Looking like they had been inspired by England’s rampant performance against the All Blacks in the morning, the Amber and Blues came away comprehensive winners by 3-33.
Warminster welcomed back skipper Steve Rowbotham into the starting lineup along with the McIntyre brothers Jack and Dan in the centres and Reid Curtis at number 8.
And it was Curtis who set the tone for the match straight from the kick off when he charged forward 25 metres finally being bought down on the halfway line. The Amber and Blues hit the rucks hard in the early stages and Benger were being knocked back in the contact by powerful running. Warminster got the try their pressure deserved when Curtis crashed over out wide. Fly Half Ni Butler added a superb conversion in the horrendous conditions. If Sutton Benger didn’t think the Amber and Blues were a physical side beforehand which had been rumoured during a pre season game with Westbury, then they probably needed to have some second thoughts.
With the conditions as they were there were plenty of scrums and it was Warminster who were dominating the set piece pushing there counter parts backwards and making life difficult for the Benger number 8 and scrum half at the base of the scrum. In the loose the assured Butler was controlling his forwards well and varying the point of attack with his pods of forwards. It was Butler himself that was unlucky not to get Warminster’s second try after spotting a gap in behind the defence with a measured grubber kick. Chasing through Butler was taken out late and a penalty awarded along with a yellow card for the offender. Had there been a TMO there would’ve been an argument for a penalty try.
No to be deterred the Amber and Blues got the second try through prop Dan Woods after a well executed catch and drive from a lineout. This time Butler couldn’t add the extra’s as Warminster now lead by 0-12.
For the last 10 minutes of the half Benger came back into the game gaining territory and possession as the Amber and Blues gave away a couple of cheap penalties allowing the home side field position. Matters were made worse when one penalty too many resulted in Rowbotham being sent to the sin bin for a 10 minute rest. With the one man advantage Benger looked to press the Warminster line but were met with a defence that was in no mood to concede points. Eventually another penalty was awarded from which the home side decided to take the three points on offer. A moral victory for the 14 men Amber and Blues.
Warminster dealt a further blow to Benger by scoring their third try on the stroke of half time. From a scrum in the centre of the pitch, Butler fed Jack McIntyre who used his pace and power to ghost through the home side defence and under the posts. With Butler nursing a sore knee, Gavin Kaminsky-Pratt took over the kicking duties and slotted the simple conversion. Warminster led 3-19 at half time.
In the second half Warminster continued to use their powerful runners to good effect. Woods was prominent in the charge forward carrying time after time and making yards for the cause. The Amber and Blues secured the four try bonus point with a penalty try. Having a secured a ruck just outside the Benger twenty two, Kaminsky-Pratt received a shout from Curtis that there was space in behind the defence. The scrum half dinked a box kick in behind. Curtis was winning the race to the ball when he was taken out off the ball. The referee deemed a try would’ve been scored and awarded the penalty try.
Much of the second half was littered with scrums as they weather became increasingly colder and players were unable to keep hold of the ball in contact. The Amber and Blues did manage to add a fifth try through centre Dan McIntyre. Not to be outdone by his younger brother, McIntyre went on a mazy run breaking through tackles and dived over the line. Kaminsky-Pratt again added the conversion to give Warminster a commanding lead by 3-33, and that was how the game ended.
This was a superb performance by the Amber and Blues and probably the best of the season so far against a side that before this game had only been defeated once in the league this season. It was not a day for throwing the ball wide and Warminster adapted to the conditions with confidence using coach Danny Webb’s structure to good effect. There were some good performances all round with Butler marshalling the play well at fly half and Curtis at number 8 putting a typically powerful display. However it was prop Dan Woods who was awarded Man of the Match for his constant carrying around the fringes of the ruck.
Warminster will look to build further on this victory when they host Minety at home next week in the quarter final of the cup.