New Minety captain Tom Claxton saw his team open their Wadworth 6X Dorset and Wilts Division 1 campaign with a fine 29-14 victory at Pewsey Vale on Saturday.
On a beautifully prepared pitch, Minety dominated the early exchanges as the forwards held a powerful Pewsey pack and the pacey Minety backs ran at the home team’s line.
Against the run of play, Pewsey took the lead in the 9th minute. A speculative kick into the Minety 22 took a wicked bounce and full back Duncan Simpson was clattered to the ground as he tried to pick up. The loose ball was seized upon and the try awarded close to the posts.
Centre Tom Windle was denied a try in the 13th minute by a last second clearance after a clever kick from fly half Adam Watts wrong footed the Pewsey defence.
Minety opened their account with a fine opening try in the 20th minute. A solid scrum on the half way line allowed scrum half Garin Garland to feed Watts who passed to right winger Ben Langridge. From the ruck, Simpson broke the line and fed left winger Dave Cooke, who side stepped the full back and ran in to score under the posts.
Garland’s conversion was successful and the match was tied at 7 all.
Minety’s 2nd try came in the 32nd minute. A lineout steal in their own half led to a break from No. 8 Andrew Hibbard. Garland kicked ahead and when the ball was won at the ruck centre Dave Church and Windle combined to allow the latter to score wide on the right.
The score galvanised the home team, who proceeded to play some of their best rugby, pushing the visitors back onto their own line. A Pewsey score seemed inevitable when Garland was yellow carded but somehow the 14 men of Minety held out to half time.
With flanker Josh Bull imperious at the lineout and the pack, with Mark Glew and Colin French, in fine form, Minety controlled the start of the second half.
Garland extended Minety’s lead in the 50th minute with a penalty after the home team were penalised for not releasing after a tackle.
Pewsey mounted attack after attack on the visitors’ line, only for each wave to be repelled by some immense tackling from Ben Collins, Matt Chisholm, Church and Bull in particular.
Pewsey’s 2nd try came at the end of another concerted series of attacks. The successful conversion brought the scores to 15-14 in the visitors’ favour and set up a breathless last quarter.
Both sides pushed for the victory and play moved around the pitch at breakneck speed.
The match was settled in the 79th minute when Simpson picked up in midfield and ran in to score from 30 metres, Garland converting the try.
The “4 try bonus point” was secured deep into injury time. Minety won a Pewsey scrum in their own half, Garland drove forward before slipping the ball to Bull who capped a fine performance by running in the try from 35 metres.
Garland’s conversion ended the match with Minety 29-14 victors.
New Minety coach Andy Grayson was delighted with the performance. “We all fronted up and I was delighted with the commitment the lads showed. It was a great squad performance with a number of 2nd team players stepping up and showing their qualities. It’s onwards and upwards as we prepare for Warminster next week.”