Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
Minety 1st XV 8 pts – Calne 1st XV 7 pts
Minety put in a terrific effort to win by the narrowest of margins in a nail-bitingly tight game against a pugnacious Calne.
Having lost 65-nil in the corresponding away fixture at Calne earlier in the season, Minety had no illusions about the strength of their opponents’ forwards or their intimidating style of play.
Centre Dave Church had better luck with his chip into the Calne 22 a short while later. A defender gathered the ball but was caught in possession and penalised for not releasing when tackled. Ryan Dowling then put away a simple goal to give Minety a three-point lead.
The rest of the half was stalemated until, five minutes from the break, Calne’s Tim Brain charged down a Minety drop-out on the 22, thereby completely wrong-footing the home team and leaving him with an unopposed run to the line. Matt Kelly kicked the conversion but Calne’s lead proved short lived. As they launched another attack, Dowling took a bold interception on his own 10 metre line and outsprinted his pursuers to score under the posts at the other end.
When injury forced Tom Langley from the field, Windle was joined in the back row by another teenage Academy player, John Shepherd. He too put in a splendid performance, only to be subjected to repeated punches to the nose by the Calne number 4, who was lucky to be only yellow carded.
At times, Minety put themselves under pressure with mistakes at the lineout and restart kicks that went straight to touch and clearance kicks that failed to reach it, but they never lost their determination or cohesion, and their opponents simply could not get past them. Calne’s best chances came from two penalty goal attempts in the last five minutes of the game. Neither was easy and neither went over, leaving Minety winners at the whistle by a single but invaluable point.
This Saturday, Minety travel away to take on Trowbridge seconds.