Minety halted their run of two straight defeats on Saturday with a convincing win at Calne in Dorset and Wilts Division One writes Graham Cooke.

Under leaden skies and with a bitterly cold wind driving across the pitch, Coach Andy Grayson was able to field a much more balanced team than the one which lost to Avonvale last week.

In club captain Tom Claxton’s extended absence through injury, Andrew Hibbard led the side, opting to use the wind at their backs in the first half against a Calne team, significantly bigger and heavier than the village team.

The home team dominated the opening exchanges with Minety’s scrum being put under extreme pressure at the set piece. Front rowers Steve Wilson, Mark Glew and the returning Matt Park found themselves in a real battle while second rowers Ben Scott and Ben Collins tackled and rucked aggressively to keep the Calne forwards at bay.

Against the run of play, Minety took the lead when fly half Jack Ward kicked a 30 metre penalty after a Calne offence at a ruck.

Minety were reduced to 14 men soon after when Ward was yellow carded for a high tackle, Coach Andy Grayson moved wingerDave Cooke moved into fly half as cover.

Calne used their numerical and size advantage to good effect and pressurised the Minety line but full-back Duncan Simpson and his defence kept wave after wave of attacks out.

Minety extended their lead in the 23rd minute. A break down the middle by Hibbard was taken on by Mark Glew and flanker Kieran Tillotsen. From the ruck, Cooke broke the line, fed Glew and his beautifully timed offload allowed pacy centre Jack Howse through and a side step around the covering full back allowed Howse to touch beneath the posts. Scrum half Sam Hughes kicked the conversion.

When Calne’s hooker was yellow carded for an offence in the ruck, Ward struck a beautiful 40 metre penalty to extend their lead to 13-0.

Minety always looked dangerous when the ball was played along the back line and they were only denied a second try when a Calne player deliberately knocked the ball on with the line beckoning.

After Hughes and Hibbard had been held up agonisingly close to the line, Ward finished a move in the 37th minute, adding the conversion and putting Minety into a comfortable 20-0 lead.

Deep in first half stoppage time, Calne struck back. After an extended period of forward domination Their first try was scored after a jinking run by their fly half close to the posts.

Minety’s 14 point advantage was halved in the first move of the second half. Calne manoeuvred the ball down field straight from the kick off and one of the forward touched down for a try near the corner flag. In the blustery conditions, the successful conversion kick from the touch line was outstanding, and Calne were back in the game, trailing by just six points.

Minety re-grouped and Simpson’s incursions into the line continued to cause problems for the home defence. Minety pushed forward, Hughes and Ward were both stopped close to the line but the home defence could do nothing to prevent Tillotsen from scoring his first try for Minety in the 49th minute.

Ward’s conversion was successful and Minety led 27-14.

Calne struck back in the 63rd minute after a throw in to the front of the line set up a maul and then a ruck on the Minety line.

In the gathering gloom, Minety set about securing the game and scoring a fourth, bonus point winning try.

After soaking up more Calne pressure, A superb Hibbard catch and run up field was taken on by Hughes and Howse. From the ruck Hughes passed to Cooke who offloaded to Glew who ran in for the fourth try beneath the posts. Hughes’ conversion secured the victory for Minety but there was still time in added time for a richly deserved try for Hibbard after a tap penalty near the line by Hughes.

The win secured a bonus points for Minety and keeps them in sixth place in the division on 21 points.

Coach Grayson was pleased with the result. He said: “It wasn’t a great match to watch but I felt we coped well with their size and aggression.”