1st XV make it 5 from 5 in 2019
By Jimmy Rees
Warminster take the spoils in derby game.
The amber and blues travelled the short distance to Trowbridge RFC on Saturday. Throughout the Warminster squad there were no less than 12 injuries and many more unavailable which led to the 2nd XV game having to be called off.
The 1st XV fielded a strong and experienced albeit young team for the derby game. The rewards of trusting in youth has been paying off this season as some of the Warminster players aged 22 have already seen 4 years of 1st team experience. The amber and blues derby battle against Trowbridge wasn’t a big enough fixture to knock the Bath U18 vs London Irish U18s game off the main pitch. However this didn’t hamper the quality of the game, the poor weather was on hand to deal with that. With the rain and wind setting in it was a pleasant surprise to see both team playing rugby with ball in hand. The likes of winger Ross Williams and Centre Dan McIntyre were used well in the opening exchanges with fly half Jason Sprangle getting the ball out well to his backs. The first score went to Warminster, when a good backs move saw the ball reach Williams that was able to dive over in the corner to score. Trowbridge would hit back next with a good break in the midfield. Both conversions were missed to leave the score 5-5. The next passages of play were with strong battering carries from the forward packs of both teams, Reid Curtis, Dom Davey and Dan Bowman were all used well to rumble through the Trowbridge defence. Curtis efforts were rewarded when he scored the second try, which was converted from fly half Sprangle, the third try came soon after when Davey crashed over. The extras were missed. The bonus point try was sealed before half time when Williams crossed for his second of the game. Trowbridge were able to sneak one back before half time after they crossed from short distance with a powerful drive.
The second half was welcome by more miserable weather and the battle continued. Trowbridge added another score to bring the game back to 17-22. And then added a penalty to bring it 20-22. Warminster would respond through centre Lai Vinakadina, when he broke the line and trampled over the startled fullback to score. This game Warminster a little breathing space 20-27. But it was the last 20 minutes that provided the drama, Lai was shown a yellow card for an ‘aggressive tackle’ from the resulting penalty Bowman was rightly shown a yellow card for a high tackle which you would associate with WWE Wrestling move. Trowbridge continued the pressure and eventually found they’re way through the 13 man defence. The conversion would bring the scores level, but the pressure took its toll and the Trowbridge kicker missed narrowly. However, It looked like the tide had turn and with no more than a few minutes left and 2 men down it seemed that Trowbridge would go on to win the game. Credit to the amber and blues who stuck to it and the defence in the closing moments was fantastic, and in the final moments of the game, McIntyre was able to strip the ball from the opposition 20 metres out, with the adrenaline pumping the centre decided on using his strength and pace to go to the line, by doing so keeping the game alive, he smashed through a tackle before drawing the last man and creating an 2 on 1 overlap, he committed his man and passed the ball to winger Kieron Plummer who only had green muddy grass in front of him, Plummer fumbled the ball and Trowbridge were able to recover with 80+ minutes on the clock began their final onslaught for the Warminster line, throwing everything at the defence. Warminster stood strong, but with men short Trowbridge spotting gaps in the back field elected to chip it in behind the defence. Full back Dan Harris was able cover and regain the ball, and followed the instructions from all the Warminster support to boot the ball out of the play to prompt the final whistle.
All in all Warminster will be content with their bonus point win, but were left annoyed that they got themselves into a tense situation at the end. A very good first half display was forgotten about after letting the hosts get back in. Positives from the game was the never die or give up attitude from the defence which stand in skipper Alex Jenkins led with several tackles. Great performances from Curtis, Ollie Pinnell and Davey in the back row saw Warminster dominate at the breakdowns. The scrum was particularly strong which was pleasing. Club captain Rees commented ‘it was great to see the reliance of the boys, last season we would of lost that game and crumbled in the last 20 under that pressure. The boys dug in and dealt with it fantastically’ the win makes it 5 out of 5 for 2019 and keeps us in 3rd position in the league. This Saturday the 1st XV host 2nd place Avonvale in which promises to be another battle. Writes Jimmy Rees.