Man of Match Chris Rule
Minety travelled to Warminster for the opening match of their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 season with a new look team after coach Andy Grayson and captain Tom Claxton were forced into a raft of last minute changes.
Giving 1st team debuts to 18 year old James Nixon and veteran Phil Ward, with Club Chairman Ken Wright on the bench, the village team faced up to a large and very mobile Warminster team.
Minety pinned Warminster back in their own 22 with some fierce tackling and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts in the 2nd minute, scrum half Garin Garland calmly slotting home between the posts.
Minety’s tenacious start was further rewarded in the 12th minute when Garland kicked his second penalty after Warminster were adjudged off side at a ruck.
The villagers’ desire to run the ball on all occasions was admirable but it did leave them vulnerable to counter attacks from the mobile and well drilled Warminster backs and the home team opened their scoring in the 12th minute with a penalty.
Warminster snatched the lead in the 27th minute after a period of open play in the middle of the park. A quick move in the home team back line and a pass, that most observers thought went forward, set up a try wide out on the left wing.
Minety rallied and some fine attacking running from centres Chris Rule and Jack Howse and front row Mark Glew, Claxton and Colin French held the hosts at bay as Warminster pushed for a second try before half time.
The home team were rewarded with a forwards’ try in the 32nd minute, the resultant conversion extending their lead to 15-6.
Garland reduced the arrears on the cusp of half time with another penalty after a rampaging run from Andrew Hibbard had cut through the home defensive line.
The second half was barely underway when Garland broke out of the Minety 22, sprinted 60 metres down field before offloading to fly half Tom McAllister, who ran in to touch down wide out on the left wing. Garland’s long range conversion was successful and Minety lead 16-15.
The visitors lost prop Mark Glew to a head injury, with veteran Phil Ward replacing him as Grayson shuffled his pack.
Warminster struck back in the 44th minute, a kick ahead and a lucky bounce allowed their centre in for a score. The conversion was successful and the home side re-took the lead 22-16.
Undaunted, Minety hit back. After Howse and Garland were held up on the line, McAllister seized the ball, dummied the defence and crossed for his second try. Garland kicked the conversion and Minety now led 23-22.
Minety pushed on but were punished for their endeavours when Warminster broke free deep in their own half and the winger ran in for a try beneath the posts from 40 metres out in the 55th minute.
As the players tired so the game opened up, both teams eschewing defence for attack. Claxton was held up inches from the line before Howse sidestepped his way through the defence after a break from McAllister. The conversion struck the post and bounced wide leaving Warminster clinging to a one point lead with 10 minutes to go.
Unfortunately Howse was injured in the process of scoring the try and was replaced by Matt Cross, making an all too rare appearance for Minety. The influential McAllister was also forced off with an ankle injury, replaced by Club Chairman Ken Wright.
In the final minutes Warminster scored two tries to end the match with a rather flattering 41-28 scoreline.
Man of the Match for Minety: Chris Rule.
Full photograph gallery to follow. MTV coverage of the match on this website on Wednesday.