Minety roared back into 4th place in Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North on Saturday after an exciting and entertaining 31-20 win against a strong Chippenham II side at Minety Fields in which captain Andrew Hibbard and centre Matt Roberts each bagged a brace of tries.
In bright, sunny conditions, Minety won the toss and chose to play downhill.
The home team started strongly, with scrum half Duncan Simpson driving the team forward, and the visitors were forced for defend their own line from wave after wave of Minety attacks.
Somewhat against the run of play, Chippenham opened the scoring with a penalty in the 12th minute, but despite the smaller pack, the Minety forwards, superbly led by Hibbard, were soon level when centre Jack Ward slotted a penalty in the 16th minute and then kicked Minety into the lead in the 19th.
Some fine positional kicking from Chippenham kept the game in midfield as the match settled down after the hectic opening quarter.
Minety’s first try started almost on their own try line. A fine breakout from flanker Harry Neal ended with a pass to Hibbard who drew the defence before popping the ball to centre Roberts who ran in an excellent try from well inside his own half.
Minety extended their lead to 16-3 in the final minute of the half when Hibbard collected a pass from Ward to crash over from short range.
Chippenham started the second half strongly and only a fine tackle from full back Dale Langdown prevented a try. The pressure told soon after when a fine flowing backs’ move down the right saw the visitors score their first try to close the score down to 16-8.
Minety hit back with two tries in four minutes midway through the half. Roberts grabbed his second from short range before flanker Stephen Brown ran in MInety’s bonus point wining try from near the half way line after a Hibbard break from a scrum.
Another excellent move between Brown and Hibbard saw the latter cross for his second and Minety’s 5th try in the 70th minute, extending the villagers’ lead to 31-8.
Chippenham fought back in the final 10 minutes as the Minety pack tired and scored two tries to end the match 31-20 to the home side.
Coach Andy Ward thought that, in patches, Minety played some of their best rugby this year. “We need to be able to maintain that quality of play – at times we looked a little match rusty. That was a good Chippenham team that we beat today and I’m proud of the lads. We need to hit the training ground hard this week to set us up for the last two, crucial matches of the season. We are still in there with a chance of a promotion play-off spot.”
Captain Andrew Hibbard was more than happy with his two tries. “I thought we put in a great performance. And it’s always nice to grab a try or two.”
Man of the Match: Andrew Hibbard
Date: Saturday 2nd April 2016. Kick off 3pm
Venue: Minety Fields, Mintey
Weather conditions: Sunny and bright
Competition: Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North
Fly Half Tom McAllister
Full back Dale Langdown
Scrum half Duncan Simpson
Hooker Tom Claxton
Centre Matt Roberts
2nd row Ben Collins
Captain Andrew Hibbard
Flanker Harry Neal
Winger Luke Radcliffe
Front row Nick Britten
Steve and Matt – try scorers