Minety lose in epic final
Wiltshire’s Minety RFC lost in the final of the Dorset and Wiltshire Senior Vase to the Dorset Dockers from Christchurch by 36 points to 17 in a terrific match played at Salisbury on Saturday.
For once this season, Coach Andy Grayson, was able to put out a near full strength Minety side as they endeavoured to win the Vase for the second time in four years.
Under grey skies and with a fine mist in the air, the Dockers, beaten only once this season and having amassed 235 points in their last three games, kicked off in front of a good crowd.
Minety immediately showed their intent to attack from defence, flanker Ben Sellick catching the kick off and running straight back at the heart of the Docker’s defence before fly half Tom McAllister, scrum half Garin Garland and full back Duncan Simpson combined to run the ball up to the half way line.
Minety’s enterprising start almost brought them the first score after just 5 minutes when Garland collected from a line out and almost made it to the try line.
The powerful and well organised Dorset team certainly knew that they were in for a tough afternoon as the visibly smaller Minety pack competed well at the early scrummages and lineouts.
Dorset opened the scoring with a penalty in the 16th minute and increased their lead 3 minutes later. Strong and powerful running in midfield set up a chance for their right winger to burst through a tackle and touch down for the opening try and an 8 – 0 lead.
Minety came back strongly, Sellick running at the defence before off-loading to centre Jack Howse. When McAllister spotted gaps in the defence his clever chip kick pushed the Dockers back onto their own line. Minety missed a chance to get on the board in the 30th minute when a long range penalty kick dropped short but they hit back two minutes later. The Minety pack, superbly led by captain Tom Claxton and No. 8 Andrew Hibbard, won a scrum against the head and then won a penalty in the Dockers 22. Garland’s quick tap kick took him under the posts but the play was ruled out by the referee, however the subsequent kick was successful.
Both teams knew that a score in the minutes leading up to half time could be crucial in terms of momentum and the game opened up, players running the ball whenever they could.
Deep in 1st half added time Minety tried to run the ball out of defence but a pass was intercepted and run back in for the Dockers’ 2nd try , converted this time, and a half time lead of 15 – 3.
The Dorset team started the second half strongly, running hard at the Minety defence. Whilst the villagers were able to withstand the barrage, it came at a cost when the influential Sellick was injured and had to be replaced in the 46th minute. Soon after the pressure told as the Dockers’ No 8 forced his way over for their 3rd try, converted, and a 22-3 lead.
The Dorset team, somewhat flattered by the score line, grew in confidence and stretched the Minety defence on numerous occasions but Grayson’s men tackled like demons and refused to give up an inch without a fight.
As the game entered its last quarter it was Minety who dominated the territory but the villagers were unable to transform territorial advantage into points as move after move was thwarted by the fine Dockers’ defence.
Another scrummage win against the head took Minety within reach of the Dockers’ line but replacements Del Murray and Andy Darrall and then Garland were all halted just short.
Against the run of play it was the Dorset team who scored next. In arguably the move of the game they passed their way out of their own 22 right up to the Minety 22 and then fashioned a fine overlap move to allow their fly half to run in from 10 metres. The successful conversion saw the Dockers in complete control 29 – 3 up and with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
Refusing to let their heads drop, Minety pushed on and a move involving McAllister, Simpson and winger Dave Cooke opened up the Dorset defence at last. Cooke’s long pass in field allowed Hibbard to run through to score the villagers opening try. Garland’s conversion was successful.
Andrew Hibbard touches down for Minety’s 1st try
With both teams tiring, the game opened up and a series of missed tackles allowed the Dockers their 5th try, the No. 8 touching down beneath the posts.
Fittingly, it was Minety who finished the scoring. Attacking once again, they won a penalty and from Garland’s tap the ball went out to winger Ben Langridge, who burst through 3 tackles to score Minety’s 2nd try. Garland kicked the conversion and the game finished with the Dorset Dockers victorious by 36 – 17.
Ben Langridge, with ball, celebrates Minety’s 2nd try
Coach Andy Grayson was upbeat after the game. “They were a really good side who hit the ball at pace and from depth. We never gave up and showed the true Minety spirit that makes this club so very special. We scored two really good tries and I know there’s not a player out there who could have done more. I’m very proud of them.”
The Minety Senior Vase Final Squad 24th November 2018
Man of the Match for Minety: Andrew Hibbard.