MINEHEAD Barbarians made it two wins out of three in Somerset Division One with a convincing 55-0 success at Wyvern on Saturday.
Playing on a first-class pitch in near perfect conditions, they knew the previous week’s victory against Chew Valley was an improvement on their iopening match defeat and that there was more to come.
The first quarter was evenly matched with Wyvern defending well and keeping up with the fast tempo set by the Barbarians.
Minehead had the majority of the possession but Wyvern defended bravely, managing to keep Minehead at bay or forcing a mistake in the final passages of play.
Ryan Lewis, along with Joe Barrett and Leigh Parker, began to break down the resistance with some commanding runs deep into the home side’s 22, and it was Barrett who set up the first try.
Coming from a 22 lineout, Josh Parker went down the blindside at second phase and sucked in the defence, Barrett took a short ball close to the ruck and beat the first defender then found fly half Ross Bradley in support and he had a clear run in under the posts. Tom Ninnes converted.
With Minehead winning their own lineout with Willes effective all afternoon, Bradley used centres Wilcox and Ninnes to punch holes, and when Dave Swann saw a gap after several phases of play, he picked from the base of the ruck and used his strength and size to get over the line. Ninnes again converted to make it 14 -0.
Heading towards half-time, Wyvern began to tire and Bishop was next to score - the first of four tries for him.
The try came from good inter-play between the back three, with Tom Lamacraft, Tom Bishop and Kyle Lewis all linking up to put Bishop in with one of his trademark hand offs to go round his man and score.
There was one more score before the break when Barrett again featured with a turnover just ten metres from the Minehead try line, kicking the ball downfield then collecting and putting Ninnes in without a challenge. Ninnes also added the conversion for a 26-0 lead.
Minehead went into the second half knowing they had to put in another 40 minutes of hard work, and they did just that.
Lee Parker, James Baker, Harry Simms and Greg Richards took the lead in moving play forward, making several probing runs against the tiring Wyvern pack.
When a clever kick by Bradley deep into Wyvern’s try line area forced their full back to carry out over the deadball line, the resulting five-metre scrum saw no way forward for the pack, so the ball was shipped to Wilcox in the centres who made good ground, and quick hands through the backs found Bishop on the wing and he went over for his second try.
With both sides now tiring in the heat, Wyvern rang the changes with several substitutions, and Minehead replaced Ryan Lewis with Richard Henson after an impressive 60 minutes, and Kyle Roberts came on for Barrett, who also produced an impressive display.
The Minehead pack continued to press forward, making yards every time they carried the ball, and Henson, only on the park for five minutes, was next over the line for the sixth try, and Ninnes conversion made it 38-0.
The final ten minutes were all Minehead, with everyone working hard and hungry to keep the points coming.
Bishop picked up two further tries out wide and Lamacraft scored under the posts with some fine footwork to finish off the game. One further conversion from Ninnes made the final score 55-0, earning maximum points.
Minehead showed good structure in defence and will be pleased with the blank scoresheet.
There were fine performances from several players, but Leigh Parker was picked as the A and P Farmer man of the match for his tireless workrate and strong running.
l Tomorrow (Saturday), second-placed Minehead are at home to Bristol Barbarians, who sit on the top of the table with three wins from three. Kick-off is 3pm.
Team to play: Dave Swann, Joe Barrett, James Baker, Ben Willes, Leigh Parker, James Cox, Harry Simms, Richard Henson, Josh Parker, Ross Bradley, Tom Bishop, Tom Ninnes, Sam Lewis, Tom Lamacraft, Kyle Lewis, replacements Callum Beaver, Kyle Roberts, Greg Richards.
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