Minety coach Andy Grayson was pleased to see his patched-up side grab a bonus point, as they lost out at Melksham, writes Graham Cooke.

Ordinarily a 20-15 point defeat would not be viewed as a positive, but Grayson was relieved to gain a point, with seven of the 18 man squad having not played first team rugby this season. 

Minety took the lead in the tenth minute from a Garin Garland penalty and he extended the lead three minutes later with another well taken penalty.

They continued to pressurise the Melksham defence and almost scored a try but were held-up on the line, before Garland kicked his third penalty.

The village side held out until the 34th minute when a fluent move saw Melksham’s winger cross for the game’s first try.

Garland’s injury time penalty saw Minety enter the half time break 12-5 up.

Melksham started the second half strongly and their efforts were rewarded with a try in the 42nd minute.  A cross field move and a deft cut back by their hooker opened up the visitors’ defence for the second try.

When flanker, Gareth Peirce was injured, Club President Andy Ward, one of three veterans making up the Minety bench with a combined age of 164, was forced into action.

With Garland, prop Mark Glew and hard charging Andrew Hibbard making inroads down the middle, Minety provided a sharp attacking threat but were held-up just short of the line again on the hour mark.

But after Minety’s influential captain Tom Claxton was forced off through injury and Melksham were awarded a try and their fourth came in the 73rd minute. Minety hung in there and when Garland slotted his fifth penalty, the result was still in the balance.

Minety pushed for the win to no avail but the losing bonus point keeps them in with a slim chance of a top four finish.

Coach Andy Grayson said: “They ought to be proud of what they did over the course of 80 minutes; I know I am.  We had so many players new to the squad with others playing out of position but they gave their all and you can’t ask more than that.  

"The game plan worked well in the first half but we tired in the second and allowed them to come back into the match.  Even so, with a couple of breaks going our way, we could have won it.

“We now have three matches to go and need wins in all of them.”