With the 1st XV enjoying a rare weekend off, all eyes were focused upon Matt Stone’s Minety 2nd XV as they headed to Devizes for a Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North match on Saturday.
With the teams separated by just 6 points in the league, Devizes being 7th and Minety 8th, and the season rapidly nearing its end, this match was a “must win” for both sides.
The opening exchanges were even, with defences on top. Devizes were clearly the heavier and stronger in the scrum and their domination tested Minety’s defensive line again and again. Somewhat against the run of play, Minety opened the scoring. Exploiting a lack of numbers down the right, Minety’s backs pulled the Devizes defence one way and then the other before a quick interchange of passes saw veteran front row forward Steve Murray run through to score under the posts. Will Mason kicked the conversion and Minety were 7-0 up.
Minety doubled their lead soon after. Once again, the Devizes scrum put pressure on the Minety pack but from the disrupted play, scrum half Garin Garland spotted an opening and broke through. Winger Kieran Gash cut back against the run of play and Garland’s long pass saw the winger through and under the posts. Once again Mason slotted the conversion and Minety were 14 points to the good.
Minety continued to exploit spaces out wide and pushed their opponents back into their own 22 metre area. When the home team were penalised for a rucking offence Garland took a quick penalty and his pass saw captain Matt Stone through for Minety’s third try. Mason’s conversion was successful and Minety were 21 -0 up.
Devizes hit back and scored an unconverted try shortly before half time to reduce the arrears to 21-5.
Minety’s efforts in the first half took their toll early in the second. With some fatigue and a little complacency, they let Devizes come back at them and the pressure told when Devizes scored their second try to reduce the deficit to 11.
The villagers were immediately on the back foot from the restart. A lost ball and a couple of missed tackles saw Devizes score their third try, this one converted.