Stroud Combination Junior Vase

Dursley Nomads 29

Minchinhampton Rams 7

DESPITE playing with only 14 men, Minch Rams played one of their best opening halves of the season – unfortunately they tired in the second period and hosts Dursley showed greater desire and more resources to come out firmly on top.

The Rams initially borrowed a Dursley player who had the misfortune to get injured in the first contact.

But playing with 14 seemed to inspire Minch, as they showed steel, were highly organised and dangerous with ball in hand.

The Rams forwards repeatedly employed an exemplary driving maul, and were unlucky to be held up over the line. With Lance Baynham directing matters from scrum half and Alex Corry carving up the opposition from fly half, the Rams looked full of points. The tackling was also highly effective with Beaumont, Jake Lovell-Hewitt, Baltrami and Whittemore making decisive interventions, while the returning powerhouse Fraser and No.8 French were a real handful on the rampage all game.

Dursley drew first blood as they set up an attack in the Rams' 22 and their substantial prop barrelled over but it wasn’t long before the many Minch raids finally paid off as Corry, having earlier ripped the ball from a Dursley attacker, burst through for the converted try.

However, the Rams' 7-5 lead at the break hardly reflected the course of the first half.

Despite the ultra-reliable Laird in the line-out and some sterling work from stalwarts Maller and Evans, Dursley flourished in the second period while Minch seemed to go into their shells, compounded by an injury, leaving them depleted.

Replacements reinforced the hosts who brought their younger players into the game more, and their impressive No.8 burst through to score twice as Minch missed their tackles.

The visitors managed a few more attacks but the final ball didn’t go to hand and Dursley exploited overlaps to add two more scores. Despite the loss, Rams captain Beaumont hailed a commendable performance from the 14-man Rams against a strong Dursley squad.