Dorset and Wilts Div One North

Melksham 26

Minety 7

MINETY missed the chance to grab fifth place in the Dorset and Wilts Division One North when they lost to a strong and well organised Melksham 26-7 at the hosts' impressive new ground, writes Graham Cooke.

After their convincing win over Supermarine the previous weekend, Andrew Hibbard’s team went into the fixture with the chance of leap-frogging Pewsey Vale but came away well beaten in a dour affair.

Minety enjoyed most of the early play, fly half Tom McAllister using the blustery cross wind to good effect. Opting to play almost exclusively in the forwards, Minety controlled proceedings.

Melksham took the lead following a superb six-man move along the line that took play from their own 22 right up to the Minety line. Although the visitors managed a partial clearance, Melksham’s outside centre ran a fine diagonal line to score wide on the right wing. The conversion was successful and Melksham led 7-0.

With centre Dave Church and captain Hibbard making ground down the centre, Minety fought back but too often players were isolated in the tackle and quality ball was squandered.

Melksham’s second try, in the 15th minute, came about when McAllister was forced into a hasty clearance after messy ball from a scrum close to Minety’s line. The Melksham backs ran the ball and their full back cut through Minety’s defences to score under the posts.

Minety’s best chance of the half came from a Hibbard break but despite spending five minutes camped on the Melksham line, the village team were unable to score.

Del Murray replaced the injured David O’Took after 30 minutes as the game became mired in midfield. When Murray was yellow-carded for a high tackle in first-half stoppage time Minety were forced to play with 14 men for 10 minutes.

Melksham dominated the opening plays of the second half, Minety’s chances being further hampered by the loss of the hard-charging Church with an ankle injury.

Flanker Josh Bull was held up over the Melksham line in the 60th minute but despite more goal line pressure the home defence held firm.

Melksham’s third try came after a Minety counter attack floundered in midfield and the ball inextricably found its way into the hands of Melksham’s left wing, who ran in to score under the posts from 22 metres.

The fourth, and bonus point-winning try came just two minutes later, in the 69th minute. A superb cut back by Melksham’s No. 13 split the Minety defence and a well-timed offload allowed the full back to run in for a try from 40 metres out.

Minety’s try in the final move of the game was deserved reward for all their efforts. Hibbard broke through on the left and a short pass to prop Will North saw the latter score close to the posts. McAllister converted the try to leave the final score 26-7 to Melksham.