Minety hang on for one point win
Seemingly coasting to a comfortable away victory, with a half time lead of 22-5, Minety had to cling on for the win as home team Supermarine fought back in the second half, eventually falling just one point short in a thrilling climax to an error strewn game.
Once again Minety coach Richard Hall was forced to make numerous changes to his line-up with teenage fly half Tom McAllister moving to scrum half, second row Tom Windle at inside centre and numerous others changing roles as injuries and unavailabilities bit hard.
Minety started promisingly with Windle’s powerful running always a threat to the home defence.
Both teams found the wet ball and the slippery conditions difficult to manage and all too often the final ball went to ground as Minety pressed forward and Supermarine defended doggedly.
Minety’s more mobile pack, led ably by hooker Tom Claxton, began to assert their authority and it was no surprise when prop forward Peter Andrews picked up and drove over for the opening try after another Claxton led drive after 20 minutes.
Minety doubled their lead in the 26th minute. Outside centre Robin Greenway won the ball in midfield and McAllister, seeing a gap behind the home defence, chipped the ball over the Supermarine backs and ran in to collect the ball and touch down from 20 metres out.
The home team hit back three minutes later, moving the ball across the width of the pitch to score in the left hand corner but Minety restored their lead seconds later when Academy star Ben Kingston, playing on the wing, picked up a loose ball, shrugged off a tackle and ran in a fine solo try from 60 metres out.
As the first half wound down, Minety’s defence handled all that Supermarine could throw at them with relative ease and the speed of flanker Josh Bull and the back line kept the home team pegged in midfield.
When McAllister broke through the home defences and fed Bull for Minety’s 4th try in first half stoppage time, and fly half John Blair slotted home the conversion, the lead was a deserved 22-5 for the villagers.
Supermarine’s dramatic second half comeback started in the first minute when a wayward pass was intercepted by their outside centre who ran in from 35 metres. Four minutes later Supermarine had their 3rd try when the ball was moved out left quickly and, with the Minety defence outnumbered, the full back raced in to touch down. The successful long range conversion brought the score back to 17-22.
An injury to McAllister saw Greenway move to scrum half and further changes to the back line as Minety repelled the menacing Supermarine attacks.
Blair slotted a penalty for Minety in the 54th minute to extend the lead to a crucial 8 points.
Only a last ditch intervention from Minety captain Andrew Hibbard prevented Supermarine from scoring as the game entered its final quarter.
Minety re-grouped and played some of their best rugby of the second half and kept the home team back in their own half as the clock ticked down.
With just seconds remaining the home team launched one last attacking move and their winger, playing fly half, picked up the ball at a ruck and ran in past four defenders to score in the corner. The conversion was successful but it proved to be the last play of the game and Minety were home and dry by 25-24 to move up to 5th place in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table.
Joint Man of the Match: Josh Bull and Tom Claxton.
After the game Claxton was philosophical. “We had the first half under control but then we didn’t stick to the game plan in the 2nd half and the game became really ugly.”
Coach Hall said, “It really was a game of two halves. We were comfortable but then switched off for 15 minutes and the whole momentum of the game changed. We’ll need to be far more focused next week when we entertain Royal Wootton Bassett at home.”
Minety 2nd XV match at Corsham was called off when it became clear that the villagers’ limited playing resources would not allow them to put out a team for the match.
Pete Andrews scores 1st try
Robin Greenway’s tackle for try No. 2
Tom McAllister scores try No. 2
Ben Kingston dives over for try 3.
Josh Bull runs in try 4