3 years ago
By Simon Whittemore
Minch RFC and Mike Tindall do President and founder proud
Sunday 22nd March was a memorable occasion for Minchinhampton Rugby Club, as the 1sts contested the annual Iain Cuthbert Memorial Cup with the President’s XV. Iain Cuthbert was a founding member of Minchinhampton RFC and had a key role in the formation of the club. In the early 1980s, Iain enlisted the President of the RFU at the time, Minchinhampton resident JV Smith, to be the club’s first President and give Minch some much needed impetus in the early years. The Club has come a long way since then, but would not be here today without the likes of Iain. On Sunday at Holly Bush, Iain’s son Alan presented the Cup to both captains as the spoils were shared in an honourable draw.
Clive Eagles led the President’s XV, and the team certainly did recently departed President Graham Gregory proud - especially his son Daniel, who put in some sterling work in defence in a second half cameo. It was fitting that Laura Gregory, Graham’s daughter, hosted the barbeque and pitch-side refreshments. Happily the sun shined on the whole occasion, which drew a fair crowd of spectators. Many of the President’s players were old Minch regulars who had moved away and travelled some distance to play. Others were more local, such as the trio of Evanses: Dave, Mike and George, and of course Mike Tindall, whom the Presidents were delighted to have in their ranks.
It was a robust encounter, which gathered intensity as the game progressed. Minch struck the first blow, going ahead with a try by Ben Jones, converted by Jake Muskett. The President’s XV, resplendent in pink, began to enjoy some powerful forwards surges through Burfoot, Atkins, Fisher and Jonah, with scrum-half Mike Tindall and Eagles at 10 directing matters with authority. Alex Corry soon levelled the scores, much to the delight of his dad, John-Paul, who was playing on the wing. Substitutions for both sides were free-flowing throughout the game, as was the rugby. The President’s team made a number of fine breaks, often with Tindall at the heart of it, but determined covering by Minch and passes not quite going to hand prevented further scores. Despite some good running from Minch, through Humberstone, Muskett and Stu Allen, they could add to their score, with Jamie Burke making a memorable try-saving tackle. Stuart Campbell, a regular in Minch colours for many years, made his presence felt in the centre for the Presidents and soon marked his return with fine try, converted by Tindall. Brendan Lewis, who made several incisive breaks, also went over, leaving the Presidents in the lead at half-time.
Minch upped their game in the second-half with Sparkhall, Allen, Goulding and Hiatt showing strongly and Kimber a constant threat at no 8. The much-changed Presidents were forced to defend for long periods, with the returning Jim Oatley and Mike Lewis putting in some valuable tackles, as did Mike Lee in the centre and Simon Whittemore on the wing. Another break by Tindall was well supported by his teammates, and Whittemore was on hand to take his unselfish pass and score the try. However, the Minch forwards were playing with impressive cohesion and power, showing why they won promotion this season. They were also running some good angles at pace, and it wasn’t long before Stu Allen glided over, swiftly followed by a try from Tom Bradshaw which made for a tight finish to what had been an excellent game. In the dying minutes, some further determined raids by Minch brought them the final try, through the hardworking and hard-running Goulding, and it seemed, the win. But Tindall spotted a scoring error by the referee and after careful counting, it was confirmed that honours were in fact even: a fitting outcome on a splendid day for Minch RFC.