Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
Ten out of 10 for effort
Minety 1st XV 10 pts – Fairford 0 pts
Led by a great display from the pack, Minety put in a determined and gritty team performance to close Fairford down and secure a win by two tries to none.
With everyone tackling hard and the forwards in great form in the loose, Minety deserved 10 out of 10 for effort in this game, but perhaps only 5 out of 10 for finishing and finesse. On top of their opponents for most of the game, they should have scored more points but instead repeatedly infringed at the breakdown by failing to release the ball quickly enough to satisfy the referee. Occasional off-sides didn’t help their case, and nor did the backs’ propensity for attempting long passes under pressure when taking the ball into contact and recycling might have been a better option.
But the positives for Minety were there to be seen in the side’s attitude, organisation and teamwork. Lock David Hazell jumped and caught superbly in the lineouts and was always a handful on the charge. Flanker Charlie Gawthropp was at his forthright best, letting no one past him and repeatedly putting in the hard yards to carry the ball forward in tight spots.
The home side scored a try in each half and never looked like conceding points. Their first followed an attacking lineout. Flyhalf Will Howse tidied up messy ball and powered across the gain line before going down in the tackle. The back row recycled possession, which was moved snappily down the threequarter line to the right wing. The winger took the ball with 25 metres to go and two men to beat, but he eeled his way past his markers and sped in for a try in the corner.
The unluckiest man on the park was Minety’s outside centre Tom Fitzcharles, who sprinted over the try line in the first half only for an opponent to take advantage of his momentum and bundle him over the dead ball line before he could touch the ball down. Showing excellent pace and strength, he piled over the try line in the second half too, but a canny defence prevented him from grounding the ball and again five points went begging.
Minety’s second try followed a long period of pressure during which Fairford, ever dogged in defence, had consistently kept them out. The ball was eventually fed out wide to prop Martin Coe, who stepped round and through the winger and the fullback to score by the corner flag.
The win takes Minety to third place in the table. They’ll hope to continue their winning ways as travel to Sutton Benger this Saturday.