave the score 22-6 to the home team.

The second half started as a mirror image of the first; a Minety attack was broken up and, with the village side over committed Adam Draper was able to run through to score Corsham’s 5th try.

The match settled down with Minety resorting to keeping the ball close, hooker Tom Claxton and second row Ash Windle running close ball and captain Andrew Hibbard proving to be hard to handle.

Corsham’s 6th try came from a move that used the full width of the pitch in the 63rd minute and they followed that up with another try, in the 68th minute, this time under the posts, during a period when they had two players in the sin bin.

Minety pressed hard for a try in the final quarter of the game with Richardson and Simpson held up just short of the line.  It was perhaps inevitable that Corsham’s 8th and final try should come after a period of Minety pressure.  Once again, their line speed and sheer power overwhelmed a tiring Minety defence and Alex Peterson was able to score leaving the final score of 46-6 for Corsham.

Minety captain was philosophical about the defeat afterwards.  “We knew this would be our toughest match of the season; they are not top of the league and unbeaten for nothing.  They have a good, strong mobile pack and fast backs.  They prevented us from getting quality ball from scrums and lineouts and forced us back at every opportunity.  Perhaps we could have kept the play tighter but we are a young, developing team and tried our best to push them back and spread the play.”

The win takes Corsham 13 points of chasing Warminster at the top of the table while Minety slip back to 7th behind Royal Wootton Bassett, who overcame Chippenham.

In the weekend’s other fixture, Matt Stone Minety 2nd XV travelled to Supermarine for a mid table clash and came away with a creditable 22-14 victory to cement their 7th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North table.


Gallery of photographs taken during Corsham Minety match.

Once the slideshow has loaded the first image, click in the middle of the image to start the slideshow or click on left (back) or right hand side (forward) to move through the slides.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”Corsham v Minety 4th March 2017″]

Written by Graham Cooke

March 5th, 2017 at 10:39 am

Minety cruise to 13 try victory

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Minety continued their fine run of form on Saturday with a crushing 79-0 victory over lowly Devizes at Minety Fields. After excellent away wins over Frome and Chippenham, the village side knew that nothing less than a win and a “4 try” bonus point would satisfy against a Devizes team yet to win in the league this season.

In unseasonably warm conditions and choosing to play up the infamous Minety slope in the first half, the home side dominated play.  After some clever interchanges involving forwards and backs, it was centre Jack Ward who opened the scoring in the 9th minute, crashing over the line for the first try, which was converted by scrum half Garin Garland.

Minety should have extended their lead shortly after but a penalty kick drifted wide of the posts.

Devizes initiated their first meaningful attack in the 20th minute but the greatly improved Minety tackling repelled all danger and quickly turned defence into attack.

Captain Andrew Hibbard collected the ball in midfield and left a wake of Devizes defenders before off-loading to flanker Josh Bull who drew the covering defence before executing a perfectly timed pass to allow full back Duncan Simpson to score Minety’s 2nd try in the 26th minute.

The third try came when Garland broke a tackle and was halted on the Devizes line.  Bull, in close support, touched down and the successful conversion saw Minety 19-0 up.

The bonus point for scoring 4 or more tries in a games was secured in the 37th minute.  With the Minety lineout and scrum affording quality controlled possession, Garland sent the ball along the back line and Del Murray, playing his first game at centre this season, drove through the Devizes defence before passing to flanker Tom Windle, who scored beneath the posts.  Garland’s conversion took the half time score to 26-0.

With the benefit of the slope in the 2nd half, Minety pushed forward right from the kick off.  Garland scored the first of a second half hat trick of tries in the 46th minute after hooker Tom  Claxton and Hibbard had battered their way through the Devizes defence.

With Minety comprehensively on top, Garland and fly half Tom McAllister used every opportunity to fling the ball out wide.  When winger Dave Cooke was halted inches from the line the ball was successfully rucked back and Ward scored his 2nd try and Minety’s 6th.

The impressive Murray sliced through the tiring Devizes defence in the 53rd minute for the 7th try, converted by Garland.

The Minety pack combined for a push over try from 15 metres out in the 62nd minute, Hibbard touching down and Garland again converting to send the score to 52-0.

Garland’s 2nd try came in the 66th minute after a forward’s move which saw Hibbard break through and six minutes later winger John Blair touched down.

Two tries in the last minute, the first from Garland and the second from Hibbard, who ran half the length of the pitch to score under the posts, ended the match with Minety 79-0 winners.

Minety’s win keeps the village side in 6th place but now only 4 points behind 5th placed Pewsey Vale and only 6 behind 3rd placed Bradford on Avon.

In the weekend’s other fixture, Matt Stone’s 2nd XV recorded their first win since November with a morale boosting 19-10 victory over Melksham.

Photographs now available in the Minety Gallery.  Click here.

Written by Graham Cooke

February 19th, 2017 at 11:22 am

Grit and determination see Minety to victory

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If last week’s win at Frome was all about “pride and passion”, Saturday’s 15-12 away win at Chippenham could best be summed up as “Grit and Determination”.

In freezing conditions and with a biting wind wafting flurries of snow across the pitch, Minety emerged victorious in their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North clash with Chippenham by 15-12 with first half tries from flanker Josh Bull and scrum half Jack Ward.

Minety kicked off in the first half with a team welcoming back hooker Tom Claxton, scrum half Ward and full back Ben Langridge from injuries.

Assistant Coach Craig Smith must have been delighted with the outcome of the early exchanges; the Minety defensive line looked to be well organised and dealt with all that Chippenham could throw at them while the forwards made good use of the ball to set up back plays.

Josh Bull celebrates 1st try

The visitors took the lead in the 5th minute. A strong attack down the right wing set up two rucks and Ward, spotting Bull unmarked, fed the flanker who crossed for a try unopposed.

Fly half Tom McAllister’s conversion drifted agonisingly wide in the swirling conditions leaving Minety 5-0 to the good.

Chippenham hit back but excellent defensive work from the village side kept them at bay until the 14th minute when a fine move across the pitch caught the defence outnumbered and Chippenham’s centre broke through to score.  The ensuing long range conversion was successful and Chippenham moved into a 2 point lead.

With the biting cold and gusting wind making handling almost impossible, both teams resorted to kicking, with McAllister and Ward pushing Chippenham back towards their line.

Jack Ward scores 2nd try

Minety struck for the second time in the 23rd minute when captain Andrew Hibbard picked up at the base of a scrum and passed to Ward who burst through the Chippenham defence to score near the posts.

McAllister’s conversion was successful and Minety were 12-7 up.

The villagers were denied a third try minutes later, the touch judge noticing that Langridge’s boot had just grazed the side line as he burst through to score.

Minety enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the Chippenham half with brothers Tom and Ash Windle proving difficult to handle for the Chippenham defence.  When the home side were penalised in a ruck, McAllister slotted home a penalty to extend the lead to 15-7.

Chippenham ended the half strongly and only some fine tackling from centre Duncan Simpson and second row Ben Scott kept them at bay and stopped them from scoring.

Del Murray replaced Jack Ward at half time, the latter having picked up an injury late in the first half.  Murray slotted in at scrum half with ease, pushing his forwards and spreading the ball out to the backs accurately in spite of the howling gale in his face.

Tom Windle was held up on the Chippenham line as Minety dominated the early exchanges of the half.

Chippenham were reduced to 14 men in the 59th minute, a forward being sin binned for a high tackle on McAllister, but the number imbalance seemed only to spur them on.

Using the wind at their backs to good effect, Chippenham launched the ball up field and, after setting up a series of rucks, the visitors’ defence was breached and Chippenham scored their second try.

The last 20 minutes were largely played out in Minety’s half as Chippenham pressed for a game winning score but the villagers tackled brilliantly and defended their line to the final whistle.

Captain Andrew Hibbard was jubilant at the end.  “Perhaps the hammering that we took at home a few weeks ago at the hands of Bradford on Avon did us good.  Since then we’ve put in two brilliant performances away from home, with a team made up of a mixture of 1st and 2nd XV players.  They all gave everything out there in very difficult conditions and I’m proud of them.”

The win lifts Minety above Royal Wootton Bassett into 6th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North.

The team were pleased to see injured flanker Rob Hinwood after the game.  Rob took a fearful blow in the win over Frome last week and suffered a double fracture of the jaw.  Last week Rob spent 10 hours in A&E, visited two different hospitals, had four x-rays, one operation and now has 4 titanium plates to hold his jaw together. Rugby players are tough!

In the weekend’s other match, a much changed Minety 2nd XV went down 38-0 at Trowbridge.  Injured captain Matt Stone said afterwards, “I’ve got to congratulate all of the squad who played today for playing today in cold conditions and sticking it right at Trowbridge all the way to the final whistle!

“They all played well and there was some good rugby played which we can all be proud of. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert the pressure in to any points, despite getting over the try line 4 times and having a lot of possession. But when you play out of position and we’re down on people and they only scored out wide it shows the team all did well.

“Great effort lads and thanks for the commitment

“Man of the Match:  Goes to Simon McCelland for putting loads of pressure on Trowbridge and getting us 4 turnovers. And to top it up it was his first ever game of seniors rugby. Great talent emerging from within Minety RFC.”

Final score Trowbridge 38 – 0 Minety


Written by Graham Cooke

February 12th, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Pride and Passion secure Minety victory

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Minety 1st XV travelled to in form Frome on Saturday in a hastily re-arranged Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North fixture, the original having been lost to a frozen pitch.

Smarting from their first half blitzing by Bradford last week, the team, made up of a combination of 1st and 2nd XV players, knew they would face a stiff challenge against a Frome team which had lost its first 8 matches of the season, including a 67-0 drubbing at Minety, but had since won 4 of their last 5 fixtures including impressive victories over Bradford and Chippenham.

Rob Hinwood injured making another tackle

Most of the early exchanges took place in the Minety half but a combination of tenacious tackling and intelligent clearance kicking from fly half Tom McAllister, saw Minety fend off everything that Frome could throw at them.

With flanker Josh Bull winning most of the lineout ball and scrum half Duncan Simpson orchestrating the defence, Minety pressed forward using centre Tom Windle to batter the heart of the Frome midfield.

Minety took the lead in the 10th minute from the boot of McAllister after Frome were penalised at a ruck.

The village team were desperately unlucky shortly after when winger Dave Cooke chipped ahead and Bull raced on to the ball and was clear of the defence, only for the referee to call play back and award Minety a penalty for a late tackle on the winger.

Another powerful run from Windle set up a ruck on the Frome line and McAllister extended the lead when the home defence was caught offside.

Frome pinned Minety back deep in their own half for much of the rest of the first half but, whereas in the past, tackling had been a weakness, this Minety side put in tackle after tackle to keep Frome at bay.

Minety lost the fearless Rob Hinwood to a head injury in the 34th minute, the flanker making a welcome return to the Minety line up after his university studies.

John Blair picks up and runs at the defence

The defence, expertly led by captain Andrew Hibbard, re-aligned and extended their lead in the 38th minute when centre John Blair picked up a pass on his own 22 metre line and ran the length of the pitch, shrugging off 4 tacklers to score under the posts.

McAllister added the conversion and Minety were 13-0 up.

More was the come in the final moments of the half.  Simpson fed Hibbard and the captain broke through the covering defence and raced down the line to score in the corner to see Minety 18-0 to the good at half time.

John scores under the posts.

Despite dominating possession for large parts of the 2nd half, Frome were unable to break the determined Minety defence.

The home team eventually got themselves on the score sheet with a 62nd minute try as Minety began to tire.  The successful conversion left the visitors 18-7 ahead.

But this Minety side were not about to cave in under the Frome pressure.  Against all the odds they pressed forward and, after pushing Frome back on to their line, McAllister spotted an overlap on the left and threw a 20 metre pass to set up replacement winger Kieran Gash for Minety’s 3rd try in the 72nd minute.

Wallace on the charge

Frome’s 2nd try in the final play of the game was something of a consolation for all of their efforts in an absorbing encounter which saw Minety emerge victors by 26-14.

Wallace scores Minety’s 2nd try

Assistant coach Craig Smith said afterwards, “That was a polar opposite to last week.  The tackling was awesome and everyone should be proud of themselves.  The lads who came up from the 2nd XV, over half of the team, acquitted themselves brilliantly and showed tremendous commitment.  There was real pride and passion across the pitch.”

Captain Andrew Hibbard was unable to pick out one individual for the Man of the Match award.  He commented, “We had 16 men of the match out there today.  A tremendous team effort.”


Kieran Gash scores Minety’s 3rd try.

nb. The referee’s score sheet shows the result as 26-14 however, scrutiny of the video of the match reveals the true score to be 23-14.

Minety Team: 1.  Will North, 2. Owen Richardson, 3. Gareth Thomas, 4. Ash Windle, 5. Ben Scott, 6. Rob Hinwood, 7. Josh Bull, 8. Andrew Hibbard (c), 9. Duncan Simpson, 10. Tom McAllister, 11. David Cooke, 12. John Blair, 13. Tom Windle, 14. Del Murray, 15. Chris Rule, 16. Kieran Gash

Written by Graham Cooke

February 5th, 2017 at 11:01 am

Bradford Blitz leaves Minety beaten

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When the two sides met earlier in the season in a cup match, Bradford’s powerful side exploited Minety’s defensive frailties and ran out easy winners.  However, no one present at Minety on Saturday could have predicted the first half blitzing of the home defence that saw Bradford end the half 43-3 up.

Playing downhill in the first half on a well grassed pitch, Bradford opened their scoring in the first minute from a penalty in front of the posts.

The first try came in the 3rd minute when the visitor’s scrum half burst through the patched Minety defence, featuring a number of players pulled from the 2nd XV at very late notice and coach Richard Hall, making an emergency appearance.

Fly half John Blair scored Minety’s only points of the half with a penalty in the 8th minute as the home side fought back and pressurised the visitor’s line.

While Minety kept possession in the forwards they were able to match Bradford but all too often the resulting ball was slow and attacks were easily repelled by the visitors’ well organised defence.

Loss of possession close to the opposition line saw Minety heavily penalised as Bradford raced the length of the pitch to score their second try in the 15th minute.

Minety lost Hall to a leg injury and, for a short time, had to manage with 14 players.

Yet another “length of the pitch” break led to Bradford’s 3rd try after a period of Minety pressure and their 4th, and bonus point winning try, came almost from the kick off, yet another break out from deep in their own half, despite the valiant efforts of young Chris Rule, making his debut at full back.

Too often, Minety’s attacks stalled in midfield and wingers Dave Cooke and James Stuart saw hardly any ball.

Minety’s already dire situation became worse in the 27th minute when influential 2nd row forward Ben Collins suffered what looked to be a nasty knee injury and was carried from the pitch.

2nd XV’s Ben Scott was drafted in from their match on an adjoining pitch to shore up the home pack as Minety pushed hard for an opening try.

Two Bradford tries just before the break saw the teams turn round with the visitors 43-3 up.

Quite what coach Hall said to his players at half time isn’t clear but they came out for the second half in a very positive frame of mind.

Once again injuries took their toll and the villagers resorted to introducing 57 year old Club President Andy Ward to the fray in the 43rd minute.  Just one minute later flanker turned centre Tom Windle burst through to score from 30 metres.  Blair’s conversion reduced the deficit to 43-10.

Fearless defensive work from full back Rule prevented Bradford from scoring before Minety scored their second try in the 57th minute when hooker Owen Richardson forced his way over after both Ash Windle and Andrew Hibbard had been held up near the line.

Ward’s 20 minute cameo came to an end when he was replaced by a heavily patched up Hall for the final 15 minutes as Minety chased an improbable bonus point.

A beautifully caught line out ball by the consistently impressive Josh Bull, another product of the Minety Academy initiative, set up a series of attacks on the Bradford line and it was no surprise when Richardson scrambled in his second and Minety’s third try of the match.  Blair’s conversion narrowly missed but the 20-43 score line now gave Minety added heart and some reward for their efforts.

Bradford extended their lead with the only try to be scored playing uphill in the game but Minety bravely struck back in the dying moments, Windle breaking out of midfield before off-loading to Bull, who ran in the score in the corner to end the match 25-48 but also secure what could, at the end of the season, be an invaluable 4 try scoring bonus point for the home side.

Despite the loss, coach Hall was upbeat as he spoke to the players after the match.  To their credit, they never allowed their heads to drop and always tried to be positive.  Everyone was congratulated on their efforts and special mention was made to the 2nd XV players who filled in some valiantly and to man of the match Josh Bull and debutant Chris Rule.

Much is made of the slope on two of the Minety pitches and how much of an advantage it is to play downhill.  This was borne out on Saturday when, extraordinarily, 68 points were registered by teams playing downhill whilst only 8 were scored uphill!

In the weekend’s other match, an already patched up Minety 2nd XV, desperately short of players and forced to borrow some from visitors Swindon College Old Boys, were further restricted when players had to transfer mid game to patch up the 1st XV.  Despite all of their efforts the 2nd XV went down to the league leaders, and hitherto unbeaten, Swindon College Old Boys by 70-0.


Written by Graham Cooke

January 29th, 2017 at 11:04 am

Minety edge home in 7 try thriller

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Minety bravely held on to defeat 2nd placed Warminster in a 7 try thriller at Minety Fields on Saturday in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North, emerging 28-27 victors in a pulsating encounter.

When the two sides met in September it was Warminster who came out on top in a tight match and the two sides, evenly matched and  with complimentary playing styles, continued where they left off.

Much of the pre match speculation revolved around how the referee and players would respond to the new laws introduced by World Rugby on 3rd January regarding high tackles and contact with the head.  In the event two players, one from each team, spent 10 minutes on the side-lines for high tackles but that apart, the game was a fine advertisement for local rugby.

For the first time in many weeks, Minety coach Richard Hall was able to put out something akin to his strongest team with a powerful set of forwards and influential Dave Church and Jack Ward renewing their partnership in the centres.

Playing down the slope in the first half, Warminster used a kicking game early on to push Minety back into their own 22 metre area.

Warminster’s Fijian centres were a real handful in the previous match and their ability to switch play and exploit the merest of defensive gaps caught Minety in the 9th minute allowing their fly half to chip over the advancing defence and score beneath the posts.

Both teams enjoyed the excellent playing surface, played on one of Minety’s reserve pitches after the main pitch was declared too wet for rugby, and the ball was run at every opportunity.

Ben Langridge scores 1st try

Minety were reduced to 14 men when lock forward Ash Windle was yellow carded for a late tackle in the 21st minute but hit back when Minety captain Andrew Hibbard exploited some loose ball, kicked ahead and fly half Tom McAllister fed winger Ben Langridge who ran in to score from 30 metres out.  Scrum half Garin Garland pushed the conversion wide, but Minety were back in the game.

Warminster were reduced to 14 men after a head high tackle on McAllister and Garland slotted home the subsequent penalty to give Minety a slender 8-7 lead.

Warminster struck back in the 34th minute when their winger collected a pass 20 metres out , avoided three tackles and ran in to score from 80 metres.

Garin (hidden) scores 2nd try

Minety’s response was to lay siege to the Warminster line and Garland, one of the smallest players on the pitch, somehow managed to smuggle the ball over for Minety’s 2nd try, which he converted.

In the closing minute of the half Warminster re-took the lead with a penalty.

Minety struck back in dramatic fashion at the start of the second half.  Garland collected a clearance kick and ran back at the heart of the Warminster defence before off-loading to Ash Windle who shrugged off 5 tackles on his way to score under the posts.  Garland’s conversion took the score to 22-17 for the hosts.

Only some desperate last ditch tackling from Church and wingers Langridge and Dave Cooke prevented Warminster from scoring as the game entered its final quarter.

Ash powers through for try No. 3

The home team’s desire to run the ball from their own line in the 61st minute cost them dear.  An intercepted pass and then a ruck saw Warminster’s fly half touch down wide out on the right.  The conversion was missed but the scores were now locked at 22 all.

Minety’s woes were compounded at the re-start when Langridge was yellow carded for a high tackle but they re-grouped and changed tactics.  Playing downhill and one man down, Minety resorted to tactical kicking to keep Warminster pinned in their own half.

Garland restored Minety’s lead in the 76th minute with a penalty.

The final minutes were pulsating – both teams abandoning defence for all out attack, flinging the ball from side to side, much to the crowd’s delight and the obvious frustration of both sets of coaches.  Garland extended the lead to 6 points with another penalty as the game entered stoppage time.

But there was to be a sting in the tail; in the final play of the match, Warminster won a scrummage against the head, spread the ball out wide and scored a try in the corner.

The match was decided on a long range conversion which fell agonisingly short for Warminster and Minety emerged victors by 28-27.

Congratulations to players, officials and coaches alike – it was great entertainment.

Minety joint Men of the Match: Ash and Tom Windle.

Joint man of the match – Ash Windle

Written by Graham Cooke

January 15th, 2017 at 10:49 am

Missed opportunities cost Minety dear

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Minety went into Saturday’s Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North game with Melksham knowing that a win would take them into 4th place during the Christmas break.  Sadly, it was not to be as a patched up Minety team, missing 7 regular 1st team players, lost a bruising encounter 12-3 at Minety Fields.

Melksham, playing downhill in the 1st half, dominated the early exchanges with some incisive running from their backs.  In damp and misty conditions, ball handling was difficult and Minety scrum half Garin Garland and fly half Tom McAllister evened up affairs with some clever positional kicking, pushing Melksham back into their own half.

The visitors took the lead in the 16th minute after firing the ball along their back line.  A crucial missed tackle in midfield allowed their flanker to cross for a try close to the posts.  The conversion was successful and Melksham were 7 – 0 up.

Melksham extended their lead in the 27th minute after a period of territorial advantage.  Once again, missed tackles put the home team on the back foot and the Melksham forwards took their chance to score a second try.  The conversion was missed but the visitors’ lead was now 12 points.

As the half drew to a close the Minety forwards upped their game and began to dominate with No. 8 Tom Windle, hooker Tom Claxton and captain Will North all making strong incursions into the Melksham 22 but the visitors’ defence remained resolute and the half ended with Melksham 12-0 up.

Reduced to 14 men early in the second half after a yellow card for an offence in the ruck, Melksham were forced to soak up massive Minety pressure.  Stand in coach Andy Ward introduced last week’s try scorer Adam Watts into proceedings at full back and his presence in the line added much needed impetus as the home team pressed forward looking for their first score.

Minety turned down a number of very kickable penalties, preferring to run the ball.  In hindsight the home team might have been better served by taking the penalties on offer.

The key moment of the second half came in the 60th minute when, after a spell of concerted pressure on the Melksham line, the Minety forwards drove forward and over the line with Tom Windle appearing to touch down.  However, the referee was unsighted and decided that the ball had been held up.

The village team eventually broke their duck in the 63rd minute when Garland kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears to 9 points.  The final quarter of the match was evenly contested with chances at both ends but the defences held firm and Melksham finished 12-3 victors.  The loss dropped Minety one place down the table and they enter the second half of the campaign in 7th place with lots of hard work ahead of them.

Andy Ward was proud of the team’s effort but frustrated with the result.  “They had two chances in the first half and took them both.  We had at least three chances in the second half and took none of them.  It was that close.  It was a hard game and both teams are to be congratulated on their efforts.  We had a lot of players stepping up to fill gaps brought about through injury so we weren’t as fluent or dynamic as we can be but those lads left nothing out on that pitch today.”

In the weekend’s other match, Matt Stone’s 2nd XV drew 22 all with Devizes 3rds.  In a tight match, the home team came back to force a draw with a series of late tries.  The points won leave the 2nd’s in 7th place in Dorset and Wilts 3 North.

Both Minety teams will start the second half of their league campaigns on the 14th January when the 1st XV take on Warminster whilst the seconds entertain Alfred’s Nomads.


Josh Bull, Ash Windle and Tom Claxton – “Losing hurts!”


Try telling him that it’s only a game!

Written by Graham Cooke

December 18th, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Watts try edges Minety home

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In distinctly gloomy conditions on Saturday afternoon an Adam Watts try at the end of the first half was sufficient for the village side to overcome Swindon in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North.

A wet pitch and a troublesome wind always meant that the match would be a territorial battle with little flowing or expansive rugby, and so it proved to be.

Playing into a swirling wind and rain, Minety dominated possession and territorial advantage in the first twenty minutes of the game, pinning Swindon back into their own half and forcing the play.  After 20 minutes Swindon lost one of their backs, yellow carded, and the pressure on their line grew.

The wet ball and greasy conditions made running play difficult but it was surprising that it took the village side 25 minutes before they opened the scoring, scrum half Garin Garland slotting home a penalty from 22 metres out after Swindon forwards were penalised for going off their feet in a ruck.

Minety were straight back on the attack from the kick off. Excellent territorial kicking from Garland, fly half Tom McAllister and full back Adam Watts pushed play back into the Swindon half and some tenacious tackling by the Minety forwards ensured that Swindon only ventured in the Minety half on a handful of occasions in the first half hour.

The pressure told in the 32nd minute when Swindon were forced back onto their own line.  A fumbled pass over their own in goal line gave Minety a scrum 5 metres out.  The pack held firm and Garland quickly flicked the ball out to McAllister whose pass to outside centre Jack Ward split the home defence.  Ward shrugged off two defenders before popping the ball to full back Watt who crossed easily for the opening try.  The conversion was missed in the swirling wind but Minety were now 8 points up.

The village side lost prop Gareth Thomas to a lower back injury and McAllister’s movement was restricted when he picked up an ankle problem.  In the closing minutes of the first half Minety pressed forward again in search of a second try but resolute defence from Swindon kept them at bay until the final play of the half when the home forwards were caught off side and Garland scored with the resultant penalty to take Minety into a reasonably comfortable 11 point lead at half time.

It seemed as if the domination would continue in the second half when flanker Josh Bull caught the kick off, chipped over the Swindon defence  and was only just beaten to the ball inches from the Swindon line.

The first 10 minutes of the second half were spent with the team camped in the Swindon 22.  Bull and debutant James Thompson troubled the Swindon forwards all match.  In the wet conditions, with ball carrying at a premium, they were there to pick up loose ball time after time.

Minety’s lead was extended to 14 in the 52nd minute with another Garland penalty but they were caught flat footed almost immediately.  Possession was lost from the kick off and the Swindon full back was able to pick up and run in for a try, which was converted. With their lead cut to 7 Minety lost shape and Swindon at last saw some possession in their opponents’ half.

It came as something of a relief when Minety were able to break free without conceding any more points.  Once again Swindon forwards were caught offside and Garland kicked the penalty to push the visitors’ lead out to 10 points.

In a frantic last 10 minutes, in the fading light, Swindon mounted attack after attack on the Minety line and when Minety were penalised for not releasing after a tackle, Swindon took a quick penalty and moved the ball out wide to the right, scoring by the corner post.  The conversion was missed and Minety were able to hold on for a fine away win by 17-12.

Minety coach Richard Hall was full of praise for his players.  “I thought they played with real passion today.  We pressurised a really good Swindon team into making errors and capitalised on them.  It was a great win played in dreadful conditions.  All I am concerned about is our tendency to switch off for short stretches in our games.  It happened again today and cost us 7 points.”

Captain Andrew Hibbard relished playing in the muddy conditions.  “We’re used to the mud, playing at Minety.  We were all over them in the first half and at the start of the second but then we had that quiet spell and lost our shape and momentum.  We’ve got a hard match next week against Melksham and we need to be at our best for the full match if we’re going to win that one.”

Man of the Match: Josh Bull for a tremendous all round performance, especially his ability to turn loose ball into Minety possession.

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nd XV travelled to Westbury with just 13 players but came away with an amazing 62 – 0 win.  At one stage the Minety were down to 12 men after an injury but still ran in a number of tries.

Written by Graham Cooke

December 11th, 2016 at 11:31 am

Minety lose out in local derby

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Probably the first fixture that Minety players look for when the lists are published is the match up with local rivals, Royal Wootton Bassett.

When the two teams met for the first time this season at Minety Fields in the league last Saturday the result was a bruising encounter with the visitors eventually emerging 22-19 winners.

Minety started the day in 5th place in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North, their visitors just two places below them, buoyed no doubt by their excellent performance the week before when they were only narrowly defeated by the unbeaten Corsham side.

In a fast paced opening sequence of play, both teams moved the ball well but were unable to retain possession long enough to make real inroads into the defences.

Minety took the lead in the 15th minute when scrum half Garin Garland slotted a penalty from 25 metres out after Bassett players were penalised at a ruck.

Bassett hit back 5 minutes later after some sustained pressure had pinned the villagers back in their own 22.  Spotting the defence out of position, Bassett’s scrum half picked up the ball at the base of a ruck and ran in to touch down beneath the posts.  The conversion was successful and Wootton Bassett led 7-3.

Minety struck back four minutes later when Garland fed the Minety captain Andrew Hibbard, who crashed through the Bassett defence to score near the posts.  Garland’s conversion restored the home team’s lead at 10-7.

When Bassett’s defence was caught offside Garland extended the lead to 13-7 with a well taken penalty in the 27th minute.

The visitors hit back soon after when an attempted clearance kick was charged down and Minety’s defence were unable to reset properly.  Bassett stole the ball from the ensuing ruck and spread it out left for the outside centre to run in and score.  The unsuccessful conversion left the villagers with a narrow 13-12 lead which Garland extended in the final minutes of the half to bring the half time score to 16-12.

The home side started the second half promisingly.  Tall second row Ben Collins made his presence felt up front whilst full back Duncan Simpson’s entries into the line placed added pressure on the visitors’ defence.

In their final matches for the village club, long serving flanker Steve Brown and winger Ben Langridge both put in huge tackles to force Bassett back as Minety upped the pressure.

The match, so evenly balanced, changed direction in the 60th minute when Minety were forced into major alterations up front after prop forward Peter Andrews was withdrawn after a head injury and influential scrum half Garland was yellow carded shortly afterwards.

With Minety down to 14 players and Simpson moving from full back to scrum half, Bassett took control and crossed for their 3rd try wide on the left in the 66th minute.  Their 4th, and bonus point winning try, came four minutes later, this time the inside centre touching down wide out on the right.

Garland, back from his 10 minutes in the sin bin, kicked a penalty for Minety in the 73rd minute to cut Bassett’s lead to just 4 points but, as the light faded and the minutes ticked away, Minety were unable to convert pressure into points and had to settle for a losing league bonus point as Bassett emerged 22-19 victors.

For the home team Garland kicked four penalties and one conversion while Hibbard scored their only try.

Man of the Match: Front row forward Will North who put in a battling performance up front.

Playing their last matches for Minety:  Steve Brown and Ben Langridge.  We will be reporting on both in the coming days and weeks but I’m sure that everyone at Minety will wish them well as they take on new challenges.

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Ben Langridge

Ben Langridge

Written by Graham Cooke

November 27th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Minety hang on for one point win

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Minety hang on for one point win

Seemingly coasting to a comfortable away victory, with a half time lead of 22-5, Minety had to cling on for the win as home team Supermarine fought back in the second half, eventually falling just one point short in a thrilling climax to an error strewn game.

Once again Minety coach Richard Hall was forced to make numerous changes to his line-up with teenage fly half Tom McAllister moving to scrum half, second row Tom Windle at inside centre and numerous others changing roles as injuries and unavailabilities bit hard.

Minety started promisingly with Windle’s powerful running always a threat to the home defence.

Both teams found the wet ball and the slippery conditions difficult to manage and all too often the final ball went to ground as Minety pressed forward and Supermarine defended doggedly.

Minety’s more mobile pack, led ably by hooker Tom Claxton, began to assert their authority and it was no surprise when prop forward Peter Andrews picked up and drove over for the opening try after another Claxton led drive after 20 minutes.

Minety doubled their lead in the 26th minute.  Outside centre Robin Greenway won the ball in midfield and McAllister, seeing a gap behind the home defence, chipped the ball over the Supermarine backs and ran in to collect the ball and touch down from 20 metres out.

The home team hit back three minutes later, moving the ball across the width of the pitch to score in the left hand corner but Minety restored their lead seconds later when Academy star Ben Kingston, playing on the wing, picked up a loose ball, shrugged off a tackle and ran in a fine solo try from 60 metres out.

As the first half wound down, Minety’s defence handled all that Supermarine could throw at them with relative ease and the speed of flanker Josh Bull and the back line kept the home team pegged in midfield.

When McAllister broke through the home defences and fed Bull for Minety’s 4th try in first half stoppage time, and fly half John Blair slotted home the conversion, the lead was a deserved 22-5 for the villagers.

Supermarine’s dramatic second half comeback started in the first minute when a wayward pass was intercepted by their outside centre who ran in from 35 metres.  Four minutes later Supermarine had their 3rd try when the ball was moved out left quickly and, with the Minety defence outnumbered, the full back raced in to touch down.  The successful long range conversion brought the score back to 17-22.

An injury to McAllister saw Greenway move to scrum half and further changes to the back line as Minety repelled the menacing Supermarine attacks.

Blair slotted a penalty for Minety in the 54th minute to extend the lead to a crucial 8 points.

Only a last ditch intervention from Minety captain Andrew Hibbard prevented Supermarine from scoring as the game entered its final quarter.

Minety re-grouped and played some of their best rugby of the second half and kept the home team back in their own half as the clock ticked down.

With just seconds remaining the home team launched one last attacking move and their winger, playing fly half, picked up the ball at a ruck and ran in past four defenders to score in the corner.  The conversion was successful but it proved to be the last play of the game and Minety were home and dry by 25-24 to move up to 5th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table.

Joint Man of the Match:  Josh Bull and Tom Claxton.

After the game Claxton was philosophical.  “We had the first half under control but then we didn’t stick to the game plan in the 2nd half and the game became really ugly.”

Coach Hall said, “It really was a game of two halves.  We were comfortable but then switched off for 15 minutes and the whole momentum of the game changed.  We’ll need to be far more focused next week when we entertain Royal Wootton Bassett at home.”

Minety 2nd XV match at Corsham was called off when it became clear that the villagers’ limited playing resources would not allow them to put out a team for the match.

Pete Andrews scores 1st try

Pete Andrews scores 1st try

Robin Greenway's tackle for try No. 2

Robin Greenway’s tackle for try No. 2

Tom McAllister scores try No. 2

Tom McAllister scores try No. 2

Ben Kingston dives over for try 3.

Ben Kingston dives over for try 3.

Josh Bull runs in try 4

Josh Bull runs in try 4

Written by Graham Cooke

November 20th, 2016 at 12:12 pm