Minety’s final home match of the season saw them host Swindon, one place below them in the Dorset and Wilts Division 1 North table.
Played in unseasonably warm weather, Minety kicked off up the slope at Minety Fields. On a good, firm surface, both teams spread the ball across the line and opted for an open running game in the early exchanges.
The home team took an early lead when captain Andrew Hibbard burst over for the opening try from close range after Swindon had been penalised twice near their own line.
Minety nearly extended their lead minutes later when winger Ben Langridge was held up over the line after a superb attacking move involving all of the Minety backs.
Against the run of play, Swindon snatched the lead in the 21st minute. A long clearance kick pushed Minety back onto their own line and when an adventurous move to run the ball back broke down, Swindon flanker Jermain Edwards ran in to score under the posts. Fly half Mark Chatwin converted the try and Swindon were 7-5 up.
Swindon’s lead was short lived; Minety surged back and from a scrum deep in the visitor’s half, centre Tom Windle beat four defenders to score under the posts. Garin Garland’s conversion extended the lead to 12-7.
Minety’s third try, in the 31st minute, ironically came at the end of Swindon’s best attacking period of the half. Winger Langridge pounced on a loose ball and ran 80 metres unchallenged to score under the posts.
The villagers controlled most of the rest of the half but were unable to turn possession and territory into points.
The opening exchanges of the 2nd half were even, Swindon using the ball well across the line without ever really threatening the home team’s try line.
The crucial 4th and bonus point winning try came in the 54th minute. Garland’s quick penalty caught the Swindon defence flat footed and allowed centre John Blair to cross under the posts.
Minety increased the lead 3 minutes later. Fly half Tom McAllister spotted an overlap on the left and his precise through kick was collected by Langridge for his second try of the match.
Garland’s long range conversion took the score out to 33-7.
Tom Windle’s second try of the match came in the 73rd minute. McAllister’s fine penalty kick took play to Swindon’s 5 metre line. Hibbard won the lineout ball and , after a series of rucks, the centre burst through to score Minety’s 6th try. Garland’s conversion was successful and Minety were 40-7 up.
Minety scored their 7th, and final try of the match, in the far left corner after another sweeping “training ground” move by the backs to end the match 45-7 victors.
The win, and crucial bonus point, takes Minety back above Royal Wootton Bassett, and into 6th place in the league with just one match, away at Pewsey Vale on the 22nd April to come.
Coach Craig Smith was very happy with the performance. “That was a pretty awesome display. We stuck to the game plan, played quick ball and supported each other.”
Captain Andrew Hibbard, playing his last game as club captain said, “It was a great performance from everyone. We had plenty of possession and used the ball well. It was nice to be able to play on our 1st team pitch for a change.”
Man of the Match: Rob Bugden, the inspiring the team from the sidelines. More on Rob’s appearance later on this week.