When the final whistle sounded last Saturday and brought to an end the league match with Wootton Bassett it also brought to an end (for the time being) flanker Steve Brown’s playing involvement with Minety.
Steve, who is moving to London soon, first joined the club as a 10 year old and played in all of the youth teams up until Colts level before moving out off to university. Shortly after finishing his degree he was contacted by Minety stalwart Dale Langdown and persuaded to come back to the club, and he’s been with Minety ever since.
“I can remember Dale’s telephone call. Minety were one player short and I was on their list. I agreed, turned up at the club and played. It was freezing cold, -3 degrees or so and I’m sure I got a dose of hypothermia but I knew that I wanted to play for Minety again.”
Steve admits to having a very bad memory for games that he’s played for the club but the run to the league title and promotion 6 years ago and the Dorset and Wilts Vase win last year stand out.
“I have massive fondness for Minety, not only the players but also the other club staff who make it such a great little club. We’ve had some great and not so great seasons but through it all the club has been very welcoming and a fun place to be.”
Steve will be looking for clubs in London as soon as he re-locates and will be a real asset at both Minety’s level and a level above. Certainly his friends at Minety believe he has it within him to succeed at a higher level.
1st XV captain Andrew Hibbard was quick to praise Steve and his performances on the pitch. “He’s the sort of player you want on your side; you certainly wouldn’t want to see him on the opposition. He’s an annoying little flanker for those we play against. He’s always there, tackling, rucking, picking up the ball and spotting gaps; he always seems to come away with the ball in his hands. He’s also an inspiration to those around him – you can see others encouraged by his exploits. He’s been a great laugh on and off the pitch, an exemplary clubman and we will miss him enormously. I’m sure everyone at Minety wishes him all the very best and hope that he’ll come back to us occasionally for the odd game.”
Dave Peirce, club chairman, feels that Steve’s departure is a huge loss for the village side. “We’d love him to stay and I have suggested that we might help with transport costs to get him back here each Saturday but it’s not going to happen.”
“Steve has been tremendous on and off the pitch and is a real club stalwart. His tackling and overall defensive skills are amazing and he’s led from the front and exerted an enormous influence upon those who play around him. He’s a small chap and certainly is far from being the biggest flanker in the league but I haven’t seen a better flanker. It doesn’t matter what size they are, when Steve tackles them they stop and then go backwards. I’ve seen many forwards get up off the ground and look at Steve and be unable to believe that it was him who put them down. But he doesn’t just tackle in ones, he makes one tackle, gets up and then repeats it until the ball is won. Tremendous.”
Assistant coach Craig Smith has both played with and coached Steve. “He’s just been great both as a team mate and as a member of the training squad. He’s unbelievably fit and precise in all that he does and his timing of tackles means that he plays well beyond his weight. A model player.
Fellow forward Ben Collins shared Craig’s sentiments. “He’s a top man both on and off the field and we’ll miss him.”
Winger Dave Cooke was also fulsome in his praise of his team mate. “He’s a great bloke to have as a teammate. He’s always there for you and is always positive; he doesn’t let his head go down when things turn against the team and he doesn’t let others feel down. I wish him all the best in the future and hope to see him back at the heart of the defence sometime in the future.”
In action against Colerne
Steve against Combe Down
Steve with Matt Roberts
In door training