Minety started their vital end of the season run-in with a fine victory at Dorset and Wilts Division One rivals Chippenham on Saturday.

With three of the top five teams in the league still to play, seventh placed Minety knew that a win was necessary over ninth placed Chippenham to keep up the pressure on the top six.

Playing with the blustery wind at their backs, Minety opened the scoring with their first attack. Scrum half Mark Glew fed fly half Sam Hughes from a scrummage 35 metres out. Hughes dummied a pass and then cut through the Chippenham defence, out pacing the full back to score a superb individual try close to the posts. The conversion struck the post but deflected through and Minety were 7-0 up.

Minety’s pack were completely dominant at set pieces, driving Chippenham back and setting up plays for the elusive backs. A new Minety centre partnership of Jack Howse and debutant Sam Trinder counter attacked at will and were soon causing the Chippenham defence problems as the home side tried to break out of their own half.

With second row Ben Scott and No.8 Andrew Hibbard winning lineouts, Minety were able to exploit the conditions and seldom did Chippenham make any significant inroads into the Minety half in the first quarter of the match.

Minety increased their lead in the 20th minute after another dominant scrum. Hughes fed Howse who cut through the Chippenham defence to score out on the left. The conversion sailed narrowly wide but Minety were 12-0 up and looking comfortable.

Minety lost their influential captain Tom Claxton soon after, clearly feeling the effects of a recent injury, and gave a second appearance of the season to Matt Park who took over as hooker.

Scrum half Glew set up Minety’s third try in the 34th minute with a fine break in midfield. The ball was recycled to Hughes who passed to Howse on the 30 metres out. The centre burst forward, chipped the defence and ran in to touch down for another eye-catching try. Hughes’s conversion from the touchline was inch perfect and Minety extended their lead to 19 points. A Hughes penalty with half time beckoning put Minety 22-0 up.

With the referee playing stoppage time, Chippenham got themselves on the scoresheet. After an attack down the right seemed to have been snuffed out the ball broke to their pacey winger who ran in a fine solo effort from 60 metres out but in the final play of the half Glew fed Hughes from a scrum, the fly half sliced through the defence before offloading to Rule who crossed for Minety’s fourth, and bonus point winning try and a half time lead of 27-5.

With the benefit of the wind at their backs, Chippenham started the second half strongly but seldom looked like breaching the Minety defence.

When Trinder picked up a knock, he was replaced by Morgan Aubrey, the flanker still carrying a back injury from a previous match.

Another brilliant solo break from Hughes released the pressure and after a fine set of forwards’ moves, Hughes fed Howse who side stepped his way through the defence for his hat-trick try. Hughes slotted the conversion and Minety enjoyed a commanding 34-5 lead but the fly half had picked up a leg injury in the move and was forced off.

While Minety were re-organising their back line, Chippenham took advantage and scored their second try of the match in the 69th minute. The conversion was successful.

Shortly after Howse was unlucky not to score a fourth try as he chased a loose ball near the home line.

As the game entered stoppage time, Chippenham scored their third try moving the ball quickly from left to right to touch down near the posts. The kick was successful and the lead down to 34-19.

There was still time for Minety to launch one last attack. Driven forward by Glew and Rule, the forwards took up the charge, Smith, Hibbard and Aubrey pushed Chippenham deep into their own 22.

Another huge scrummage saw Hibbard burst for the line but when he was tackled, second row Ben Collins was on hand to collect the pass and score his third try of the season to end the scoring.

Coach Andy Grayson was full of praise for his team at the end. “That was a good old, hard fought win for us based upon a domination of the scrum and the lineout. There were great performances all round the pitch and I must congratulate Sam Trinder and Matt Park for their efforts. It’s hard not to give someone who scores a hat trick man of the match, and Jack Howse was excellent, but my Man of the Match goes to Sam Hughes, who ran the game for us.”