Minety RFC

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Sellick shines as Minety hammer Supermarine

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Man of the Match: Ben Sellick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Written by Graham Cooke

September 30th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Minety turn on the style at Bassett

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Minety turn on the style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man of the Match: Matt Stone

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

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

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

Written by Graham Cooke

September 16th, 2018 at 10:18 am

Minety beaten in 9 try thriller

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Man of Match Chris Rule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man of the Match for Minety: Chris Rule.


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

Written by Graham Cooke

September 9th, 2018 at 11:48 am

Beaten but unbowed

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

Scott & Mark Glew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Sellick

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

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

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

Written by Graham Cooke

April 29th, 2018 at 3:21 pm

Mission accomplished

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fly half, Dave Cooke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Written by Graham Cooke

April 27th, 2018 at 11:45 am

Minety turn on the style

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Minety turn on the style.

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

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

Man of the Match, James Nickson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Graham Cooke

April 22nd, 2018 at 12:15 pm

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