Southern Counties South
Minety 1st XV 15 pts – Bradford-on-Avon 1st XV 5 pts
Minety gained their first league points on Saturday, winning the battle of the basement boys by trouncing fellow strugglers Bradford-on-Avon.
Fielding a strong threequarter line but still reliant on recruits from the second team to complete the pack, Minety shared roughly equal amounts of possession with Bradford but made far better tactical use of the ball they got. They spent most of the game in their opponents’ half and when the visitors chose to run the ball, they quickly found themselves tackled to a halt.
Bradford’s own defence was solid but Minety eventually made a breakthrough midway through the first half. Following a period of sustained pressure, they moved the ball through multiple phases, closing on the try line until a driving maul sent number 8 Ian Illingworth over for the score. Flyhalf Jack Ward slotted an easy conversion.
It was during Gawthropp’s 10 minutes’ absence that Bradford struck back, making a rare incursion into Minety’s 22 and mauling lock Chris Heale over the line for a try.
Minety’s riposte came early in the second half when fullback Tim Vaughan caught and ran back a long clearance kick. Having made good ground, he linked with his threequarters. Max Sparrow ran the ball deep into Bradford’s 22 before releasing a perfectly timed pass out of the tackle to his fellow centre Dave Church. Skipper for the day, Church burst onto the ball and powered over for the decisive try.
Although Minety continued to press hard, they sometimes lacked composure with the ball and failed to convert a series of promising opportunities into points. For their part, Bradford defended well, and in the end Minety had to be content with a penalty goal from Ward instead of another try.
Minety coach Huw Jones commented, “We had a great 70 minutes but then lost our discipline a little in the last 10. I thought we drifted down to their level in the first half but we upped our tempo after the break and looked much better. It was a bit frantic at times and we could have had half a dozen tries if we’d made better use of our breaks, but it was a win and I’m delighted with that.”
This Saturday, Minety travel to Corsham.