Minety maintained their unbeaten run, stretching back to early November, with a dogged and unspectacular 20-3 win over Supermarine in quite appalling conditions at Minety on Saturday.
Many must have been surprised that the waterlogged pitch had passed a pre match inspection and it was soon evident that underfoot conditions would play a major role in the outcome of the game.
With the rain sweeping across the ground and spectators huddling in groups, Minety kicked off playing down the slope.
Fun in the mud – 2nd half action
The home side dominated the early exchanges and opened the scoring in the 7th minute before Supermarine had even ventured out of their own half. Strong running from centres Jack Howse and Chris Rule and No. 8 Andrew Hibbard pushed the visitors back and a fine move saw flanker Ben Sellick stopped on the line but a quick pass to scrum half Garin Garland allowed Josh Bull to grab his 3rd try of the season wide on the left.
Garland’s long range conversion attempt drifted wide but the home side were 5-0 up.
The village side’s dominance at both scrum and lineout gave them plenty of possession but with the pitch cutting up badly and the ball like the proverbial bar of soap, maintaining possession beyond two phases was well-nigh impossible.
Supermarine struck back but determined tackling from the Minety pack held them at bay until the 26th minute when the visitors were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. The ensuing points for Supermarine were the first to be scored against Minety since mid-December.
Tom Claxton leads his team off at the end
The inform Minety team scored their second try in the 31st minute. Full back Duncan Simpson’s introduction into the line moved the ball to Supermarine’s try line. Hibbard disrupted a Supermarine lineout and fly half Tom McAllister’s run back against the direction of play split the defence. Captain Tom Claxton and his forwards drove the ball to the line and Garland picked up at the base of the ensuing ruck, beating two defenders to score. Garland’s long range conversion saw Minety end the first half 12-3 up.
Coaches Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees brought Jack Ward on to replace the returning Steve White, back after a long term should injury, but with the pitch deteriorating rapidly, the match became even more fragmented with both teams struggling in a sea of mud.
Minety produced the best move of the half starting with a break out by Bull followed by a 50 metre advance involving nearly all of the team. The move ended when Supermarine were penalised but Garland, usually so reliable from the kicking tee, sliced the penalty wide.
Tom Claxton, Ben Coilins and Jack Ward
Mired in the mud and unable to find the fluid, quick passing game that has proved so successful this season, Minety struggled to contain the oppositions for great swathes of the 2nd half without ever looking as if they were going to concede a try.
A typically barn storming cross field run by Howse ended with him flat on his back after an unsafe tackle. After a lengthy delay while the young centre received treatment on the pitch, Garland slotted home the resulting penalty to extend the lead to 15-3.
Minety ended the scoring when Ward barrelled his way over wide on the right to score Minety’s 3rd try and ensure a 20-3 points victory that takes them up into 4th place in Division 1, above Warminster, who surprisingly lost at Royal Wootton Bassett.
After the match Coach Andy Grayson praised his team. “We defended well in truly awful conditions but we made hard work of attacking. We have a team that likes to play quick running rugby and we just got bogged down in the 2nd half.”
Dave Cooke, Chris Rule, Garin Garland and Ben Sellick
Next week the 1st XV travel to league leaders Combe Down determined to reverse the last play defeat they suffered earlier in the season.
In the weekend’s other match, Minety 2nds lost a hard fought encounter with title chasing Chippenham by 10-0 in Division 3.