Mighty Minety take Vase in thrilling final.
Minety 1st XV capped possibly the greatest week in the village rugby club’s history with a fine win in the Dorset and Wilts Vase Final against the previously unbeaten Lytchett Minster side at Warminster on Saturday.
A week that saw the club’s chief coach, Cliff Garland, named as BBC West Unsung Hero ended with the 1st XV lifting the D&W Vase for the first time in their history.
Lytchett Minster came into the final unbeaten in league and cup matches this season in what proved to be both teams’ toughest encounter so far. With a swirling wind behind them, Minety attacked from the whistle and forced the Dorset team back with some excellent attacking rugby. Time and time again, the Lytchett defence was forced into desperate tackles to prevent Minety from scoring.
Twice Minety were denied tries by the referee’s whistle but in the 16th minute scrum half Garin Garland slotted home a penalty to put Minety 3-0 up. Lytchett attacked more towards the end of the half but were unable to break through a spirited Minety defence.
With the wind behind them in the second half, Lytchett laid siege to the Minety line yet were unable to score, until, with 20 minutes left their scrum half, Kyle Pinnock, crashed over for a try after a scrum on the Minety line. With the conversion successful Lytchett now led by 7-3.
The game opened up in the last quarter with both teams going of the winning score. The breakthrough came with 8 minutes left when Minety captain, Wallace Hibberd, charged down a kick and touched down for a try that Garland converted. With the Wiltshire village side now 10-7 up the tension was almost unbearable but Minety held on to win their first piece of major silverware in front of large and very enthusiastic set of supporters.
After the match, coach Andy Ward reflected on the victory. “We put in so much effort and I was so proud of the entire squad. We left nothing out on the field; everyone gave their all. Lytchett were a fine team; they played with great spirit and their club should be proud of what they’ve achieved, but we were just jubilant. We’re not bad for a little village team!”
Chief coach Cliff Garland said, “It’s the end of an astonishing week. It was an amazing performance. I thought that a 3-0 lead at half time was too small to defend but we didn’t miss a tackle and attacked with real purpose.”
Club captain Wallace Hibberd was proud of his team. “We had most of the territory and possession in the first half and won most of the loose ball but we just couldn’t get that try that would open them up. We absorbed so much pressure in the second half and I was just relieved when we got that winning try. We’re looking forward to the next stage of the competition which we’ll play in January.”
Club Chairman Dave Peirce added, “I’m over the moon. That was the best performance from a Minety team that I can remember. Lytchett were a quality team and we wish them luck for the rest of their season. But Minety RFC is really moving forward – you can feel the momentum rising as witnessed by the tremendous travelling support that we had.”
The Minety go on to play in the semi finals of the Southern Counties, the winners of the final going on to play at Twickenham.
Date: Saturday 29th November 2015
Weather: Overcast, high swirling wind, some driving rain
Venue: Warminster Rugby Club
Competition: Dorset and Wilts Rugby Football Union 1st XV Vase Final
Garin Garland kicks Minety ahead in the first half
Wallace charges down a clearance kick …
… and scores the winning try.
The presentation of the trophy
Captain Wallace Hibberd and Coach Andy Ward
Just some of the amazing support that the team enjoyed