Minety return to winning ways
Minety produced arguably their best half of rugby this season during the first half of their 38-5 Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North league victory over Supermarine on Saturday.
The village side’s victory allowed them to leap frog over their closest rival Royal Wootton Basset and climb to 6th place in the league, just a point behind 5th placed Pewsey Vale.
Having lost the toss, Andrew Hibbard’s team faced the prospect of playing up the slope at Minety Fields in the first half against strong and physical opponents.
Welcoming back influential centres Dave Church and Jack Ward, and with a settled pack, the village side imposed themselves from the opening whistle.
1st try in 6th minute
After a series of attacking moves had been rebuffed, Minety opened the scoring. The forwards set up the move, pushing their way deep into the Supermarine half before Ward and flanker Tom Windle battered the Supermarine defence right back to their try line. Twice Minety forwards were denied by last ditched tackles but flanker David O’Took found the smallest of gaps to squeeze through for a try which Garin Garland converted.
Minety enjoyed the vast majority of the possession and territory in the first quarter of the match, winning quality ball at both lineout and scrum.
Using hooker Tom Claxton and the impressive Tom Windle on the crash ball, the backs were able to spread attacks across the pitch and it was something of a surprise that the home side took until the 22nd minute to extend their lead.
Excellent defensive tackling from Supermarine kept out the dangerous Church and Hibbard but the pressure told when the visitors were penalised for offside. Garland stroked home the ensuing penalty and extended the lead to 10 points.
Captain scores try number 2
With Supermarine still to make any significant ground in the Minety half, the home team launched another wave of attacks which resulted in another penalty, this time for “going over the top and off the feet” at a ruck. Garland stepped up and Minety were now 13-0 up.
On the half hour Supermarine finally pushed Minety deep back into their own half but Josh Bull took Claxton’s throw in and fly half Tom McAllister cleared the lines with an impressive kick to touch on the half way line.
Garland kicked his 3rd penalty of the half in the 34th minute and right on half time Windle was held up over the line. From the resulting 5 metre scrum, Hibbard picked up and drove over for Minety 2nd try and a half time lead of 21-0.
Coach Craig Smith replaced prop Will North with Nick Britten at half time.
Tom Windle scores try number 3
Playing downhill in the 2nd half, Minety extended their lead in the 45th minute. After a period of sustained attacking play, Windle burst through a gap in the Supermarine defensive line and fended off three players to score under the posts. Garland converted and Minety were comfortably 28-0 up.
The game became fragmented as the penalty count rose against both teams and Supermarine saw their chance as Minety failed to settle. Pushing the home team back deep into their own 22 metre area, the visitors forced a number of penalties, opting to scrum each time, and finally in the 52nd minute they crossed for an unconverted try wide out on the left wing.
Minety shook off their lethargy and when Garland was adjudged to have been unfairly dump tackled close to the Supermarine posts, he slotted home the penalty to take the home team to 31 points.
Garin kicks his 4th penalty
The game then drifted again, neither team able to make much progress, although the Supermarine defence did put in some fine smothering tackles to end Minety attacks.
As the final whistle approached Minety switched back on again and pushed forward for the 4th try, which would guarantee them an all-important league bonus point.
In the final play of the game, Ward and Church combined to punch a hole in the Supermarine defensive line and an off load allowed Bull to run in for the 4th try under the posts. Garland kicked the conversion, his third of the day, and Minety ran out 38-5 winners and, in so doing, gained maximum league points.