Minety defeated their fellow Dorset and Wilts Division 1 team Warminster on Saturday to qualify for the final of the Dorset and Wilts Senior Vase, a competition they last won in 2015.
The village team swapped from their normal pitch in the days leading up to the match, opting for one of the newly drained club pitches after several days of heavy rain in the area.
The two squads observed a minute’s silence before the game. The visitors kicked off, playing down the slope at Minety Fields against perhaps the strongest line-up that Minety has been able to assemble this season.
After soaking up some early Warminster pressure, the home side started to dominate, their scrum pushing the Warminster pack back and giving scrum half Garin Garland and fly half Tom McAllister lots of time to set up waves of attacking moves.
The villagers took the lead in the 10th minute when Garland stroked home a penalty and should have extended their lead given the territorial advantage that they enjoyed.
Their attacking impetus was disrupted somewhat when the powerful Ben Sellick was forced off with a nasty head injury in the 15th minute, Del Murray replacing him at flanker.
Man of the Match, Tom McAllister
Garland doubled the lead in the 18th minute with another penalty and straight from the restart Murray burst brilliantly through the Warminster defence to set up a try out wide for McAllister after some fine work from No. 8 Andrew Hibbard and centre Jack Howse. Garland’s excellent 30 metre conversion put Minety firmly in the driving seat, 13 points to the good.
Centre Jack Ward and prop Mark Glew were both halted by last ditch tackles metres from the Warminster line as Minety piled on the pressure. Opportunities to increase the lead were squandered as Minety were guilty of overplaying attacking situations but it came as no surprise when they registered their second try in the 38th minute. Complete domination at the scrum pushed the visitors back to their own line and they were helpless to prevent Garland picking up and darting over the line. With the conversion successful, Minety led 20-0 at the interval.
Playing downhill in the second half, Minety looked to continue their domination but injuries to second row Ben Scott and Ward disrupted their flow and an injury to a Warminster prop meant that all subsequent scrummages were uncontested, with Minety losing their domination of the set piece.
With Warminster enjoying more possession from the scrum, Minety had to defend but strong tackling in midfield and aggressive rucking kept the visitors pinned back.
A fine break from McAllister, from in front of his own posts, was taken on by replacement centre Chris Rule and then by Garland before winger Ben Langridge was brought down inches from the line. From the ensuing ruck second row stalwart Ben Collins crashed over for his first try of the season and Minety’s third of the match.
Warminster struck back in the 63rd minute with a converted try near the posts in one of their very few incursions into the Minety 22 but the village team sealed their place in the Vase final after a period of sustained pressure on the Warminster line when Hibbard picked up and drove through for a try after Garland, Collins and Murray had all been held up agonisingly close to the line.
Garland’s conversion ended the scoring with Minety running out 32-7 winners.
Coach Andy Grayson was more than pleased with the result. “It was a great all round performance and had the scrummages not been uncontested in the second half, I am sure we would have won far more convincingly.”
In the Vase final Minety will face the Dorset Dockers from Christchurch at a neutral venue yet to be decided.
Man of the match went to fly half Tom McAllister whose tactical kicking and game management was exemplary.
Minety players celebrate their victory