After a disappointing run of losses Rich Hall’s Minety returned to winning ways with a convincing 27-10 victory over local rivals Chippenham 2nds , who started the day in 3rd place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table, 5 places above the village side.
Choosing to play uphill in the first half, Minety took the match to Chippenham with strong forward play featuring the two Windle brothers in the second row. The village side took the lead in the 9th minute when returning scrum half Garin Garland slotted home a penalty after a high tackle.
Chippenham responded with some strong running, especially from centre Daniel Jones, but Minety full back Matt Roberts was always on hand to clear the lines.
Against the run of play, Chippenham scored their only try in the 17th minute when a mix up at the base of a home scrum on the half way line allowed Jones to latch on to a misplaced pass and run in under the posts. With fly half Richard Stone slotting home the conversion, Minety found themselves 7-3 down.
Garland kicked his second penalty in the 20th minute to reduce the arrears to a single point and the teams exchanged penalties in the closing minutes of the first half to leave the visitors 10-9 up at half time.
A surging run from Roberts in the 42nd minute split the Chippenham defence and from the ensuing play Garland fed veteran front row forward Craig Smith who crashed over for his first league try in 7 years. Garland’s long range conversion took the home side into a 6 point lead.
Minety consolidated their position 3 minutes later when their other front row forward Will North took the ball at the tail of the lineout to score Minety’s second try. Garland narrowly missed with the conversion but the home side now led 21-10.
Garland slotted home two further penalties and Minety appeared comfortable at 27-10 with 20 minutes to go. Two yellow cards for replacements Collins and Richards meant the villagers had to hold out in the closing minutes as Chippenham mounted wave upon wave of attacks upon the home line.
Coach Richard Hall was particularly pleased with the result and his team’s performance. “The moves we practiced in training came off and I was pleased with the way that we controlled the game.”
Captain Andrew Hibbard praised the defence in the final quarter of the game. “We were outnumbered but our defensive tackling and cover was superb today.”
The result moves Minety up to 7th in the D&W1N table with an away fixture at Devizes next Saturday before a mouth watering encounter with hitherto unbeaten league leaders Corsham at Minety on the 5th November.
In the weekend’s other fixture the Minety 2nd squad entertained a big Trowbridge team. After a promising opening from the home side, Trowbridge took the lead with a try and conversion.
Matt Stone’s side recovered quickly and, through a combination of strong forward pressing and expansive back moves, soon created an opening for flank forward Matt Chisholm to power over for the home team’s first try.
Trowbridge hit back and penned Minety into their own half for long periods of play but a mistimed pass allowed Stone to intercept and run in Minety’s 2nd try from 60 metres out. The successful conversion took the lead to 12-7 in the home side’s favour.
Minety extended their lead when fly half Kieran Gash dummied the away defence and raced through to touch down for Minety’s 3rd try. Mike Scott added the conversion and the teams swapped ends with Minety 19-14 up.
Down to 14 men early in the 2nd half, Minety threw the ball wide and after a series of fine forwards moves, 2nd row forward Ben Scott was able to pick up from a ruck and score to extend Minety’s lead to 10 points.
With the opponents visibly tiring, the pacey Minety backs were able to create holes in the defence and Jon Blair was able to add another try in the corner. Scott scored his 2nd try soon after and Minety’s win was assured.
A further penalty and then a second try from Blair ended the game with Minety 2nds running out comfortable 46-14 victors.
Captain Matt Stone was naturally delighted with the performance. “We played an organised and intelligent match, defending well and then attacking decisively.” Stone picked out Ben Scott and flanker Jay Thomson for special praise. “We had notable performances throughout the team but those two really stood up to the plate and made crucial contributions throughout the 90 minutes.”
Craig Smith crashes over