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Minety 1st XV v Sherborne 1st XV

465 Sean Richards

Saturday 12 December 2009

Southern Counties South

Minety battle through

Minety 1st XV 17 pts – Sherborne 1st XV 13 pts

Keen to avoid the mistakes of last week, Minety started with a bang and then put in 80 minutes of hard graft to see off a determined challenge from talented visitors Sherborne.

Playing up the slope, the home side threw themselves into the opening encounters, forcing the visitors into infringements. Awarded a penalty 40 metres out, Minety opted to go for goal and Jack Ward did the honours to give his side a three point lead.

Sherborne responded vigorously but their hosts soon stemmed the tide and a perfect pass from flyhalf Tim Vaughan put inside centre Max Sparrow away. He skinned the first defender and then beat the rest with an angled 30 metre dash to the try line.

Ward’s successful conversion made it 10-nil to Minety, but Sherborne, who always looked good with the ball in hand, were in no mood to take this lying down. A terrific break by their winger from 40 metres out sliced through the home defence and earned then a well deserved try. The conversion brought the score back to 10-7 and that’s how it stood at the break.

Sherborne got the second half under way with a long kick. Pumped up and keen to put their mark on the game, they pressed and harried while their hosts struggled to clear their lines. Awarded a penalty, they kicked their way back to parity and then took the lead 10 minutes later with another goal from just inside the 22.

Three points down, Minety entered a critical phase. Sherborne had won two strikes against the head and seemed set to dominate but the home side rallied, led by the stalwart efforts of the pack. Aided by some astute kicking from their half-backs, they used driving mauls and short passing moves to carve out territorial advantage and tie in the opposing forwards.

A lineout on Sherborne’s 22 was just the platform Minety needed. Securing the ball and mauling it forward, they then released it to the backs. Down the line it went, finally reaching Ward, who crashed over for a try which he subsequently converted.

Back in the lead, Minety then mounted a stonewall defence against the visitors’ relentless efforts to get back on terms. Fullback Reuben Saunders was his side’s man of the match for his outstanding tackling and counterattacking, but the whole team contributed to the effort, keeping a firm grasp on the game and denying Sherborne any further opportunity to score.

Minety coach Huw Jones was jubilant with the result, singling out both Jack Ward and skipper Tom Fitzcharles for particular praise. “Our first half performance was good, but the second half was even better. Finally we’re looking like an experienced Southern Counties side. It was a fantastic effort.”

This Saturday, Minety play hosts to Wimborne.

For Sherborne’s account of the game, have a look here:


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