AN OUTSTANDING display by Minch saw then progress to the semi final of the Stroud Combination Junior Cup at the expense of Cirencester II.

Stroud Combination Junior Cup Quarter Final

Minchinhampton 36

Cirencester II 7

With changes in key positions and some returning players, Minch looked confident from the start and they were soon ahead.

Solid scrummaging from the pack and great work from No.8 and captain Matt Austen led to flanker Chris Brookman scoring.

That score woke up Ciren and they started to use their heavyweight pack to gain ground. Phase after phase of attacks were repelled by robust defence from Minch but eventually the pressure told, Ciren scoring under the posts after 20 minutes.

A period of stalemate ensued, with neither side gaining ground and errors creeping in.

With Sam Hester kicking to the corners beautifully, Minch started to build some territory. After a number of phases Ollie Cooper found himself in midfield and his eyes lit up with just backs to beat from five yards out. Try converted: 12-7 to Minch at half-time.

Minch attacked from the restart and in the wake of an opportunist snipe from scrum half Tom Hiatt, Rich Humberstone scored out wide.

After subsequently repelling some Ciren pressure Minch ran the advantage after forcing a knock-on inside their own 22 which resulted in Stu Allen scoring a converted try under the posts.

Ciren again worked their way back into the game, establishing territory deep in the Minch half, but the home side counter-attacked and scored a magnificent try, the move both started and finished by Hiatt.

With Ciren now getting frustrated, some ill-discipline crept into their game, resulting in a sin-binning.

Ciren were not lying down but despite the hot weather and the high tempo, Minch’s scamble defence put the pressure back on the visitors. Austen intercepted and fed Hester but when he was snagged the back row ensured quick ball for the backs, which enabled Allen's pace to secure his second try under the posts.

The conversion sailed over to bring the game to a conclusion, as Minch go forward with confidence.