Saturday 4th March sees both Minety teams on the road after a week off from league fixtures.
Andrew Hibbard’s 1st XV face the daunting prospect of visiting the hitherto unbeaten Corsham side who have dominated the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North league this season, winning all 16 of their matches and adding 12 bonus points to sit at the top of the table with a massive 76 points.
Corsham has run up one score of over 60 points (against Frome) and three scores of over 50 (Devizes, Chippenham and Swindon) in their impressive run towards the automatic promotion spot at the end of the season. When the two sides last met, at Minety Fields in November, Corsham ran out 36-11 winners.
Last season Corsham finished runners up to promoted Combe Down, with Minety finishing a close 4th place. In the 2015/6 season the two teams emerged even handed with Minety winning at home and then losing away at Corsham.
Hibbard’s team find themselves in 6th place with 46 points, although they are only 6 points off 3rd placed Bradford on Avon. 2017 has seen the village side regain their position in the top half of the table with impressive wins over Warminster, Frome, Chippenham and Devizes, the only loss being the heavy home defeat to Bradford On Avon. Certainly the improvement in defensive work over the past two months has helped provide an attacking platform that both forwards and backs have built upon.
There is no doubt that this will be Minety’s stiffest challenge of the season but the side will do well to recall that in the final match of last season they came up against a similarly impressive Combe Down and came through for one of the stand out performances of 2015/6.
In the weekend’s other encounter, Matt Stone’s 2nd XV travel to Supermarine II. Minety are one place above Supermarine in Dorset and Wilts Division 3 North although there is an 11 point gap between the two sides.
The win a week and a half ago against Melksham arrested a worrying losing trend since the start of the year, one brought about in no small measure by a lack of availability of players, partly through injury but also through providing players to help the injury prone 1st XV in their matches.
Supermarine have endured a torrid start to 2017 with defeats to Trowbridge, Bradford on Avon, Warminster and Corsham.
A win for Minety should see them leapfrog Devizes up to 7th in the table.
Match reports will be posted, as usual, on Sunday morning.