MINEHEAD’S difficult season in Somerset Division One came to end on Saturday with a 26-8 defeat at home to Oldfield Old Boys.
They were dealt a blow before the start when their selection at number 10 was injured in the warm-up, forcing a major reshuffle with Stewart Ford deputising in an unaccustomed position and a replacement playing from the start.
But determined to play an open game, the Barbarians made a bright start and following a good build-up won a penalty which was slotted over for a 3-0 lead.
Better was to come as, despite having a man carded, enterprising play from their three-quarters gave Adam Twine the opportunity to finish strongly for his first senior try. The kick failed, leaving Minehead 8-0 ahead.
Their pack were not under any pressure, but Oldfield showed that they had good backs who were enjoying the open nature of the game, and it took a great Chris James tackle to prevent them opening their account.
Richard Henson took a knock and was replaced by Johan van Wyk, who has proved a valuable addition to the squad in recent weeks.
As the match went into the second quarter, the Oldfield centres combined well to split the home defence and cross for a well converted try.
And with half-time approaching, a promising Minehead attack broke down when a vital pass did not go to hand and Oldfield were able to surge away and add a converted try to lead for the first time at 14-8.
Minehead needed a good start to the second half but the visitors went further ahead when their excellent kicker again added the extras after his side had gained vital ground from a touchline penalty to recycle and cross on the right.
Minehead were by no means out of it and they continued to play some enterprising rugby, with Leigh Parker and Joe Barrett carrying well.
But they couldn’t make the vital breakthrough and in the last minute of normal time, Oldfield seized on a loose ball and went over to seal a deserved 26-8 win.
Despite finishing bottom of the table with only three wins, the Barbarians have never thrown in the towel, with the old guard battling away and sufficient from the promising young talent suggesting that if they stick together and train well in the summer they should gel and regain their confidence in the less pressurised atmosphere of Somerset Division One with the aim of bounce back at the first attempt.
The club are seeking a qualified coach and enquiries from interested parties would be welcome.
Minehead Barbarians: C James, A Twine, W Wilcox, R Nunn (capt), R Maddock, S Ford, J Parker, D Swann, J Barrett, R Parsons, L Parker, B Willes, L Owen, R Henso,n J van Wyk, C Wear.
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