Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North
A new pragmatism
Minety 1st XV 13 pts – Supermarine 1st XV 7 pts
Sound tactics and returning confidence enabled Minety to come from behind to see off Supermarine in this closely fought contest.
Beset by injuries, Minety fielded a rejigged XV with the crucial halfback duties assigned to a new combination. Veteran scrumhalf Andy Brown was recalled from the seconds, while flyhalf duties were taken on by youthful winger Russell Barstow.
Supermarine were soon into their stride, poaching possession and unleashing their threequarters. Centre Matt Dickens saw a gap and went for it, sprinting over for a try with the game barely a few minutes old. The conversion kick was good and, seven points up, the visitors continued to dominate for the next 20 minutes.
After that, Minety began to get into the game, led by the sterling efforts of the pack. The back row of Max Smith, Pete Hazell and Ben Parfitt were in particularly fine form, running fast and straight and causing the visitors all sorts of problems. Even so, Supermarine held out and reached the interval with their lead still intact.
The second half saw Minety introducing Dave Church, another recalled veteran, at inside centre. When Supermarine were penalised for handling in the ruck, the home team kicked for touch to set up an attacking lineout deep in the visitors’ 22. Taking clean ball, they started a maul with Church in possession and drove him over for a try.
Church’s running lines and crash ball techniques unsettled Supermarine, but it was outside centre Robin Greenway who scored next and gave Minety the lead. Half tackled, he improvised a kick ahead and then beat all comers in the ensuing chase to the line.
Earlier in the game, Barstow had looked tentative and nervous, but as he settled into his new role, the Minety flyhalf began to dominate the opposition, pinning them back with some beautifully judged kicks from hand. With Brown adopting similar tactics and the Minety pack ever more dominant, Supermarine’s efforts to get back on terms were repeatedly thwarted. And when the visitor strayed offside, Barstow kicked a penalty goal to finally settle the matter in Minety’s favour.
Coach Huw Jones was first to congratulate his players after the match, complimenting them for playing “sensible rugby.” “It was a fantastic effort,” he told them.
Minety will be keen to see if they can also win away from home as they travel to play Avonvale this Saturday.