If last week’s win at Frome was all about “pride and passion”, Saturday’s 15-12 away win at Chippenham could best be summed up as “Grit and Determination”.
In freezing conditions and with a biting wind wafting flurries of snow across the pitch, Minety emerged victorious in their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North clash with Chippenham by 15-12 with first half tries from flanker Josh Bull and scrum half Jack Ward.
Minety kicked off in the first half with a team welcoming back hooker Tom Claxton, scrum half Ward and full back Ben Langridge from injuries.
Assistant Coach Craig Smith must have been delighted with the outcome of the early exchanges; the Minety defensive line looked to be well organised and dealt with all that Chippenham could throw at them while the forwards made good use of the ball to set up back plays.
Josh Bull celebrates 1st try
The visitors took the lead in the 5th minute. A strong attack down the right wing set up two rucks and Ward, spotting Bull unmarked, fed the flanker who crossed for a try unopposed.
Fly half Tom McAllister’s conversion drifted agonisingly wide in the swirling conditions leaving Minety 5-0 to the good.
Chippenham hit back but excellent defensive work from the village side kept them at bay until the 14th minute when a fine move across the pitch caught the defence outnumbered and Chippenham’s centre broke through to score. The ensuing long range conversion was successful and Chippenham moved into a 2 point lead.
With the biting cold and gusting wind making handling almost impossible, both teams resorted to kicking, with McAllister and Ward pushing Chippenham back towards their line.
Jack Ward scores 2nd try
Minety struck for the second time in the 23rd minute when captain Andrew Hibbard picked up at the base of a scrum and passed to Ward who burst through the Chippenham defence to score near the posts.
McAllister’s conversion was successful and Minety were 12-7 up.
The villagers were denied a third try minutes later, the touch judge noticing that Langridge’s boot had just grazed the side line as he burst through to score.
Minety enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the Chippenham half with brothers Tom and Ash Windle proving difficult to handle for the Chippenham defence. When the home side were penalised in a ruck, McAllister slotted home a penalty to extend the lead to 15-7.
Chippenham ended the half strongly and only some fine tackling from centre Duncan Simpson and second row Ben Scott kept them at bay and stopped them from scoring.
Del Murray replaced Jack Ward at half time, the latter having picked up an injury late in the first half. Murray slotted in at scrum half with ease, pushing his forwards and spreading the ball out to the backs accurately in spite of the howling gale in his face.
Tom Windle was held up on the Chippenham line as Minety dominated the early exchanges of the half.
Chippenham were reduced to 14 men in the 59th minute, a forward being sin binned for a high tackle on McAllister, but the number imbalance seemed only to spur them on.
Using the wind at their backs to good effect, Chippenham launched the ball up field and, after setting up a series of rucks, the visitors’ defence was breached and Chippenham scored their second try.
The last 20 minutes were largely played out in Minety’s half as Chippenham pressed for a game winning score but the villagers tackled brilliantly and defended their line to the final whistle.
Captain Andrew Hibbard was jubilant at the end. “Perhaps the hammering that we took at home a few weeks ago at the hands of Bradford on Avon did us good. Since then we’ve put in two brilliant performances away from home, with a team made up of a mixture of 1st and 2nd XV players. They all gave everything out there in very difficult conditions and I’m proud of them.”
The win lifts Minety above Royal Wootton Bassett into 6th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North.
The team were pleased to see injured flanker Rob Hinwood after the game. Rob took a fearful blow in the win over Frome last week and suffered a double fracture of the jaw. Last week Rob spent 10 hours in A&E, visited two different hospitals, had four x-rays, one operation and now has 4 titanium plates to hold his jaw together. Rugby players are tough!
In the weekend’s other match, a much changed Minety 2nd XV went down 38-0 at Trowbridge. Injured captain Matt Stone said afterwards, “I’ve got to congratulate all of the squad who played today for playing today in cold conditions and sticking it right at Trowbridge all the way to the final whistle!
“They all played well and there was some good rugby played which we can all be proud of. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert the pressure in to any points, despite getting over the try line 4 times and having a lot of possession. But when you play out of position and we’re down on people and they only scored out wide it shows the team all did well.
“Great effort lads and thanks for the commitment
“Man of the Match: Goes to Simon McCelland for putting loads of pressure on Trowbridge and getting us 4 turnovers. And to top it up it was his first ever game of seniors rugby. Great talent emerging from within Minety RFC.”
Final score Trowbridge 38 – 0 Minety