Minehead Barbarians pipped by Bristol rivals

By Aaron Kendall   |   Assistant Editor   |
Friday 30th September 2016 8:54 am
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Minehead Barbarians 1st XV?line up before Saturday’s match with sponsors Tina and Phillip Farmer of A & P Farmer Tree Surgery and Fencing

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SATURDAY’S top of the table clash in Somerset Division One saw Minehead Barbarians lose 17-7 to their Bristol namesakes, with the scoreline not truly reflecting how close the game was.

Minehead won the toss and played down the slope in the first half, setting a high tempo in good conditions and moving the big Bristol pack around the pitch.

But they almost fell behind when the opposition no 10 found a gap in their usually reliable defence and nearly completed a 40 metre dash, only being held up short by a great cover tackle by Tom Ninnes.

Composing themselves, Minehead were awarded a scrum from a knock on and managed to clear their lines through Kyle Lewis.

Fly half Ross Bradley hit Sam Lewis and Ninnes slightly wider than normal as they looked to move outside the opposition fly half, and Richard Henson in support found a gap to run 30 metres deep into the opposition 22, but he was short of support and unable to find a teammate to complete the move and get points on the board, which at that stage Minehead deserved.

Minehead ran the phases and built up a lot of pressure, with the front row of Dave Swann, Joe Barrett and James Baker making several promising runs, but they were still unable to come away with any points.

The first half was very even, with neither side making many mistakes, but on the stroke of half-time the Bristol fly-half again showed his skill and found a gap in the Minehead line to race in under the posts from 15 metres out. He also converted to make the half time score 7-0.

The second half saw Minehead with a hard shift ahead of them working up the hill.

Bristol kept the ball short for the rest of the game and played direct rugby five metres either side of the ruck, using their dominant pack which Minehead did well to contain.

The visitors knew that the only way they could win the game was to keep the ball and they did just that, making small yards but always moving forward.

Lee Owen, making his first appearance this season for the 1st XV ,was active all afternoon and put second row James Cox into space on the wing for him to make 20 metres and put Minehead back on the front foot.

Ill-discipline crept into the Bristol side and the referee sent their flanker to the bin for slowing the ball for a second time when Minehead were on the verge of scoring.

Minehead decided to take a scrum from the penalty and although doing all the hard work and making it to the try line, a knock on at a crucial moment handed possession back to the visitors.

They kept their cool and the pack drove Bristols off the ball to win it back, and a series of backs moves led to James Cox picking from the base of the ruck to maul the ball over the line and under the posts, and Ninnes’ conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.

In the last 15 minutes the game could have gone either way, with both sides showing their tiredness from such a physical encounter.

Play moved from end to end but neither side could get over the whitewash until the visitors’ fly-half slotted a penalty to add three points and put his side 10-7 ahead.

Minehead pressed hard to get back into the game but maybe pushed too hard and mistakes stared to creep in.

Bristol had the final say when their experienced no 8 picked from the back of a scrum 15 metres out to go over with a powerful run and cement his team’s win and keep them top of the table.

Tom Ninnes was awarded the A and P Farmer man of the match for a solid all round display.

l The defeat means Minehead slipped to third in the table with an away trip to Keynsham tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 3pm.

Team selection: D Swann, J Barrett, R Parsons, B Willes, L Parker, J Cox, L Owen, R Lewis, T Bishop/C Beaver, R Bradley, T Lamacraft, T Ninnes, S Lewis, D Westcott, K Lewis, replacements R Henson, G Richards, J Parker.

The 2nd XV are at home to Martock and the Under 18s are at home to Frampton Cotterill, both kick-offs 3pm.

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