Dorset & Wilts Div One North
MINETY and Bradford-on-Avon slugged it out on a muddy surface in a howling gale, with neither side giving any quarter.
But Minety made mistakes at critical moments and Bradford coolly punished them by putting points on the board.
Playing down slope with the wind at their backs, Minety soon had the visitors under pressure. Awarded a penalty after only three minutes, they kicked for the corner. From the ensuing line-out, the forwards took a neat catch and drive that saw Tom Windle bulldoze over for a try.
The game then settled into a hard-fought stalemate that was only broken when, with three minutes to go until half-time, Bradford mounted a spectacular driving maul that took them 40 metres upfield. They followed this with a series of quick rucks and short-range sallies, the last of which took them over the line for a try to level the scores.
Minety responded immediately, running ball from the restart. Luke Radcliff finished off a sweeping move with a try to make it 10-5 in Minety’s favour at the break.
Bradford closed the gap with a penalty goal two minutes into the second half.
With wind and slope in their favour, the visitors pinned Minety to their line with a series of scrums and penalties. Minety repeatedly infringed and eventually the referee yellow-carded openside flanker Gethin Roberts. Bradford declined an attempt on goal in favour of a scrum and, when their hosts offended once more, the referee awarded a penalty try. An easy conversion turned this into a seven-pointer.
Bradford returned to the attack and, with the wind against them, Minety struggled to clear their lines.
In the end it was the pack who found the way out, driving upfield almost to halfway. But then, instead of continuing with more of the same, Tom Fitzcharles decided to kick. The ball was fielded by the Bradford full back who ran 60 metres for the try that clinched the game for his side.
Afterwards, disappointed Minety coach Huw Jones said: “We deserved something from the game and fought hard in very difficult conditions, but three mistakes cost us the match and ultimately a losing bonus point, too.”