Elis Garland, scorer of two second half tries
Buoyed by their excellent season opening win at Pewsey, Minety took to the field at Warminster under no illusions that this was to be an altogether stiffer test. In fact, it took less than a minute for the in-form home team to score. Direct from the kick off, Warminster secured the ball and a fine move across the pitch involving the entire back line saw their full back touch down under the posts.
Shell shocked, Minety hit back and enjoyed territorial advantage but were held at bay by some ferocious Warminster tackling in midfield.
When a Minety backs move broke down metres from the Warminster line it looked as if the home team would increase their lead but brilliant smothering tackles from centre Jack Howse and winger Ben Langridge saved the day.
Warminster doubled their lead in the 11th minute with another break away try. A cross field run from their pacey full back and a well-timed pass to his right winger saw the latter out pace a threadbare defence and score under the posts.
Whilst a stable scrum and some good lineout ball gave the village team plenty of possession, the speed of the home defence meant little quality ball reached the Minety wingers.
Warminster’s third try came, once again, after a period of Minety pressure. A neat interchange between centre and fly half saw the latter break through, evading two tacklers and scoring out wide on the right.
Minety held Warminster at bay for the rest of the half and started the second period strongly with scrum half Garin Garland a constant thorn in the home side’s defence.
Minety got on the score sheet nine minutes into the half. Moving the ball much more confidently, they launched attack after attack on the home line and after Warminster were penalised for a high tackle, Garland took a tap penalty and fed hooker Tom Claxton, who charged through to score.
Minety’s second try, and the best of the match, came direct from the kick off and featured scrum half Garin Garland and his elder brother, full back Elis Garland, making a comeback after over a year out. Breaking the home line, the younger Garland fed his brother who outpaced 6 defenders to score wide on the left.
Minety’s desire to attack from all areas of the pitch cost them dear in the 54th minute. After winning a scrum deep in their own 22, a clearance kick to touch would have been the safe option, but they chose to run the ball out and when the move broke down, Warminster pounced on the loose ball to score near the posts to stretch the lead to 26-10.
Langridge’s stunning one handed ankle tackle prevented another home side breakaway score as both teams went on all-out attack mode as the game entered its final quarter.
Del Murray scored Minety’s third try after they won a line out and scrum half Garland spotted a gap by the touchline which saw the young winger touch down by the corner flag. Garland’s long range conversion was successful and Minety were back in the game.
Warminster struck back and a slick move across the backs saw their right winger touch down in the 77th minute.
Minety ended the match strongly and several try scoring attempts were thwarted by last ditch tackles, but the villagers gained a well-deserved consolation bonus point winning 4th try when the mercurial Elis Garland broke through to score in stoppage time.
Coach Hywel Rees took many positives from the game. “We scored four second half tries against a very good team. Everyone stepped up their game after our slow start. We need to switch on at the start and begin with the same intensity that we end our games but overall I’m really proud of all the lads who played today.”