Family spirit in evidence in proud display comes up short
By Steve Bird
Avon travelled to Minehead with a much changed side due to injury and unavailability and could not do enough to bring back the points although putting up a creditable performance.
A well-drilled Minehead side were 2 tries up after just 7 mins and looked like they would run up a cricket score early on. However Avon slowly regrouped and, for the majority of the rest of the first half, had the upper hand as Ian Burnell and Josh Harding-Wyatt started to make inroads into the home defence. Meanwhile, the visitors also surprisingly had the edge at scrum time against a large Minehead pack and, following a series of scrums on the line, Avon were eventually awarded a penalty try to give them their first points.
Avon looked like they would be going in at half time just 10-7 down with the advantage to follow of the wind on their backs in the second half. With some of the large Minehead crowd starting to get a little concerned just before the break, they managed to work themselves upfield and extend their lead with a well worked converted try. Minehead then added an early second half penalty to stretch the lead and relax the crowd.
Avon Skipper scott book was extending the meaning of utility player as the regular back row forward played in the unfamiliar role of fly half, whilst also having a spell at scrum half, as well as popping up in the lineout when needed.
Despite the makeshift nature of their side, the visitors were still causing Minehead problems and picked up a second try when second row Ben Hurd crashed over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 20-12 . Avon gave a debut to impressive winger William Monochino-Ayres who made his first start alongside his father and club chairman Ian, who performed admirably in the second row. With 4 Books, 2 Monochino-Ayres and 2 Mutlows in the squad, it really was one of those days when the phrase the Avon family was undeniable.
Minehead deserved their win and picked up their bonus point try with 15 mins left but could not crack a determined Avon defence again, leaving the game to finish with a 27-12 home win.
Coach Kai Harwood, who was at his inventive best when it came to the game plan and the way he managed his resources, was disappointed with the result but very proud of the efforts of his makeshift team. This coming Saturday, Avon put their unbeaten home record on the line against unbeaten league leaders Wiveliscombe and will be hoping for the return of a number of key players from the injury list.