Minety turn on the style.
With the 1st XV match conceded by visitors Pewsey Vale, all eyes turned on the 2nd XV’s match away at Bath Saracens in Dorset and Wilts Division 3.
The match, played at Oldfields RFC very attractive venue, pitched 6th placed Bath Saracens against 8th placed Minety and gave visiting coach Andy Grayson a chance to look at some of the emerging talent in the 2nd XV.
Man of the Match, James Nickson
The visitors started the match pushing the Saracens back into their own 22 and dominating the open play, teenage scrum half James Nickson martialling his troops with an assurity which belied his youth and relative inexperience.
With hooker Mark Glew’s powerful running in midfield and the dangerous full back Ben Kingston always looking for counter attacking opportunities, Minety applied pressure across the pitch but were unable to find a way through Saracens’ well organised defence.
Veteran 2nd row Phil Ward was dominant at the back of the line out and Minety enjoyed quality ball so it was something of a surprise that they failed to open the scoring before the 27th minute.
A series of rucks near the Saracens line ended with the dangerous Glew taking the ball at pace and slicing through the defence for the first try. NIckson’s long range conversion was a success and Minety led 7-0.
Minety doubled their lead 4 minutes later with one of the tries of the season. From a scrum just outside of his own 22, Nicksen picked up the ball and dummied the Saracens’ defence before streaking clear, side stepping the full back and toughing down beneath the posts. His conversion sailed between the uprights and Minety led 14-0.
Glew scored his 2nd, and Minety’s 3rd try from a forwards’ pushover just before half time as coach Grayson made a number of changes, experimenting with players playing in unaccustomed positions.
With both teams making full use of bench players in the very hot sunshine, Minety started the 2nd half 19-0 up.
They wrapped up the 4 try bonus point in the 48th minute. Nickson fed replacement fly half Dave Cooke. His long pass was caught by centre Bram Coleman, whose flicked pass set Garin Garland in for a try near the posts. Coleman kicked the conversion to put the visitors 26 points clear.
In the energy sapping conditions, it was great credit to both teams for the high pace that the game was played at.
Despite the score line, Saracens continued to play open, attacking rugby and richly deserved their opening try in the 63rd minute. After a fluent backs’ move along the line, play switched in field and a clever “grubber” kick through the Minety line allowed the home side’s inside centre to touch down under the posts.
Minety hit back with some forceful running from the powerful Gareth Thomas but it was the home side who scored next with a fine “length of the pitch” try involving 6 players before the scrum half touched down beneath the posts. The successful conversion brought the scores back to 26-14.
All chances of an unlikely comeback were halted 2 minutes later when centre Del Murray cleverly picked his way through the home defence to score under the posts.
The 6th Minety try came in the 77th minute when the impressive Kingston broke through to touch down, Coleman converting to end the match 40-14 in Minety’s favour.
Coach Grayson was delighted with the performance of the whole squad but singled out James Nickson for particular praise after a Man of the Match performance.
Minety’s win lifts them into 7th place in the league with one fixture remaining of the season against champions Corsham.
In Division 1, Minety’s home walkover and Warminster’s defeat at home to Avonvale mean that the village side lie 4 points behind Warminster with two matches in hand in the fight for 4th place in the league.