Minety’s 2nd XV ended their campaign in D&W3 with a well deserved 35 – 27 victory over Chippenham 3rds on a day when rugby was the winner. Played in bright sunshine, the game was a fine advertisement for all that is good in recreational rugby, both teams employing large benches to swap players in and out as the energy sapping conditions took their toll.
Chippenham enjoyed the considerable slope in the first half on a ground baked hard. Kicking off, the visitors put Minety under real pressure in the opening exchanges but some fine tackling by the team made up of veterans, players returning to fitness and youngsters stood up well.
In the 5th minute Minety’s new French recruit Nicolai De-Sousa, playing full back, showed the team’s resolve stopping an attack single handedly with a superb tackle. With young scrum half Charles Grayson moving the ball well from the ruck and props Piers Ward and captain Steve Wilson making good ground in midfield, Minety appeared to be holding their visitors until a ball broke free down the right and after a series of quick recycling phases a try was scored close to the posts. The conversion was successful and Chippenham led 7-0.
Wilson’s team, who have endured a difficult season, often being unable to field a full team due to unavailabilities, struck back and camped out in the Chippenham 22 for the next 15 minutes. Hooker Mark Glew, fly half Scott Tomlinson and centre Del Murray all went close as Minety pressed for their opening score. Only some fine tackling held out Morgan Aubrey and Dave White as Grayson and Tomlinson began to forge a very useful half back partnership.
Minety got their deserved equaliser after a break from Bram Coleman in midfield set up a neat passing move out on the left which saw open side flanker Johnny Leong run through to touch down beneath the posts. Tomlinson’s conversion was successful and the side were tied 7-7.
Jonathan Leong scores Minety’s 1st try
Chippenham struck back in the 31st minute with their second try scored after a series of tap penalties had unsettled the home defence. The conversion drifted narrowly wide but the visitors had the lead as half time approached.
Scrum half Charles Grayson
Minety should have gone in at half time in the lead but two clear cut chances went begging with the line open and players beginning to flag under the unseasonably warm sun.
Lineout action late in the first half
Chippenham extended their lead in the 43rd minute with a penalty after Minety were caught off their feet in a ruck.
Del Murray races in for try number 2
Three tries in the space of just 9 minutes set Minety on the road to victory. First Murray took full advantage of confusion at the back of a Chippenham scrum to intercept the ball and run it in, then a fluent move through the backs saw winger Henry Skipton-Carter away on the left. He off loaded in a tackle but Jack Ward, making a tentative return to competitive rugby after being out injured for most of the season, collected the pass to score under the posts. Tomlinson maintained his 100% kicking record with the conversion and Minety led for the first time 21-15.
Jack Ward scores try Number 3
Minety’s 4th try came from after tap penalty, the fly half noticing a gap in the Chippenham defence and racing through to score under the posts. Once again Tomlinson slotted the conversion and the home side led 28-15.
As the game entered its final quarter Chippenham mounted a furious assault on the home line, denied once by a tackle on the line, before scoring their third try shortly after. The successful conversion brought them back in range, 28-22.
The visitors set up a frantic final 10 minutes with probably the best try of the match out wide on the right in the 68th minute. The ball moved through the backs and released the winger who touched down near the corner post. The long range conversion crashed against the upright and bounced clear and Minety clung on to a slender 1 point lead.
The game was settled with just three minutes left on the clock. Minety pressed forward and pinned Chippenham back in their 22. Another quick tap penalty close to the line saw the Minety centre cut back and wrong foot the defence to score near the posts. De Sousa took the conversion, slotting the ball home before celebrating with a gymnastic back flick to the delight of his team mates.
Try number 5 in the 77th minute
Coach Andy Grayson thanked all of his players at the end of the game. “It was a really good game played in the right spirit. Big thanks to everyone who turned out and contributed to the match. Picking one player for Man of The Match was very difficult but I decided upon Scott Tomlinson, our fly half, who kicked 4 conversions and played really well throughout.”
The record books will show a Minety win; what those books won’t necessarily show is what a good game of rugby it was – well refereed and played in the best spirits of rugby.
Minety 35 Chippenham 27.
Next week attention turns to the 1st XV as they entertain Pewsey Vale at Minety Fields.