Top of the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table Corsham maintained their unbeaten record this season with a comprehensive victory over Minety by 46 points to 4 at Corsham on Saturday.
In weather conditions that veered wildly from spring sunshine to wintery squalls, the home team showed just why they have been unbeaten for so long in this league.
Minety were forced into changes even before the match kicked off when prop forward Will North picked up an injury in warm up, Owen Richardson coming in to replace him.
It was Minety who forced the first play of the game right from the kick off, but when the ball was lost in a ruck close to the Corsham lines the home backs moved the ball quickly and pacey winger Kalif Barnes broke through the stretched Minety defence to run the length of the pitch for the first try, converted by Hamish Miller.
Minety hit back, keeping the ball tight and close to their forwards before releasing Tom Windle to batter the heart of the Corsham defence. Twice Minety attacks were thwarted by excellent tackling and rucking from Corsham but the pressure eventually gave rise to two penalties to Minety, both kicked by fly half Tom McAllister, to bring the score back to 7 – 6 after 13 minutes.
With dominance at the scrum and an ability to disrupt the normally efficient Minety line out, Corsham controlled the quality ball and left the village side to feed from loose ball. Strong defensive tackling from winger Chris Rule and full back Duncan Simpson kept Minety in the game while flanker Josh Bull fought for any ball on the ground.
With the home team playing on the front foot, the second try in the 26th minute was inevitable. Clever work in midfield allowed flanker Josh Macey to exploit numerical imbalance on the right wing and score out wide. Macey got his second try just 5 minutes later, again down the right and Corsham gained their four try bonus point in the 38th minute when full back Robert Robinson crashed over to leave the score 22-6 to the home team.
The second half started as a mirror image of the first; a Minety attack was broken up and, with the village side over committed Adam Draper was able to run through to score Corsham’s 5th try.
The match settled down with Minety resorting to keeping the ball close, hooker Tom Claxton and second row Ash Windle running close ball and captain Andrew Hibbard proving to be hard to handle.
Corsham’s 6th try came from a move that used the full width of the pitch in the 63rd minute and they followed that up with another try, in the 68th minute, this time under the posts, during a period when they had two players in the sin bin.
Minety pressed hard for a try in the final quarter of the game with Richardson and Simpson held up just short of the line. It was perhaps inevitable that Corsham’s 8th and final try should come after a period of Minety pressure. Once again, their line speed and sheer power overwhelmed a tiring Minety defence and Alex Peterson was able to score leaving the final score of 46-6 for Corsham.
Minety captain was philosophical about the defeat afterwards. “We knew this would be our toughest match of the season; they are not top of the league and unbeaten for nothing. They have a good, strong mobile pack and fast backs. They prevented us from getting quality ball from scrums and lineouts and forced us back at every opportunity. Perhaps we could have kept the play tighter but we are a young, developing team and tried our best to push them back and spread the play.”
The win takes Corsham 13 points of chasing Warminster at the top of the table while Minety slip back to 7th behind Royal Wootton Bassett, who overcame Chippenham.
In the weekend’s other fixture, Matt Stone Minety 2nd XV travelled to Supermarine for a mid table clash and came away with a creditable 22-14 victory to cement their 7th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North table.
Gallery of photographs taken during Corsham Minety match.
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[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”Corsham v Minety 4th March 2017″]