Saturday 29 October 2011
Minety keep on coming
Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
Chippenham 2nd XV 42pts – Minety 1st XV 34pts
Top of the table Chippenham II had to work hard to keep their unbeaten record as an ebullient Minety refused to give up in this high-scoring and highly entertaining game.
Getting under way with a Ryan Dowling penalty goal after five minutes and a try from scrumhalf Tom Fitzcharles three minutes later, the visitors were quick to show that they meant business.
Chippenham promptly struck back with a converted try of their own but barely five minutes had passed before winger Dale Langdown was scampering over for Minety’s try number two.
An incisive break by the home team’s inside centre Matt Rhodes and a successful conversion from Dominic Ricco closed the gap to a single point. Upping the pressure, Chippenham mounted an attack from a lineout on the visitors’ 22. With players passing out of the tackle and running onto the ball at pace, they breached Minety’s fragile midfield defence for a try by the posts and an easy conversion to gain a 21-15 lead.
Powerful breaks by flanker Gareth Peirce and lock Matt Hooper soon took the visitors back into their hosts’ 22. Driving at a five metre scrum, the Minety pack were held up two metres short, but when the ball was flicked out to the backs, inside centre Jonty Messer made no mistakes with a try under the posts. A goal from Dowling and the sides turned round with Minety a whisker ahead at 21-22.
Injuries forced the visitors to make several changes during the interval and a note of disorganisation crept in as the new line-up attempted to settle down. A momentary misunderstanding and a wild pass gifted Chippenham an easy interception and a soft try, converted to give them a lead which they were never to relinquish.
A try-saving tackle from Minety winger Luke Radcliffe kept Chippenham out for a while, but when the home team ran a free kick in Minety’s 22, their towering lock was able to gallop through all but unopposed for a try under the posts.
Back came the visitors, this time with a scrum driven over by the right-hand corner flag and lock Andrew Hibbard claiming the try.
The previous week, Minety had caused Sutton Benger all sorts of problems with long kicks downwind. Kicking into a stiff breeze on a bigger pitch and against a much better defence proved a far less satisfactory tactic, however. Chippenham collected the ball and ran it back with interest. Neat inter-passing defeated Minety’s scrambled defence and a converted try gave the home side a tally of 42 points.
Rather than giving up, Minety looked stronger than ever in the last 10 minutes of the game. A great break by Hibbard and a try from flanker Max Smith had Chippenham stretched to breaking point but the final whistle settled the matter, leaving the visitors proud of their effort but ruing tactical and defensive errors.