Stand-in players appreciated and come up trumps
By Simon Foley
Match report from Tony "Scoop" Watkins, Photos from Pete Williams
Having been convincingly beaten on the away leg in November and now sitting level in the top third of the league, Yatton knew that this was going to be a difficult one against the young, buoyant team from Minehead.
Yatton faced up the pitch against a strong wind with a side containing five drafted in players and returns from injury. But Yatton’s patience in rucking worked them up the pitch and their reward game through Prop James Grimes Try when he charged down an attempted clearance kick in the dead ball area, after a 5 yard scrum. Mike Gane slotted the extras after 10 minutes of play.
Minehead immediately replied with a converted penalty and minutes later a cheeky kick over within their 22 was caught neatly by their winger, who ran the rest of the pitch unopposed. The conversion giving Minehead a lead of 7-10.
But at the end of the quarter Yatton were back in front ; Hooker Charlie Wemyss showing that his enforced absence had not dulled his burrowing abilities as he finished a ruck under the posts.
When Yatton’s attacking 5yard lineout had the ball ripped away, as they were setting the defending drive, and Minehead followed the resulting Try with another Chip Over Try and conversion before halftime, it looked like the game’s momentum had definitely swung towards the visitors who sat on a 14-22 lead at the turnaround.
Yatton struggled to take advantage of the reducing wind as drafted in Physio Nick Garnham showed he still had ‘the legs for it’ but it was Mike Gane’s superb conversion from far out which increased the intensity at 21-22 after Ed Ryder’s break through.
For nearly twenty minutes the midfield battle raged until a Minehead maul broke the deadlock with a Converted Try.
With ten minutes to go and an eight point deficit it seemed as if Yatton wouldn’t succeed but it was drafted in, and brought off the bench, Flanker Billy Mackay who emerged after grounding a driving maul and claiming Yatton Bonus Try point.
With the deficit reduced to 28-29 it was Ryder’s second Try of the afternoon in injury time and Ganes 100% kicking Conversion which gave the scratch team their deserved victory at 35-29.
Yatton - Tries James Grimes, Charlie Wemyss, Edd Ryder (2), Billy Mackay ; Cons Mike Gane (5).
Minehead – Tries No Name Given (4); Cons NNG (3); Pen (1)