Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
Avonvale 1st XV 22 pts – Minety 1st XV 10 pts
Playing in yet another new configuration, Minety looked unsettled and disjointed away from home and struggled to make ground against well organised opponents.
Avonvale had a sound plan in the first half and executed it well. With the wind at their backs, their flyhalf kicked for territory, pinning the visitors into their own half.
Under pressure, Minety’s decision making was often poor, with the backs trying to run the ball out of their own 22 instead of simply clearing it to touch. The forwards, too, struggled for domination.
The home team’s next try came from an impressive team effort in which good support and some skilfully timed passes out of the tackle enabled them to run the ball more than half the length of the field before winger Rob Cryer piled over for a try in the left corner.
Despite some more positive moves from the visitors, only Avonvale scored again in the half. Sweeping forward from another attacking lineout, they ran and passed until flyhalf James Dance finally took the ball to the line. Briefly held up in the tackle, he spun and wriggled in the arms of the defender until he could slap the ball down for a try.
The second half was a stuttering affair punctuated by regular stoppages for ill-discipline and running repairs to players. Minety lost lock David Hazell and his brother, number 8 Pete Hazell, to injuries and were forced to rearrange the side yet again. Andy Brown moved to flanker, his place at scrumhalf taken by winger Rich Fisher, while Ian Illingworth and Tim Vaughan came off the bench to play at lock and fullback respectively.
After a long stalemate, Avonvale finally mounted a period of pressure, starting with another kick to touch in Minety’s 22. The visitors held them out for a while, but a fluid passing move eventually created an overlap that allowed winger Cryer to run in for his second try of the game.