Minety’s new coaching team, Andy Grayson and Hywel Rees, declared themselves pleased with the home team’s performance in their 36-0 pre season victory over near neighbours Cricklade in a match played at Minety Fields on Tuesday evening.
The game, spread across three 20 minute periods, allowed both sets of coaches the chance to see as many of their 2017-2018 squads in action as possible.
Minety kicked off and spent nearly all of the first period encamped in Cricklade’s half. Early breaks from fly half Tom McAllister kept the visitors pinned back and the first try came after a fine tactical kick into the corner. Newly appointed club captain, Tom Claxton’s lineout found second rower Ben Scott, who, supported by the Minety pack, pushed forward to the Cricklade line. Second team captain Matt Stone took the ball on and from the resulting ruck scrum half Garin Garland found number 8 Andrew Hibbard and last year’s captain scored with ease. Garland’s conversion missed to the left of the posts.
Continued Minety pressure resulted in a second try, this time for fly half McAllister after a probing run from centre John Blair had opened up the Cricklade defence. Garland’s conversion was successful although Minety ended the first period 12-0 up having to defend their lines as Cricklade pressed forward.
The start of the second period saw the home team camped on the visitors’ line. Garland’s quick passing spread the ball across the park and it was young Kieran James who broke through the first line of defence. Ben Scott was stopped on the line but second row Ben Collins picked up at the back of a ruck and dived over for Minety’s third try. Garland’s long range conversion missed narrowly but the lead was now 17 points.
With both coaching teams making multiple changes to the line ups, Ben Wilson collected a Cricklade clearance on half way, evaded a defender and off loaded to Ellis Garland, making his first Minety appearance for some time. The elder Garland cut through the Cricklade defence before chipping the ball over the full back and touching down for a fine solo effort. His brother, Garin, kicked the resulting conversion to take the score to 24-0.
The third period was played in the gathering gloom. With less than 2 minutes gone into the period full back Duncan Simpson chose to run the ball out from under his own posts, passing to the influential Matt Roberts, back in the team after an injury ravaged 2016/7. Roberts’ pace outstripped no less than 6 defenders before he off loaded to Simpson who ran in to touch down under the posts from 5 metres out. Garland converted the try to push Minety’s lead to 31 points.
As the Minety floodlights illuminated at least one side of the pitch, Cricklade gamely pressed forward, eschewing the chance to kick at least two penalties in favour of running the ball but it was another brilliant Roberts try, this time from 40 metres out that finished the scoring with the home team running out 36-0 victors.
Minety will finish their pre season preparations with another home match, this time against Nailsea, on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.