Understrength Minety go down fighting

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Action from Minety v Melksham Action from Minety v Melksham

Dorset & Wilts Div 1 North.

Minety 0 Melksham 24.

PLAYING with plenty of heart, an understrength Minety managed to restrict Melksham to two tries in each half but were unable to create any scoring opportunities against their in-form opponents.

Stripped of players by injuries and absences, Minety only just managed to field two full sides on Saturday, even dragging coach Huw Jones out of retirement to fulfil the fixtures.

The firsts found themselves up against a well-drilled Melksham side full of determined runners and the makeshift Minety back row of Jones, Gethin Roberts and Andew Hibbard played exceptionally well to prevent the visitors piling up massive score.

Last-minute call-up Cameron Smith also proved invaluable at prop, especially after fellow prop Andy Hurley had to leave the field with a shoulder injury 20 minutes into the first half.

Martin Coe, who started at centre and was still recovering from a hamstring injury, moved into the front row and Milo Hartley was drafted in from the middle of the second team game to replace him in the three-quarters.

Twelve-nil down at the break, Minety faced an even stiffer challenge playing uphill in the second half. The whole team defended with a will, however. Special mention must go to Dale Langdown, playing at fly half for the first time ever and clearing his lines with efficiency and composure, consistently finding touch to relieve the constant pressure on his team.

Melksham battered the Minety line, but for a long time the home team held out, tackling the frustrated visitors to a standstill. Eventually, the dam broke, though, and Melksham secured the two late tries which sealed the win and secured them a bonus point.

Minety skipper Tom Fitzcharles said: "Prior to the game, I don't think any of us thought we had that performance in us. I certainly limped off the pitch proud of each man's effort and knowing that I could not have asked for any more."

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