Combe Down 1st XV v Minety 1st XV
Saturday 8 March 2014
Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
Minety pay for bad habits
Combe Down 1st XV 31pts – Minety 1st XV 26 pts
Minety were made to pay for missed tackles and kicking away possession as free-running Combe Down outscored them five tries to four.
Minety started poorly, dropping the kick-off and immediately putting themselves under pressure. A break by Tom Fitzcharles almost put things back on track but he was hauled down just short of the line.
Combe Down had a surer touch, and when their scrumhalf took a tap penalty on Minety’s 22, he slipped through two tackles and dotted down for the try.
Repeating earlier errors, the visitors struggled to field the restart and the home team lost no time in hassling their way through for try number two.
Minety shored up their defence and gradually worked their way back into the game. Taking ball only five metres from his own line, Duncan Simpson made it over half way before he was tackled. Gethin Roberts and Pete Hazell carried the ball into Combe Down’s 22, but though the home side brought Hazell down, flanker Stephen Brown was on hand to ruck the ball back. Simpson picked up and completed the move he started by dashing the last 15 metres for a try.
Further runs and quick rucks set up Jack Ward for Minety’s second try, but Combe Down had the last word, ending the half with a try as their centre sped through a series of ineffectual tackles.
The second half got under way with Minety kicking ball away which their hosts’ gifted threequarters lost no time in running back at them. Effortlessly creating overlaps, they ran in two more tries while the visitors scarcely laid a hand on them.
Playing catch-up, Minety began to put together some solid phases. A well-timed pass by Gareth Peirce put Fitzcharles away for a try from 10 metres out and Simon Rowe had a try disallowed after the referee decided he had put a foot in touch.
Another opportunity went begging when Minety dropped a crucial pass a metre short of the line, but when Roberts sliced through the defence, Brown was on hand to score the final try. Fitzcharles’ successful conversion took his team’s tally to 26 points, but left them still short of Combe Down’s total.
Minety’s four tries and close finish earned them two bonus points, but the defeat cost them top spot in the league. Bradford-on-Avon now head the table, though third place Supermarine are on a winning streak and have two games in hand.