Minety’s 1st XV ended their Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North campaign with a disappointing 43-25 defeat at the hands of Pewsey Vale on Saturday.
Minety finished in a creditable 6th place in the 12 team division with 11 wins from their 22 outings, one place above local rivals Wootton Bassett, whose 50-0 defeat at the hands of Bradford on Avon left them in 7th place.
The season ender was played in unseasonably warm weather at the picturesque Pewsey ground.
The visitors kicked off and pushed Pewsey back into their own 22 metre area with some quick passing but the “writing was on the wall” when Pewsey’s centres broke through the Minety defence and only some sloppy passing prevented an opening try. The powerful Pewsey pack disrupted Minety’s scrum and the village side were forced to defend their lines desperately, fly half Tom McAllister’s kicking easing the pressure.
Against the run of play, Minety opened the scoring. After Pewsey had been penalised for delaying a lineout, captain Andrew Hibbard picked up the ball 50 metres out and ran straight through the defence, off-loading the ball to Duncan Simpson, who touched down between the posts. Garin Garland kicked the conversion and Minety were an improbable 7-0 up.
Pewsey hit back 5 minutes later when Minety were penalised in their own 22. From the resulting scrum, fly half James Haynes burst through before slipping a pass to No. 8 Phil Vallis who scored from close range. Haynes’ conversion tied up the scores at 7 each.
Minety kept the match even by moving the ball quickly in the backs but the scrummages were very one sided and any ball that the visitors claimed put them on the back foot.
Big second row Ben Collins, just back after a serious knee injury, proved a handful for the Pewsey defence and gave some respite for Minety’s overworked defence.
Minety regained the lead in the 30th minute when Pewsey offended at a ruck, Garland kicking the penalty, and it was the young full back who extended the lead to 13-7 from another penalty in the 35th minute.
Pewsey struck back before half time. Once again, the combination of No. 8 Vallis and Haynes proved too much for the beleaguered visiting defence and the fly half touched down for Pewsey’s second try and then kicked the conversion to take the lead 14-13 at the end of the first half.
If there is to be one criticism that can be levied against the Minety team it is their inability to “switch back on” after a break and the four unanswered Pewsey tries in the first 12 minutes of the second half demonstrated this and ended Minety’s chance of getting anything from this match.
In the 41st minute replacement forward Sam Flippance ran straight through the Minety defence to score a fine solo try, converted by Haynes.
Three minutes later McAllister’s try line clearance was charged down and Pewsey’s loose head prop Guy Ellis was first to react to the loose ball to touch down.
Pewsey’s third try of the half came in the 49th minute. Fly half Haynes picked up a Minety clearance, ran it back and from the resulting ruck flanker Olly Spence picked up and ran through for a try under the posts.
Pewsey’s 6th try came shortly after when flanker Chris Spence seized on the ball and scored wide out on the right wing. Haynes’ long range conversion fell short but Pewsey were now in complete control of the match, leading 38-13.
The home team were reduced to 14 men when Chris Spence was yellow carded for “pulling an opponent down” at a lineout.
Minety pressed forward and played some of their most enterprising rugby of the match but all too often the final pass went astray and possession lost.
Both teams lost a player, each yellow carded, after a flare up in the 61st minute.
Minety’s second try came after a period of pressure on the Pewsey line. A midfield run from Jack Ward was rebuffed but Simpson was on hand to pick up and score.
Pewsey extended their lead to 43-18 in the 77th minute when Vallis sprinted through for his second try.
Minety’s final try was a penalty try awarded after winger Dave Cooke’s fine run through the Pewsey defence was halted by a desperate neck high tackle close to the try line.
The final moments of the match saw Minety desperately trying to gain the all-important bonus point winning 4th try, but all their efforts were repelled by a resolute Pewsey defence.
Final score: Pewsey Vale 43 Minety 25
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Team photographs to follow; film of the match will be on MTV on Wednesday.