MINEHEAD Barbarians got back to winning ways after two defeats on the trot when they beat St Bernadette’s Old Boys 22-3 at home in the Somerset Premier Division.
Saturday’s game was played in the teeth of Storm Bryan and driving wind and rain made it very difficult to produce flowing rugby.
The Barbarians started with the strong wind at their backs and spent most of the first period camped in the Bristol side’s half, but turning territorial dominance into points was difficult in the conditions.
Their first try came after a rare successful piece of back play had moved them near to the try-line at the top of the pitch.
A five-metre scrum saw Lewis drive for the line, and when he was stopped short, Richings was on hand to claim his first senior try. Full back Gower converted with a fine kick from wide out.
Minehead’s forwards were dominant, with Swann putting in his usual powerful performance and Lewis, Barrett and Willes prominent in the loose.
But on a number of occasions the team failed to make the best of their chances when close to the visitors’ line, with the wind affecting the accuracy of their passing.
Having missed these chances, the almost inevitable occurred when a foray toward the Barbarians’ line saw the visitors win an easy penalty and the three points cut the deficit to 7-3.
The Barbarians came storming back, battering at the Bernadette’s line, and Ryan Lewis forced his way over to score an unconverted try with the last play of the half.
Playing into the storm after the break, Minehead knew they had to control the game as any mistake could see them lose a lot of territory, and showing great discipline, they totally closed down the Bristolians when they had the ball, giving them no time to create anything of quality.
Skipper Ben Willes seemed to be winning every line-out and his forwards drove mauls deep through their opponents defence.
The leadership shown by Willes in this period was outstanding, steadying his troops and leading the defensive line as the rain lashed down.
To ensure the team stayed fresh, Roberts came on in the front row for Howe and Richards for Bullard and Lynch for Pound.
With plenty of possession, Minehead looked likely to score despite the wind, and when Swann took the ball on the burst, he was unstoppable from short range, putting them 17-3 ahead.
Their final try was similar, with the forwards driving hard at the line and, as they drew in the defenders, Pring ducked through and scored.
While the play in the first half lacked some calmness, the team showed discipline in the second and gained a deserved bonus point with their fourth try.
The A P Farmer man of the match was Joe Barrett for fine loose play and line-out throwing.
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