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.
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.
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.
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.
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.