Painswick dogs out win against “auld enemy” Minchinhampton

Painswick managed to stay just inches above the relegation zone with a well-deserved and hard fought win against local rivals Minchinhampton this week at home at Broadham Fields watched by a big crown of partisan supporters.


After a slow start with both sides cancelling out each other, the contest became a clear one, between Minch’s tough scrummaging, and the wider back play that Painswick threatened all day long, but which misfired throughout the first half.


In the end, the deadlock was broken by some quick thinking by man of the match Oli Hall, at scrum half for Painswick, who halfway through the first half took a quick tap penalty and ran at the heart of the Minch defence.  Just as he slid between the last two players, both of them got hands on him, and he flipped the ball one handed to winger Paul Jones, to scuttle over in the left corner for a 5 – 0 lead.


Painswick then proceeded to butcher chance after chance, with centre Jake Saunders cursing the cold and his numb hands, as he picked great lines running off centre Oz Gidley and fly half Craig Mayo, only to spill the ball on 3 separate occasions, when clean line breaks were on.


Minchinhampton played to their strengths, with a game based on tackling, hard scrummaging and the odd turn-over, but no real wide game to speak off. It seemed inevitable when Minch finally got into the Painswick half that they would try for the pushover, and instead, after the referee awarded 3 scrummaging penalties, took the lead with a penalty try, 5 -7.


After half time these themes continued to play out, with Painswick conceding the ball to Minchinhampton for large parts of the game, and living off scraps, but with some determined running, keeping the ball as far away from the Painswick try line, so there was no chance of a repeat. It was Painswick who broke the deadlock when Hall went through a gaping hole on halfway around the base of a ruck and went within 5 meters of the Minchinhampton line. After he was pulled down Minch infringed at the ruck and Hall took an instant tap penalty, stepped around one man and reached the line with one arm at full stretch and a 12-7 lead.


For the next 20 minutes Minchinhampton again had 80% of the ball, and if not for the 5 lineout turnovers from Painswick’s towering line-out jumper Callum Abbot, would probably have taken the lead and put the game out of sight. And yet Minchinhampton, whenever they were awarded a penalty kept kicking for a lineout that common sense told them they would lose.


However, the inevitable happened 5 minutes from time when Minchinhampton got close the Painswick red zone, and did what they do best. After an immense series of scrums, when the Painswick front 5 held the line like their lives depended upon it, the referee decided that a wheeling scrum was due to a Painswick infringement and once again reached for his whistle to award a second penalty try.


But Painswick, famous in past years for its dog-like never say die attitude, chased the kick-off and isolated the full back in possession, creating a turnover, and a Painswick scrum put in.


This was one scrum that Painswick had to win, and Minchinhampton were left grasping at straws when replacement Steve Andrews came into the line from left wing on a switch with fly half Mayo, sliding behind the Minch defensive line and then racing all the way to the line and under the posts for a famous 19-14 win.


The win was sweet revenge for an earlier away defeat at Minch, and now means that Painswick has three wins under its belt and has started to open up a gap between them and the two teams beneath them at the bottom of the Gloucester League II. They are not quite out of relegation trouble yet, but it was a step in the right direction.