Minety RFC

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2nd XV Match report: Five Try Minety seal the deal

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Minety 2nd XV met up with Royal Wootton Bassett IV’s on Saturday 5th October in a Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North fixture at Minety Fields.

Minety chose to play uphill in the 1st half on a well grassed pitch against strong opposition and with a number of players making their debuts for the village side. In the opening exchanges Minety took the game to Bassett but were pushed back in the scrums but countered with some strong defending tackles and a willingness to run the ball from deep in their own half.

Bassett settled early and were soon pressurising the Minety line but fine smothering tackles from fly half Will Mason and his defence repelled all attacks.

When Bassett were awarded a scrum 5 metres from the Minety line in the 10th minute the ball was won against the head with Mason picking up the ball in his own goal area.  Instead of touching down for a drop out the young fly half chose to run the ball, beating two defenders and racing 50 metres down field before off loading to William Cook, the winger running in the try to put the home side 5 – 0 up.

Impressive scrum half Jamie Jamieson-Black began to dominate in mid field as the Minety pack, featuring father and son Phil and Ben Ward, kept the game tight.

As the half developed so play moved into Bassett territory, Jonnie Leong taking good ball at the lineout and Jamieson-Black and Mason stretching the Bassett defence. When Bassett did launch an attack, the Minety defence was resolute and well organised.

Minety should have doubled their lead in the 30th minute when a clear over lap developed but they over elaborated and the chance was lost.

With half time approaching, Bassett were penalised for a high tackle 5 metres out wide on the left wing. Mason audaciously lofted the ball the width of the pitch straight into the arms of Jack Cook who touched down for MInety and a 10-0 lead.

With the last play of the half Jamieson-Black picked up a lose ball and burst through the Bassett defence to score a fine solo try and extend the lead to 15-0.

The second half was 6 minutes old when Bassett scored from a tap penalty close to the Minety posts to bring the score back to 15-7.

Both teams threw caution to the wind as they sought the next score.  The Jamieson-Black and Mason combination initiated a number of attacking moves while the pack more than held their own.

Bassett squandered a great opportunity in the 65th minute when the ball went to ground with the try line beckoning and were made to pay when Jack Cook scored his second try of the game, ending a fine backs’ move to brush aside two defenders and run in to register Minety’s 4th try.

Minety sealed the victory with another impressive try, this time from Henry Skipton-Carter.  A Bassett kick ahead was charged down and Skipton-Carter collected the ball 40 metres out to run in and score Minety’s 5th try and extend the lead to 25-7.

Two late converted tries from Bassett bought the visitors a losing bonus point as Minety ran out of steam in then final minutes of the game but it was the villagers who hung on to bag the points by 25-21. 

2nd XV team manager Steve Wilson was delighted with the performance.  “It was a fantastic effort from the whole team.  We really stuck at it and showed great determination.  There were some promising debuts and I look forward to the rest of the season, confident that we can put together a really competitive campaign.”

Squad: Matt Park, Dan Overend, Ethan Whitehurst, Phil Ward, Ben Ward, Angus Clifford, Tom Waldron, Jonnie Leong, Jamie Jamieson-Black, Will Mason, Scott Tomlins, Ryan Walker, Bram, Coleman, Ned Lockwood, Sam Thmpson, Henry Skipton-Carter, Jack Cook and William Cook

Man of the Match: Jamie Jamieson-Black

Written by Graham Cooke

October 6th, 2019 at 11:56 am

Minety left to rue missed chances

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Huge domination of territory and possession usually ends with a comprehensive win, but that was not the case for Minety at Warminster on Saturday.  Two tries on either side of the half time whistle secured the points for hitherto unbeaten Warminster and condemned Minety to their second loss of the season.

The village team started the match strongly with both lineout and scrum working well but Warminster’s fast defensive line speed kept the village team at bay.  In blustery conditions and with the wind predominantly at their backs, it took nearly 10 minutes for the home wide to gain any sort of possession in Minety’s half.  Strong tackling in midfield from fly half Kieran James and prop Colin French pushed the home side back.

Minety should have opened the scoring on 22nd minutes but a penalty 22 metres out was run, unsuccessfully, when a kick would have been a more pragmatic and productive outcome.

Hard running back Luke Radcliffe was always a threat but Minety lost centre Del Murray to a head injury soon after, prop Andy Darrell replacing him as coach Andrew Irvine was forced to make major structural changes.

A chance wide on the left went begging when the ball broke free as flanker Kieran Tillotson and captain Andrew Hibbard both went close and Hibbard was held up over the line shortly after.

Warminster’s first real threat came after 25 minutes from a free-flowing backs’ move but the ball was spilled in a tackle.  Full back Chris Rule was resolute in defence, bringing off a try saving tackle in the 30th minute as the home side stepped up the pressure.  James and prop Mark Glew were called upon to hold up a Warminster attack over the line but missed tackles left Warminster’s scrum half through for their first try in the 1st minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half.  There was still time for Minety to mount another attack but the bounce of the ball was unkind and the chance lost.

The second half started disastrously for Minety.  Trying to run the ball out of their own 22 from the kick off, the ball was lost and after a number of attacks held up near the line, the ball found its way out left for the Warminster full back to touch down for their second try.

As Minety sought a score they were caught out by swift counter attacks and Garin Garland and the defensive line were called on to make some telling tackles.

Radcliffe’s break after 60 minutes was halted by a last-ditch tackle and from the ensuing plays Garland and French were halted inches from the line.

A fine backs’ move involving James, Ben Langridge, Glew and Dave Cooke saw the winger break deep into the Warminster half but the defence held steady and the attack broke down.

As the match entered the last 10 minutes Darrall was thwarted close to the line after a break from midfield and Matt Stone and Matt Chisholm both went close.

Even when Warminster were reduced to 13 men with two sent to the sin bin for high tackles, Minety could not break through and the match ended with Warminster taking the points to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and coach Irvine scratching his head, wondering how to fire Minety’s attack.

Team: Colin French, Jay Thompson, Mark Glew, Matt Stone, Ben Scott, Matt Chisholm, Kieran Tillotson, Andrew Hibbard, Garin Garland, Kieran James, Dave Cooke, Rob Hinwood, Del Murray, Luke Radcliffe and Chris Rule.  Replacements: Andy Darrall and Ben Langridge.


Written by Graham Cooke

September 29th, 2019 at 3:10 pm

Minety lose out in high scoring encounter

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On Saturday a much changed Minety team took to the field against Marlborough II for their first home game of the season. Minety started strongly with Ben Collins scoring with a catch and drive from a line out. Luke Radcliffe’s fine long range conversation putting Minety 7-0 up. Missed tackles let Marlborough into the game with two quick scores turning the match on its head. Minety pulled back to 12-14 with Collins once again striking from a line out before Marlborough extended their lead with a penalty.

It was Minety who finished the half strongest. Colin French latching on to a pass from the strong running Dellam Murray, followed by a fine solo effort from Radcliffe who also added the extras. Half time came with Minety leading 24-17.

Playing up the slope Minety dominated the early encounters of the second half Jay Thompson unfortunate to have a try disallowed. Marlborough hit back strongly and missed tackles, a lapse in concentration and a soft intercept gifted Marlborough with three unanswered tries and saw them storm into a 24-36 lead. Loss of the influential Radcliffe compounding issues for Minety.

Minety rallied salvaging a losing point with a late try from Andrew Hibbard from the base of a scrum. However it was too little too late and Marlborough held out to win 29-36.


Thanks to Cliff Garland for providing this match report.

The 2nd XV match away at Warminster was conceded after Minety were unable to field a full team.

Results form around the leagues on this site tomorrow.


Written by Graham Cooke

September 23rd, 2019 at 10:17 am

Minety romp home in 9 try thriller

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Minety got their season off to the perfect start with a fine, hard fought 29 – 24 win at Trowbridge on Saturday.

In a match played in sweltering conditions, Minety’s new look team struck first with two tries inside the first 10 minutes from Tom Claxton and Sam Hughes.  As the match settled down it was clear that whilst Minety were comfortable with the ball in close they were vulnerable whenever Trowbridge’s backs started to pass the ball out wide.

Three tries for the home side in the space of 14 minutes just before half time turned the match on its head and saw Trowbridge lead 19 – 12.

At half time coach James Irving brought on Morgan Aubrey for Matt Stone and made some tactical changes in the backs.

The opening exchanges in the second half saw Trowbridge press Minety back but the pressure was broken when captain Andrew Hibbard crossed for Minety’s third try in the 52nd minute.  When fly half Sam Hughes was injured soon after Chris Rule took his place in a rearranged back line and it was the replacement who scored Minety’s fourth, bonus point winning try in the 55th minute.  When centre Luke Radcliffe, making his first league appearance for some years, crashed through the home defence for Minety’s fifth try and a 29 -19 lead in the 65th minute the match looked to be over as both sides suffered in the unseasonably fine weather.

A Trowbridge try in the 74th minute gave the hosts a chance of a victory and it was only two superb try saving tackles from full back Duncan Simpson that insured a Minety win and maximum league points.

Minety II’s game was conceded by Melksham late on Friday night.

Minety 1st XV team:  Colin French, Tom Claxton, Mark Glew, Matt Stone, Ben Scott, Jay Thompson, Kieran Tillotson, Garin Garland, Sam Hughes, Ben Langridge, Luke Radcliffe, Kieran James, Rob Hinwood and Duncan Simpson.  Replacements: Morgan Aubrey, Chris Rule and Matt Chisholm.

Scorers: Tries Tom Claxton, Sam Hughes, Andrew Hibbard, Chris Rule and Luke Radcliffe.  Conversions Garin Garland (2).


Written by Graham Cooke

September 14th, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Hughes and Hibbard shine in Minety win

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Fly half Sam Hughes and Number 8 Andrew Hibbard were the undoubted stars as Minety completed a deserved 39 – 22 win over Pewsey Vale on Saturday, and in so doing moved above Trowbridge into 6th place in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 with just match left in the season.

Both teams played with a ferocity that left a number of players injured and many more nursing knocks that will take some days to recover.

Pewsey started the match kicking down the slope but soon found the home team making incursions into their territory thanks to some quick bursts from scrum half Garin Garland, returning to action after 5 weeks out through injury.

Minety opened the scoring in the 5th minute. When Hughes picked up the ball 30 metres out there seemed little chance of a try but the fly half danced his way past 5 defenders to score beneath the posts.

Sam Hughes scores Minety’s first try in the 5th minute

With Garland orchestrating the moves and speedy flankers Mark Glew and Morgan Aubrey pressing forward, Minety began to play the sort of free flowing rugby that had been their hallmark earlier in the season before injuries deprived them of so many players.

Garin Garland before his injury

Pewsey used the slope well and some defensive kicking soon saw them camped on the Minety try, using their mobile pack and powerful backs to pin the village team back. Fine tackling by second row Matt Chisholm and winger Duncan Simpson frustrated Pewsey’s attempts and kept the home side ahead until a pivotal moment in the match on 20 minutes when Garland had to be helped from the pitch after sustaining what looked to be a concussion. Minety coach Andy Grayson brought on young Sam Waldron and moved Glew to scrum half as cover.

Pewsey scored their first try shortly after, a forwards’ move seeing them push over the line to touch down in the 23rd minute. The conversion was missed so Minety still lead by 7 – 5.

With Glew and Hughes now working well at half back and Hibbard always a threat in the loose, Minety pressed for a score before half time, centre Chris Rule hauled down metres from the line after a fine burst through the defence, prop Colin French on hand to take up the charge.

Pewsey were denied a try in the 36th minute when the final pass of a fluent cross field move went forward as the physicality of the encounter took its toll, French forced off after a heavy tackle and Dan Wilson entering the fray, the 48th player to wear the Minety 1st XV shirt this season. With Glew moving to prop as cover, centre Del Murray took up the scrum half role as the half entered no less than 13 minutes of stoppage time.

A 60 metre, lung busting run up the slope from Hibbard released the Pewsey pressure and after attempts by captain Tom Claxton and prop Andy Darrall, Hughes kicked a penalty to end the half with Minety leading 10 -5.

Sam Hughes kicks Minety into a 12-5 lead before half time

The second half was just seconds old when Hibbard picked up a loose ball in a ruck and ran in 30 metres to score beneath the posts, Hughes adding the conversion to send Minety 17-5 up.

Andrew Hibbard scores Minety’s second try in the 41st minute

Murray’s break shortly after almost set up Wilson on the wing but when the ball came back in field it went to ground and the chance was lost.

Hughes extended the lead in the 51st minute with a penalty and then scored his second try when a loose ball popped up into his hands at the end of a lovely move involving centre Bram Coleman, Hibbard and full back Mike Scott.

Sam Hughes scores his 2nd and Minety’s third try in the 53rd minute

In the 56th minute Hughes was denied a try controversially after another brilliant solo run when it was claimed he had not grounded the ball properly and then moments later he burst passed  5 defenders before off loading to Claxton but the ball went to ground when a try seemed the only outcome possible. 

Sam is denied a hat trick after apparently not grounding this attempt.

In the 62nd minute Claxton was prevented from grounding the ball over the line but from the ensuing scrum Minety pushed over and Hibbard touched down for his second try and Minety’s bonus point winning 4th try.

Andrew Hibbard registers his second and Minety’s 4th try in the 64th minute

Minety’s 5th try came straight from the kick off.  Glew burst forward before offloading to winger Simpson.  He evaded the first line of defence before passing to Hibbard who ran in to score his second half hat trick try beneath the posts.  Hughes slotted home the conversion and Minety led 39-5.

Andrew Hibbard’s hat trick try and Minety’s 5th in the 64th minute

The game became much more open as it entered the last 10 minutes and only a brilliant tackle from Murray prevented Pewsey after a breath taking 80 metre move almost saw the visitors score a break away try. Pewsey’s enterprise was rewarded with a third try shortly after and they added a 4th, and bonus point winning try in the 80th minute, a point which may prove vital at the end of the season.

Del Murray’s brilliant try saving tackle late on

Coach Andy Grayson was rightly proud of his team.  “There were moments of individual brilliance that caught the eye but the team played well as a whole.  Andy Darrall had a great game at prop and Morgan Aubrey caught, carried and tackled well throughout the game. If I had to name a man of the match I’d have to give it to Andrew Hibbard for his ball carrying and his hat trick of tries although it’s hard to overlook a stunning individual performance from Sam Hughes.”

Whoops! Someone drops the ball with the try line beckoning.

The win takes Minety above Trowbridge into 6th place in the league with just one fixture remaining of the season, against 4th placed Warminster at Minety Fields next Saturday.




Written by Graham Cooke

April 7th, 2019 at 10:48 am

Minety II’s end season in style

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Minety’s 2nd XV ended their campaign in D&W3 with a well deserved 35 – 27 victory over Chippenham 3rds on a day when rugby was the winner.  Played in bright sunshine, the game was a fine advertisement for all that is good in recreational rugby, both teams employing large benches to swap players in and out as the energy sapping conditions took their toll.

Chippenham enjoyed the considerable slope in the first half on a ground baked hard. Kicking off, the visitors put Minety under real pressure in the opening exchanges but some fine tackling by the team made up of veterans, players returning to fitness and youngsters stood up well.

In the 5th minute Minety’s new French recruit Nicolai De-Sousa, playing full back, showed the team’s resolve stopping an attack single handedly with a superb tackle.  With young scrum half Charles Grayson moving the ball well from the ruck and props Piers Ward and captain Steve Wilson making good ground in midfield, Minety appeared to be holding their visitors until a ball broke free down the right and after a series of quick recycling phases a try was scored close to the posts.  The conversion was successful and Chippenham led 7-0.

Wilson’s team, who have endured a difficult season, often being unable to field a full team due to unavailabilities, struck back and camped out in the Chippenham 22 for the next 15 minutes.  Hooker Mark Glew, fly half Scott Tomlinson and centre Del Murray all went close as Minety pressed for their opening score.  Only some fine tackling held out Morgan Aubrey and Dave White as Grayson and Tomlinson began to forge a very useful half back partnership.

Minety got their deserved equaliser after a break from Bram Coleman in midfield set up a neat passing move out on the left which saw open side flanker Johnny Leong run through to touch down beneath the posts.  Tomlinson’s conversion was successful and the side were tied 7-7.

Jonathan Leong scores Minety’s 1st try

Chippenham struck back in the 31st minute with their second try scored after a series of tap penalties had unsettled the home defence.  The conversion drifted narrowly wide but the visitors had the lead as half time approached.

Scrum half Charles Grayson

Minety should have gone in at half time in the lead but two clear cut chances went begging with the line open and players beginning to flag under the unseasonably warm sun.

Lineout action late in the first half

Chippenham extended their lead in the 43rd minute with a penalty after Minety were caught off their feet in a ruck.

Del Murray races in for try number 2

Three tries in the space of just 9 minutes set Minety on the road to victory.  First Murray took full advantage of confusion at the back of a Chippenham scrum to intercept the ball and run it in, then a fluent move through the backs saw winger Henry Skipton-Carter away on the left.  He off loaded in a tackle but Jack Ward, making a tentative return to competitive rugby after being out injured for most of the season, collected the pass to score under the posts.  Tomlinson maintained his 100% kicking record with the conversion and Minety led for the first time 21-15.

Jack Ward scores try Number 3

Minety’s 4th try came from after tap penalty, the fly half noticing a gap in the Chippenham defence and racing through to score under the posts. Once again Tomlinson slotted the conversion and the home side led 28-15.

As the game entered its final quarter Chippenham mounted a furious assault on the home line, denied once by a tackle on the line, before scoring their third try shortly after.  The successful conversion brought them back in range, 28-22.

The visitors set up a frantic final 10 minutes with probably the best try of the match out wide on the right in the 68th minute.  The ball moved through the backs and released the winger who touched down near the corner post.  The long range conversion crashed against the upright and bounced clear and Minety clung on to a slender 1 point lead.

The game was settled with just three minutes left on the clock.  Minety pressed forward and pinned Chippenham back in their 22.  Another quick tap penalty close to the line saw the Minety centre cut back and wrong foot the defence to score near the posts. De Sousa took the conversion, slotting the ball home before celebrating with a gymnastic back flick to the delight of his team mates.

Try number 5 in the 77th minute

Coach Andy Grayson thanked all of his players at the end of the game.  “It was a really good game played in the right spirit.  Big thanks to everyone who turned out and contributed to the match. Picking one player for Man of The Match was very difficult but I decided upon Scott Tomlinson, our fly half, who kicked 4 conversions and played really well throughout.”


The record books will show a Minety win; what those books won’t necessarily show is what a good game of rugby it was – well refereed and played in the best spirits of rugby.

Minety 35 Chippenham 27.

Next week attention turns to the 1st XV as they entertain Pewsey Vale at Minety Fields.

Written by Graham Cooke

March 31st, 2019 at 11:34 am

Minety mauled at Melksham

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Minety’s chances of a top 6 place in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 look remote after they were subjected to a 9 try mauling at the hands of a well organised Melksham team on Saturday.  The village team came into the match with a young and inexperienced team hoping to surprise 3rd placed Melksham, and for the first 14 minutes they looked as if they were in with a chance.

On a beautifully prepared pitch at Melksham it was the village team who dominated the early exchanges with new half back team Mark Glew and Dave Cooke spreading the ball out wide and debutant Will Seaton making darting runs on the wing.  Forwards Andrew Hibbard, Cameron Smith and captain Tom Claxton all made inroads into the Melksham 22 as Minety pushed for the opening score.

The illusive Jack Howse was hauled down close to the line but then Melksham were caught offside but Cooke’s penalty attempted crashed again the near post and bounced to safety.

Jack Howse before his leg injury

The let off spurred Melksham into the type of form that has seen them as the only team to really challenge Combe Down and Avonvale at the top of the table.  After a series of cross field moves a chip kick over the Minety defence saw the winger collect and touch down beneath the posts.

Melksham doubled their lead in the 20th minute, another fluent move across the pitch enabling the No. 8 to touch down under the posts.

With Howse proving a handful in mid field and strong running from his fellow centre Chris Rule and Mike Scott, making his first appearance of the season, Minety matched Melksham as the half wore on. Melksham extended their lead with a long range penalty in the 30th minute to take the score to 17-0.

Rule was almost through shortly after as Minety pressed forward, the backs moving the ball quickly along the line but the Melksham defence was well organised and the attack fizzled out. As the game entered stoppage time at the end of the half Minety chose not to kick a penalty and ran the ball at the Melksham line.  Winger Matt Stone looked to have broken through but a last gaps tackle dislodged the ball and the chance was lost. Matt Chisholm, Claxton and Colin French were all stopped near the line but it was Melksham who finished the half with a try after a break out against the run of play.

Centre Chris Rule puts in another crunching tackle

Coach Andy Grayson introduced Matt Roberts at the start of the second half after Mike Scott was injured but the experienced back could do nothing to prevent Melksham’s 4th try in the opening minute; a fine move across field from left to right ending with a touch down by the right hand flag.

Minety lost Howse shortly after, replaced by Sam Trinder. The sheer weight of the Melksham attacks were taking their toll on a hard pitch and under an unseasonably warm sunshine.  Rather than slowing the game down to try to catch their breath, Minety showed their inexperience by trying to up the tempo and all too often the ball was lost to a Melksham side growing in confidence.

Melksham kicked their second penalty of the match in the 53rd minute and from the kick off only a fine tackle from Roberts prevented another Melksham try.  A minute later it was Roberts on the attack, his kick and chase thwarted at the Melksham line but as Minety tried to re-organise the ball went out wide on the left for the Melksham winger to run in the 5th try from 60 metres out. The long range conversion was successful and Minety were down by 37 points.

Matt Stone runs in to score Minety’s only points

Matters went from bad to worse seconds later.  From the kick off Melksham burst through to run in their 6th try under the posts.

Shortly after, Howse, pressed back into action after Cooke was injured, was the recipient of a late tackle and had to be carried from the pitch, latest indications being that he may have fractured his leg in the incident.

Melksham’s 7th try came in the 68th minute, again after a back’s move that the visibly tiring Minety defence simply could not manage.

Andy Grayson’s side picked themselves up after this latest set back and Matt Stone was on the end of a good move set up by Rule and Colin French to touch down wide on the right for Minety’s first points.

Matt touches down for Minety’s try

Melksham ended the match with two further converted tries to leave the final score a rather flattering 65 -5.

Tom Claxton is helped from the pitch late on

Coach Grayson was disappointed at the end of the game.  “There’s not a lot of positives that we can take from that game although I thought Will Seaton had a good debut and Chris Rule put in a man of the match performance with his tackling in midfield.  I’d certainly like to thank all of the 2nd XV players who stepped up and hope that the injured players can rest and recover before our next match, at home to Pewsey in a fortnight’s time.”

Not for the faint hearted – Jack’s fracture!

In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nd XV were defeated by 43 – 19 by Warminster.

Written by Graham Cooke

March 24th, 2019 at 10:51 am

Battling Minety downed by league leaders

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Minety lost their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 encounter with runaway league leaders Combe Down, going down by 43-7 at Minety Fields on Saturday.

The Bath based side came into the match with an unblemished record in the league this season, winning all 18 of their matches and averaging well over 50 points in each game so Minety coach Andy Grayson and captain Andrew Hibbard knew that they were in for a bruising encounter.

Still without club captain Tom Claxton and leading points scorer Garin Garland, Grayson brought in Matt Park at hooker and paired Mark Glew with James Nicksen at half back for the first time.

Minety got off to the worst possible start, conceding the opening try in the 4th minute and then a second just two minutes later.  The first came when the ball squirmed out of a scrummage and was picked up by the Combe Down flanker who crossed easily near the posts, the second at the end of a fluent move involving forwards and backs resulting in the left winger running the ball in near the corner flag and then touching down near the posts.

14-0 down after just 6 minutes and Minety looked in real trouble. However, Grayson’s sides this season have displayed resilience under pressure this season and they fought back against their illustrious opponents, Glew and Nicksen working well together and the usually reliable lineouts and scrums giving some quality ball for the backs.  From one set piece Hibbard almost broke through but was brought down metres from the line.

In the pack it became a real battle with front rowers Andy Darrall, Park and Colin French refusing to give an inch in exchanges, ably supported by second rowers Ben Scott and Ben Collins. Combe Down showed why they are unbeaten this season with some fine backs moves, switching play from one touchline to the other with confidence but the Minety cover broke up play time and time again.

Minety’s task was not helped when hard tackling flanker Jay Thompson was injured mid-way through the half, James Stuart coming on from the bench to replace him. The home side matched Combe Down until three minutes before the interval.  After another series of impressive phases of play Minety’s defences were breached for the third try and a fourth was added in stoppage time as both teams pressed forward and gaps appeared defensively.

Minety started the second half brightly with centre Jack Howse at last finding some room to run at the defence and Hibbard always a threat in the loose but it was Combe Down who scored first to increase their lead to 31-0 in the 43rd minute, a flanker breaking through two tackles to cross for their 5th try.  The conversion was successful and league leaders were 31-0 up. Minety introduced Tom Waldron to the side shortly after when Del Murray picked up an injury.  The youngster became the 45th player to wear a Minety shirt in this season full of injuries and unavailabilities for the village side.

Combe Down’s 6th try came from a rolling maul as Minety were pushed back.  Flanker Kieran Tillotson was injured in the lead up to the try and had to be replaced, Steve White making a rare appearance for the side replacing him.

36 points behind, Minety fought back with Howse and French stopped inches short of the line and then Scott held up over the line.  Shortly after winger Dave Cooke was held up on the line but when the ball came back captain Hibbard broke a tackle to register a well-deserved try for Minety, which Nicksen converted to bring the scoreline to 7-36.

Andrew Hibbard (bottom right) touches down for Minety’s try

Deep into injury time, and with the home team down to 13 players with Howse off the pitch and injured, Combe Down registered their 7th try near to the posts to leave them with a flattering 43-7 win.

Afterwards Andy Grayson said, “We worked very hard today.  They are a team who have scored over 100 points in some games and we made them work hard for every try. There were lots of positives to take from that match.  We didn’t take a backward step and stuck together as a unit, even when the injuries began to take their toll. Choosing a man of the match was very difficult because everyone put in so much effort, but I’m awarding it to James Nicksen who stood up under extreme pressure and was at the heart of all that we did.”

Man of the Match James Nicksen, with Colin French and Anton.

With three matches of the season Minety remain in 7th place, two points behind Trowbridge but 11 above 8th placed Sutton Benger.

Could well be a caption contest! A bloodied Ben Scott at the end of the match.

In a fortnight Grayson’s team travel to 3rd placed Melksham before ending the season with two home games, against Pewsey Vale and Warminster.



Written by Graham Cooke

March 10th, 2019 at 10:01 am

Hughes shines and Howse rules for Minety

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Minety started their vital run in to the end of the season with a fine victory at Dorset and Wilts Division 1 rivals Chippenham on Saturday, crossing for 6 tries as they emerged victorious 39-19.

With three of the top five teams in the league still to play, 7th placed Minety knew that a win was necessary over 9th placed Chippenham if the village team were to keep up the pressure on the top 6 in the division.

Playing with the blustery wind at their backs, Minety opened the scoring with their first attack. Scrum half Mark Glew fed fly half Sam Hughes from a scrummage 35 metres out.  Hughes dummied a pass and then cut through the Chippenham defence, out pacing the full back to score a superb individual try close to the posts. The conversion struck the post but deflected through and Minety were 7-0 up.

Sam Hughes bursts through for Minety’s 1st try

The village side kept up the pressure, pinning Chippenham back into their 22 with a combination of fine tackling, superb tactical kicking from Hughes and strong running from full back Chris Rule and the forwards. Minety’s pack were completely dominant at set pieces, driving Chippenham back and setting up plays for the elusive backs. A new Minety centre partnership of Jack Howse and debutant Sam Trinder counter attacked at will and were soon causing the Chippenham defence problems as the home side tried to break out of their own half.

With second row Ben Scott and No. 8 Andrew Hibbard winning lineouts, Minety were able to exploit the conditions and seldom did Chippenham make any significant inroads into the Minety half in the first quarter of the match.

Minety increased their lead in the 20th minute after another dominant scrum.  Hughes fed Howse who cut through the Chippenham defence to score out on the left.  The conversion sailed narrowly wide in the wind but Minety were 12-0 up and looking comfortable.

Jack Howse slices throught the defence for try No. 2

Minety lost their influential captain Tom Claxton soon after, clearly feeling the effects of a recent injury, and gave a second appearance of the season to Matt Park who took over as hooker.

Scrum half Glew set up Minety’s third try in the 34th minute with a fine break in midfield.  The ball was recycled to Hughes who passed to Howse on the 30 metres out.  The centre burst forward, chipped the defence and ran in to touch down for another eye catching try.  Hughes’s conversion from the touchline was inch perfect and Minety extended their lead to 19 points.  A Hughes penalty with half time beckoning added to the cushion, Minety 22-0 up.

Jack Howse touches dwon for Minety’s third try

With the referee playing stoppage time Chippenham got themselves on the scoresheet.  After an attack down the right seemed to have been snuffed out the ball broke to their pacey winger who ran in a fine solo effort from 60 metres out but in the final play of the half Glew fed Hughes from a scrum, the fly half sliced through the defence before offloading to Rule who crossed for Minety’s 4th, and bonus point winning try and a half time lead of 27-5.

Chris Rule races through for try No. 4

With the benefit of the wind at their backs, Chippenham started the second half strongly but seldom looked like breaching the Minety defence.  Winger Matt Stone and props Andy Darrall and Colin French held up most attacks in midfield while flankers Kieran Tillotson and Cam Smith secured lose ball on the ground.

When Trinder picked up a knock he was replaced by Morgan Aubrey, the flanker still carrying a back injury from a previous match. Another brilliant solo break from Hughes released the pressure and after a fine set of forwards’ moves Hughes fed Howse who side stepped his way through the defence for his hat trick try.  Hughes slotted the conversion and Minety enjoyed a commanding 34-5 lead but the fly half had picked up a leg injury in the move and was forced off.

Jack Howse completes his hat trick with try No. 5

While Minety were re-organising their back line Chippenham took advantage and scored their second try of the match in the 69th minute.  The conversion was successful but Minety still led 34-12.

Shortly after Howse was unlucky not to score a 4th try as he chased a loose ball near the home line.

As the game entered stoppage time Chippenham scored their third try moving the ball quickly from left to right to touch down near the posts.  The kick was successful and the lead down to 34-19.

There was still time for Minety to launch one last attack.  Driven forward by Glew and Rule, the forwards took up the charge, Smith, Hibbard and Aubrey pushing Chippenham deep into their own 22. Another huge scrummage saw Hibbard burst for the line but when he was tackled, second row Ben Collins was on hand to collect the pass and score his 3rd try of the season to end the scoring, Minety winning the match by 39-19.

Ben Collins celebrates his 3rd try of the season and Minety’s 6th of the match.

Coach Andy Grayson was full of praise for his team at the end.  “That was a good old, hard fought win for us based upon a domination of the scrum and the lineout.  There were great performances all round the pitch and I must congratulate Sam Trinder and Matt Park for their efforts.  It’s hard not to give someone who scores a hat trick man of the match, and Jack Howse was excellent, but my Man of the Match goes to Sam Hughes, who ran the game for us.”



Written by Graham Cooke

March 3rd, 2019 at 10:50 am

Minety bag a bonus point win

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Minety got their season back on track on Saturday with a hard fought bonus point winning victory over Calne.  After a disappointing run of results, largely down to a crippling injury list, the villagers scored four tries and ran out comfortable winners after a lack lustre performance in the 1st half.

Minety were on the back foot before the match started when last week’s Man of the Match, Morgan Aubrey, injured his back in warm up and had to withdraw, Matt Chisholm being introduced from the 2nd XV.

Calne started the match playing down the slope and the new half back combination of Sam Hughes and Jack Howse were forced to kick to clear Minety’s lines as Calne’s big forwards powered their way down field.

Minety’s pack found themselves being pushed back at set pieces in the early stages and that prevented captain Andrew Hibbard from having the time and space to set up attacks and the backs, unaccustomed to playing in their new positions, often missed opportunities to make inroads into the Calne defence.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a well worked try after a period of sustained pressure on the Minety line.  A clever switchback pass allowed the Number 8 to power through the Minety defence for a try near the posts.  The conversion was kicked and Calne led by 7 – 0. The visitors kept up the pressure and only some strong defensive tackling from props Colin French and Andy Darrell and hooker Mark Glew kept them out.  A fine double tackle from Hughes and full back Ben Langridge brought another Calne attack to an end with the Minety line in sight as the home side struggled to organise their attacking play.

Calne increased their lead in the 29th minute with a penalty after a Minety player was penalised for holding on to the ball in a ruck.

As the half neared its end Minety started to play the kind of rugby that had served them so well early in the season.  Hughes was foiled by a tap tackle when apparently clean through but the ball broke to centre Chris Rule who took the ball forward before it was moved out wide to winger Ben Langridge who touched down in the corner in first half stoppage time. Hughes’ monster conversion from the touchline brought the score to 7-10 as the half time whistle went.

Ben Langridge scores Minety’s 1st try

Minety took the lead for the first time in the 48th minute after Howse had battered his way down the middle.  The ball was fed back to Hughes to beat three defenders before popping the ball to winger Dave Cooke who cut back and scored Minety’s second try.  The conversion sailed wide but Minety were now 12-10 up.

Dave Cooke cuts back to beat the defence and score try number 2

Hughes kicked a penalty to extend the lead shortly after a brilliant solo effort from Glew was halted on the Calne 22.

Calne struck back with a penalty of their own on the hour after Minety were caught off side at a ruck.

As the match entered its final quarter Minety went for the win and the four try bonus point.  Hibbard was held up on the line as the Minety pack found their form and drove Calne back but from the ensuing scrum the elusive Hughes spotted a gap in the Calne defence and dived through to score Minety’s third try and he then extended the home side’s advantage to 9 points with the conversion.

Sam Hughes picks up and drives through for Minety’s 3rd try

It looked as if Minety’s quest for the bonus point 4th try would be thwarted by a determined Calne defence until Howse burst through in stoppage time.  In the move of the match he managed to off load as he was tackled and Rule, following up, collected the ball, beat the final defender and ran in to score in what was to be the last play of the match.  The conversion was missed but Minety had ended their losing streak with a solid win.

Chris Rule scores the bonus point winning 4th try

Coach Andy Grayson was pleased with the second half performance.  “We struggled in the first half and made life difficult for ourselves.  The scrum wasn’t working as well as usual and too many moves were breaking down at crucial times.

“Ben Langridge’s try at the end of the half was vital; it gave us the impetus to take the game to Calne and use the speed that this team thrives upon.  Dave Cooke’s second try and a solid all round performance earned him my man of the match award and the final two tries from Sam Hughes and the marvellous final try from Chris Rule bought us the bonus point win I felt we deserved.”

The four try scorers: Dave Cooke, Ben Langridge, Sam Hughes and Chris Rule

The win keeps Minety in 7th place but closes the gap to 6th placed Trowbridge to just two points.

In the other match Minety 2nds were beaten 22 -42 by Swindon.





Written by Graham Cooke

February 16th, 2019 at 7:08 pm

A harsh lesson for Minety

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

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

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

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

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

Captain Andrew Hibbard

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

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

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

Minety on the attack

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

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

Chris Rule and Ned Lockwood combine to keep out a try

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

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

Morgan Aubrey “cleared” out of a ruck

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

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

Ben Langridge tackled

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

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

Will Mason breaks free

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

Ned Lockwood held up over the line

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

Chris Rule breaks through

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

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

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

The “Brains Trust”



Written by Graham Cooke

February 10th, 2019 at 11:06 am

Minety misery mired in the mud

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

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

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

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

Garin Garland before his injury

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

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

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

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

Hibbard reaches for the line

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

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

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

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

Ben Scott takes another lineout

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

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

Morgan Aubrey & Chris Rule tackle

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

Man of the Match: Morgan Aubrey

Next week Minety have a very welcome week off.


Written by Graham Cooke

January 27th, 2019 at 10:51 am

Grayson’s selection nightmare mired in the mud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fowards battle in the mud

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

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

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

Over the line – Minety’s penalty try

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

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

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

Coach Andy Grayson with his players at the end.

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


Written by Graham Cooke

January 20th, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Hughes hat trick as Minety hit 50

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Hat trick hero, Sam Hughes

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Rule scores 1st try

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

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

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

Sam Hughes crosses for try 2

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

Ben Collins scores try No. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack Ward beneath the posts for try No. 4

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

Jack Howse scores No. 5

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

Duncan Simpson races in for try No. 6

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

Sam Hughes grabs No. 7

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

Sam Hughes caps a fine performance with a hat trick try

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

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

Man of the Match: Matt Roberts

Next week Minety make the short journey to Sutton Benger.

Written by Graham Cooke

January 13th, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Minety battle back to form against Bassett

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

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

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

Garland scores Minety’s 1st try

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

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

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

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

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

Claxton scores Minety’s 2nd try

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garin celebrates after scoring the 4th try in stoppage time

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

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

Man of the Match, Tom Claxton


Written by Graham Cooke

January 6th, 2019 at 11:45 am