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Minety 1st XV v Combe Down 1st XV


Saturday 23 November 2013

Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North

Minety take Combe Down

Minety 32pts – Combe Down 20pts

Note on the scoreline: although the actual score in the game, as this report makes clear, was 32-30, it was incorrectly recorded on the referee’s report as 31-20 and this has become the official score.

Minety upped their game in the second half to come away winners from this uncompromising encounter.


Combe Down had the best of the early exchanges, pinning Minety back into their 22 and slotting a penalty goal after six minutes.

Despite some astute kicking from stand-off Jack Ward, the home pack failed to get traction and were second best to the committed Combe Down forwards in the scrum.

Against the run of play, quick ball from a ruck 15 minutes in finally unleashed the Minety backs. Breaking down the narrow side, fast hands and faster feet allowed Luke Radcliffe to cross over in the corner.

The remainder of the half was all Combe Down. A converted try on the half hour followed a series of bullocking forward drives and was just reward for their efforts.

Minety’s tackling was too ineffective to prevent Combe Down extending their lead with an unconverted try seven minutes later, making it 5-15 in the visitors’ favour at the break.

Having received a roasting from coach Huw Jones, Minety returned to the fray with renewed vigour in the second half. Awarded a penalty near their opponents’ line right from the kick-off, they took a quick tap. Scrumhalf Tom Fitzcharles caught Combe Down cold and landed a try by the corner flag.


A penalty goal by Ward took the score to 13-15 and set up a thrilling final half hour.

Minety regained the lead with a driving maul that inched, trundled and then galloped into Combe Down’s 22. When the visitors eventually halted it, Minety number eight Pete Roberts broke free and made light work of three defenders, touching down just right of the posts. Ward converted to make it 20-15.

Minety’s Ashley Windle fielded the restart just inside his own 22. A superb break by Dale Langdown slashed open the Combe Down defence and the move swept right then back infield before Dave Church powered over for a try.


Combe Down struck back with an unconverted try just three minutes later to narrow the gap to 25-20, but Minety responded with another powerful try from Roberts and a successful conversion by Ward.

The last 15 minutes were desperately tense, with Combe Down exerting unrelenting pressure. Squeezed into their own 22, Minety conceded multiple penalties until the referee’s patience expired and a yellow card reduced their numbers to 14.

A man down, they continued to tackle manfully, preventing further scores until a break by Langdown finally took play safely back down field.

–0-0–

The above report, which was the one issued as a press release, was based on this much fuller report by Minety club coach Huw Jones…

A chilly afternoon was briefly warmed by the late November sunshine and a fiery encounter as Minety entertained Combe Down RFC. With both sides playing an uncompromising style of rugby a fierce encounter ensued. It was only as the home side turned up the heat in the second half they managed to put the visitor’s chances of winning on ice.

There was no hint of Minety’s strong finish in the early exchanges. Instead it was Combe who were cooking on gas right from the whistle. Straight into Minety’s 22 where the home side remained pinned until the pressure told. Combe took the lead with a penalty in front of the posts after 6 minutes. Despite some astute kicking from Minety’s stand-in stand-off Jack Ward, the home pack couldn’t get any traction. The committed Combe forwards dominated in the early exchanges and scrums all afternoon. It wasn’t until 16 minutes in that Minety opened their account. Quick ball from a ruck unleashed the Minety backs for the first time down the narrow side. Fast hands and faster feet allowed Luke Radcliffe to cross over in the corner. The remainder of the first half was all Combe Down. A converted try on the half hour mark following some strong forward drives was just rewards for their efforts. Minety’s defence, too high in the tackle in the opening 40, was ineffective as the Combe attack crashed over. They extended their lead 7 minutes later with an unconverted try making the half time score 5-15

A strong half time team talk from Minety coach Huw Jones seemed to do the trick. The combination of the hairdryer and the sunshine on their backs seemed to thaw the home side out – and fire them up. From the kick off Minety were awarded a penalty near their opponent’s line. A quick tap and twinkling feet from experienced scum half Tom Fitzcharles caught the Combe defence cold. Frozen to the spot they were unable reach the Minety 9 as he crashed over in the corner. A Jack Ward penalty on 50 minutes made the score 13 – 15 and set the stage for the “pressure-cooker” finale that would unfold.

Within 5 minutes Minety had regained the lead. A driving maul that inched, trundled and then galloped into the Combe 22 was halted just sort of the line. Out the ball came to no. 8 Pete Roberts who made light work of the attention of the three defenders to score just to the right of the posts. Ward converted to make the score 20 – 15. The pick of Minety’s tries came straight from the re-start. The drop out was fielded just inside the Minety 22. A clean take from Ash Windle, two swift passes saw the Minety outside backs attacking the midfield. A superb break by Dale Langdown opened up the defence. Several crisp passes saw the move sweep right before cutting back in field. It was Dave church who was the u beneficiary as he finished off the move. The unconverted try extended Minety’s lead to 10 points. Minety then went off the boil and Combe Down took full advantage with an unconverted try 3 minutes later to narrow the gap to 25 – 20. The visitor’s fight back was short lived as the home side once again turned up the heat. Another powerful Pete Roberts try and Ward conversion ended the games scoring but that wasn’t the end of the fireworks.

With a quarter of an hour still to go Combe began a period immense pressure. Camped in the Minety 22, cracks began to appear in the home defence. They conceded 5 penalties in quick succession and the referee’s patience eventually ran out. One infringement too many from Minety finally exhausted the referees’ patience. Reaching for his pocket, the yellow consigned Minety to 14 for the rest of the match. With their backs against the wall and a man down Minety need to dig deep. Their superb defence pressured the opposition into making mistakes and the visitors’ frustrations boiled over. This relieved the pressure on Minety who were able to launch one last attack. Three quick phases saw Minety launch Dale Langdown up the right hand touch line. His blistering acceleration and searing break took Minety out of danger. His foot in touch brought the game to an end and a well deserved win for Minety.

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