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Minety 1st XV v Calne 1st XV


Saturday 12 March 2011

Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North

True Grit

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.


The mood was set early in the game when Minety flyhalf Tom Fitzcharles chipped past the Calne defence only to be deliberately tripped by his opposite number as he chased the ball. An angry confrontation ensued and the referee yellow carded both players.

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.


Playing down the slope, Calne enjoyed territorial advantage and a lion’s share of the possession in the second half. Injuries meant that Minety were without their usual back row, but the whole team tackled with conviction and let nothing through. Their efforts were greatly aided by young Academy player Ashley Windle, who had a superb game at flanker.

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.


The resulting injury temporarily removed Shepherd from the game, but his place was taken by Pete Hazell, who had played brilliantly at number 8 in the first half but had himself retired from the game due to injury. On as a blood replacement, he harried his opponents at the lineout and, when the ball went loose, booted it firmly upfield to relieve the siege his team had been under.

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.

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