Minety 1st XV were narrowly beaten 32-24 in a thrilling Dorset and Wilts encounter at Bradford on Avon in a game that showed the very best of local club rugby, played out on a beautiful playing surface.
Forced into making a number of late changes through injury, Minety started brightly using their pacy backs. The villagers missed two very kickable penalties early on and it was the home team who opened the scoring with a penalty after Minety were caught offside at a ruck.
With both teams enjoying the side open spaces of an enormous playing surface to attack and counter attack, Minety winger Dave Cooke and full back Duncan Simpson were held up on the Bradford line in the 20th minute.
With the attacking combination of scrum half Jack Ward and 18 year old fly half Tom McAllister, Minety were always a threat but an 80 metre break out from their own line saw the home team dominate possession in the Minety 22 metre area and a fine scissor movement in the centre saw Bradford extend their lead with a try. Another breakaway try for the home team in the 38th minute took the lead out to 15 points.
Minety hit back in injury time when scrum half Ward spotted an opening from a Minety penalty and raced through to score in the corner. McAllister slotted the difficult conversion and the teams turned around with Bradford 15-7 up.
Minety closed the gap almost immediately in the second half. A fine backs’ move led to some strong forward play and flanker Stephen Brown set up McAllister for a try to bring the scores back to 15-12.
Minety’s comeback was thwarted in the 45th minute when Bradford’s fly half intercepted a pass and ran in for his second try for ex England captain Lewis Moody’s Bradford team.
The fly half registered his hat trick with a fine solo effort, which he converted, to further extend the home team’s lead.
When 2nd row Kirkonel barrelled his way over for Bradford’s 5th try in the 63rd minute the game looked to be over.
At this stage lesser teams than Richard Hall’s Minety team might have folded but winger Ben Langridge was only denied a comeback try by a try line tackle a minute later.
Minety’s pleas for a penalty for a high tackle fell on deaf ears and Ward was sin binned when his protestations became too much for the referee.
Down to 14 players, Minety pressed and laid siege to the Bradford line. That pressure told when Cooke intercepted a clearance pass and ran in to score beneath the posts. McAllister’s conversion bought the scores to 32-19.
Minety’s 4th try came in the 79th minute when McAllister jinked his way past four defenders to score his second try. The conversion drifted agonisingly wide in the blustery conditions and the match ended shortly afterwards with Minety desperately seeking a 5th try.
The two team meet again next Saturday, this time in Cup action at Minety Fields.
Final score: Bradford on Avon 32 Minety 24
Minety Man of the Match Duncan Simpson.
In the other match Minety 2nd XV lost to top of the table Swindon Old Boys by 38-17.