Minety’s hopes of a promotion play off place took another massive blow at Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday as the village side slipped to a second straight league defeat and surrendered second place in the league to their local rivals.
In dreadful conditions, with driving rain and a swirling cross wind, Minety withstood early Wootton Bassett pressure before camping out on the home side’s line for over 10 minutes without scoring. A Dale Langdown effort was ruled out by the referee as Minety launched wave upon wave of attacks on the Bassett line. Reduced to 14 men after conceding a series of penalties, the home side adapted to the conditions far better as the half wore on. Keeping the ball in close and utilising some clever touch line kicking, Bassett forced their way back into the match and scored the opening points in the final minute of the half with a converted try.
All hopes that Minety might get something out the match were extinguished in the first 10 minutes of the second half when the home side ran in a further three tries. With the forwards visibly tiring in the heavy conditions, Minety were no match for their fierce rivals and conceded a fifth try in the closing minutes as the home side ran out comprehensive 32-0 victors.
The loss, coupled with the shock defeat at lowly Trowbridge last week, see Minety slip to 4th place in the table behind Bassett and the fast improving Corsham side, who overcame struggling Colerne.
Coach Andy Ward was despondent after the defeat. “Too often we were stationery when we should have been driving over the ball. Bassett enjoyed lots of quality ball while we had to make do with scraps. We needed to put a score on the board after all that first half pressure and should have adapted better to the conditions. Our lack of ‘on pitch’ training is really telling; we haven’t hand a home match at Minety for a month and we haven’t been able to train on our pitches since before Christmas.”
Captain Andrew Hibbard shared his coach’s views. “We made really hard work of it. I felt we dominated great swathes of the first half but just couldn’t get the ball over the line despite our possession. The loss makes next week’s match against Melksham even more important; we’ve got to get back to the type of rugby that served us so well in the first half of the season.”
Final Score : Wootton Bassett 32 Minety 0
Played at Wootton Bassett
Saturday 20th February. Kick off 2.30pm
Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North
Man of the Match: Harry Neale