THE pre-Christmas derby between Calne and Sutton Benger in Dorset & Wilts One North ended in a 17-17 draw.

In a game played in driving wind and rain, it was away side Benger who were first to strike, shipping the ball wide to Ollie Waddington, who finished well in the corner.

Benger’s lead was short-lived as Calne were awarded a penalty 40m out, which was soon to be 10m when the visitors were marched back for disagreeing with the referee.

Calne, who dominated Benger in the scrum throughout the 80 minutes, opted for a set-piece and were awarded a penalty try after the Sutton defence were judged offside.

This commenced a spell of dominance for Calne, with Benger unable to regain their composure, but the hosts failed to come away with any points after missing a penalty.

Benger found their groove again before the interval and broke through to score after a strong run from George Dent. Although the conversion was again missed, the visitors went into half-time 10-7 up.

Calne got the first points on the board in the second half via a penalty to level the scores.

The home side them pushed clear when they broke off the back of the scrum to clatter over the line, with the conversion putting Calne 17-10 up.

Benger were able to find a response when Ken Groom crashed through with a strong run to score a converted try and level things up once more.

As the game moved into its final 10 minutes, Benger looked the more likely to score, but they could find no way through and it ended honours even.

Elsewhere, Minety slipped to a fourth straight defeat as they were beaten 17-7 away at Pewsey Vale.

Pewsey started promisingly and their large pack were soon driving Minety back into their own 22 and two early attacks were only halted by last-minute tackles.

As Minety tried to organise their defence, Pewsey opened the scoring with a try from Nathan Damper off the back of a driving maul, although the conversion was missed.

Often caught out by the slippery conditions underfoot and the wet ball, Minety’s backs found themselves enveloped by the Pewsey defence and it was not until James Nicksen started to kick over the top that play moved into the hosts’ half.

This more enterprising approach paid dividends when Garin Garland scrambled over near the posts before converting himself to give Minety a 7-5 lead.

In the next 20 minutes Pewsey crossed the line twice, but were judged held up by the referee.

Minety’s Mark Glew then had to withdraw due to injury and without any substitutes, the visitors were down to 14 men.

The situation became worse when Jack Howse slipped and caught his head on a Pewsey player’s knee, and his departure meant Minety were down to 13.

They bravely held out against the odds for 15 minutes before Henry Balls crossed for a try just before half-time for Pewsey and then converted himself as the hosts took a 12-7 cushion into the break.

Minety’s 13 men soon became 12 when Jay Thompson injured his shoulder and was withdrawn, with the rest of the side putting in a huge defensive effort to keep Pewsey out.

The hosts’ pressure began to tell, though, and when Pewsey picked up their third try through Chris Bartley, the match was effectively over.

The Minety players carried on in vain and the match was eventually ended eight minutes early when Garland was injured and the visitors could no longer field a viable team.