Minety RFC began their 2018 Dorset and Wilts campaign with an emphatic 32-0 win over championship chasing Warminster at Minety Fields on Saturday that left coaches Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees delighted.
The visitors, who started the day 3rd in the league, kicked off down the slope in the first half and had a chance in the opening exchanges when their superior weight in the scrum forced Minety back. The penalty kick drifted wide and Minety showed their intent in a wonderful counter attacking move involving scrum half Garin Garland, centre Chris Rule, full back Duncan Simpson and Number 8 Andrew Hibbard which ended with Garland being held up in a tackle under the Warminster posts.
Ferocious tackling in mid field and fast movement of the ball along the line put Minety on top and their first try came in the 14th minute. Fly half Tom McAllister broke the defensive line before off-loading to centre Jack Howse, who evaded five defenders to score a superb try from 30 metres out. Garland converted and Minety led 7-0.
Jack Howse scores try Number 1
The villagers’ forwards, driven on by captain Tom Claxton, set up quality ball and allowed the free running back division to use their pace and guile to drive the visitors back. If the home team’s first try was a fine individual effort, the second, which came in the 24th minute, was an outstanding team effort. McAllister’s penalty kick to touch set up a lineout 15 metres out. Claxton’s throw was taken in by Hibbard as the forwards drove on. Garland fed McAllister, who fended off two tackles before popping the ball to Simpson. The full back broke the line before passing to Howse, who drew two defenders before off-loading to winger Dave Cooke, who scored unopposed.
Dave Cooke scores try number 2
On the rare occasions that Warminster broke out of their own half their progress was halted by fine Minety tackling and rucking.
The home team were forced to make changes when front row Nick Britten suffered a nasty knee injury but they were soon back on top with the fast breaking Garland, Rule, Howse and Cooke pushing Warminster back deep into their own territory.
Garland extended the lead to 15 points in the 33rd minute.
The half ended with the Minety forwards on the rampage. Hibbard took up the ball in midfield, feeding Colin French who broke through, passing to Gareth Thomas who set up 2nd row Ben Collins whose try attempt was only thwarted by a last ditch tackle.
Garland started the 2nd half scoring, slotting home a penalty in the 46th minute before French had to leave the pitch with a shoulder injury.
Warminster enjoyed their best spell of possession and territory but were kept in check by Minety’s fine defensive tackling.
The match, and the winning bonus point, was wrapped up with two converted tries in the 68th and 73rd minutes. Hard running Ben Sellick and Howse punched holes in the Warminster line and Garland fed Hibbard who touched down after beating 3 defenders.
Andrew Hibbard scores try number 3.
Garland scored the 4th after a tap penalty set Cooke away down the centre. Side stepping two defenders, the winger popped the ball to the scrum half who scored with ease to secure the 32-0 win.
Garin Garland scores try number 4
Coach Andy Grayson could not hide his pleasure at the end of the match. “I couldn’t have asked for more. We’ve been working at keeping the ball alive in training and managing game situations and we executed brilliantly today. Our off loads set up our backs, who looked dangerous all game, while our forward play and tackling was the best I’ve seen since I’ve been at the club.”
Lineup: 1. Colin French; 2. Tom Claxton (c); 3. Nick Britten; 4. Ben Scott; 5. Ben Collins; 6. Kieran Tillotsen; 7. Tom Windle; 8. Andrew Hibbard; 9. Garin Garland; 10. Tom McAllister; 11. Matt Stone; 12. Chris Rule; 13. Jack Howse; 14. Dave Cooke; 15. Duncan Simpson; 16. Ben Sellick; 17. Gareth Thomas.
Next Saturday Minety travel to Royal Wootton Bassett for what is sure to be a keenly fought local derby.