Minety 17 - Chippenham II 7
Three second half tries secured an invaluable 4 league points as Minety fought to get away from the nether regions of Division 1 and deny fellow strugglers Chippenham any points.
On a cold and blustery afternoon Chippenham started the match playing downhill on a very wet and boggy playing surface and immediately used the advantage to push Minety back deep into their own half.
A much changed Minety team from the one that went down at Calne last weekend fought hard to deny the visitors any advantage and used Sam Hughes, back to his natural starting position at fly half, to kick clear and relieve pressure.
As the half progressed the home team more than matched their local rivals and good line out and scrum ball gave half backs Garin Garland and Hughes plenty of scope to launch attacks through the backs and Minety captain Andrew Hibbard and his forwards.
Hibbard was a constant threat at the base of the scrum while new recruit Hugo Beanland showed plenty of fight up front alongside hooker Mark Glew and fellow prop Colin French.
Minety held out until the 37th minute before Chippenham opened the scoring with a converted try from a forward move after massive pressure in the Minety line.
It took the home side just three minutes to even up the score in the second half. Hibbard spotted a gap and drove through the Chippenham line to crash over for the first try, converted by Garland.
Eight minutes later it was the turn of Minety returnee Tom McAllister to put the home side ahead. Back from university and on as a half time replacement for Kieran James, McAllister burst through the Chippenham defence to register Minety’s second try.
Despite territorial advantage, as both teams tired in the challenging conditions, Minety were unable to push home for a four try win, which would have garnered them an additional league point in a season where already a number of teams are scrapping to avoid the two relegation spots that threaten at the end of the campaign.
A wonderful chance went begging when, after a fluent backs move when winger Dave Cooke was unable to hang on to a pass 40 metres out but with the Chippenham defence at sixes and sevens.
The points were secured late in the 82nd minute when full back Duncan Simpson seized upon a chance to dive through for the last score of the game, leaving Minety 17 to 7 victors and denying Chippenham a losing bonus point.
The win lifts Minety into 10th place, eight points clear of bottom club Bradford on Avon and three clear of Marlborough and just 3 points behind 7th placed Calne.
In the weekend’s other Minety match the second XV went down to a late Cricklade try to lose 17 – 7 leaving them in 6th place in Division 3.
Next Saturday all roads lead to Warminster for the final of the Dorset and Wilts Vase where Minety will need to be at their very best when they take on Dorchester, runaway leaders of Dorset and Wilts Division 1 South, unbeaten in 11 league matches this season.
Minety squad against Chippenham: Hugo Beanland, Mark Glew, Colin French, Matt Chisholm, Matt Stone, Jay Thompson, Kieran Tillotson, Andrew Hibbard (c), Garin Garland, Sam Hughes, Dave Cooke, Kieran James, Ben Langridge, Chris Rule & Duncan Simpson. Replacements: Del Murray, Tom McAllister & Ben Kingston