Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
Minety go top
Minety 1st XV pts 24pts – Chippenham 2nd XV 6pts
A ferocious second-half performance from Minety saw them turn a deficit into a four-try, bonus point victory against league leaders Chippenham II.
This was a tense affair. The hosts gave away too many penalties, but showed their intentions early on when a goal attempt by Chippenham bounced off the upright. Minety gathered the ball and a break by lock Ashley Windle started a move that swept back upfield.
A lineout in Chippenham’s 22 provided Minety with the opportunity they needed. Snaffling the throw-in, they moved the ball wide and outside centre Dale Langdown had the strength and speed to dart past his man on an angled run that took him all the way to the line.
Minety turned things round in the second half by fierce scrummaging and a determination to contest every breakdown. Scrumhalf Duncan Simpson mercilessly harried his opposite number, repeatedly catching him in possession, while the back row of Stephen Brown, Gareth Peirce and Gethin Roberts were everywhere. Their commitment to the chase meant that Chippenham often lost ground on their own ball, as each player receiving a pass was tackled to the ground by swarming adversaries.
Inside centre Jack Ward then stretched the lead with a shimmy and a 20 metre dash that sliced through Chippenham’s defence.
His conversion of his own try made it 17-6, but Minety maintained their efforts, penning Chippenham back into their own half. Under pressure, the visitors failed to gather loose ball, and when Minety hacked ahead, prop Will North made sure that he was first to drop on it as it crossed the line.
Ward again added the extras and when, rather than trying to run it, an exhausted Chippenham opted to kick a late penalty laterally into touch, the game was finally over.
The win takes Minety to the top of the table, while deposed Chippenham slide to fourth place.