A Tough Weekend for Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015 07:31am
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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First team - Old Halesonians 15 – 16 Bromsgrove


This had the signs of a classic local derby which would be equally contested in the windy rainy conditions. Bromsgrove kicked off in front of a full Presidents Day crowd who weathered the storm in more ways than one.


Hales quickly got into their stride with a couple of dominant set scrums, front row Matt Young, Pete Fitzgerald and Rich Taylor showing their combined force. Early exchanges saw the home side penalised twice which was to be a theme for the game.


James Upton, the visiting full back, scored both and Bromsgrove continued with pressure down the hill but Hales defence stood strong. The visitors were unable to capitalise on good line out possession as Hales drove them off the ball.


Hales found it difficult to get any reasonable forward continuity against a competitive opposition who stuck to the basics well. Hales tried to make ground with Tom Jordan, Fitzgerald and Max Macfarlane leading the way.


This pressure after 14 minutes saw the ball collected by a visiting back under pressure, he tried to kick clear but was charged down by Andy Robinson for Andy Holloway to score an unconverted try making a 5 - 6 score at half time.


In the second half at 45 minutes Hales had the wind and slope advantage which they took with early pressure. Kicking for touch with a line out catch and drive, all forwards and backs joined the drive for scrum half Dave Hadkiss to touch down for a 10 - 6 lead. 


The home side seemed to lift and maintain the pressure but still with too many penalties. Bromsgrove used the infringements to kick for ground. Their catch and drive looked dangerous and only staunch defence by Hales kept them out.


Hales again went on the attack with Carl  Robinson, Hooper and Barkley combining well to make ground into the Grove half. Forwards in support kept possession, Hadkiss sent the ball along the backs, Hooper to wing Luke Smith who beat his man to the line 15 - 6.


This should have been the start of a Hales victory but the visitors had other ideas. The Hales penalty count continued, the visitors took the initiative and made ground. From the resulting maul Phil Horton, Bromsgrove number 8, went over to pull the score back to 15 - 11 with minutes to go.


This still should have been Hales game as they kept possession in the opposition half but yet another penalty gave the visitors another line out close to Hales line.   


From the line prop Young was alleged to have taken a player out illegally for which he received a yellow card. From the resulting line out the visitors gathered the ball, drove forward and Matt Edgar scored in the corner in the last move of the game to win 15 - 16.


Head Coach Ben Hughes and DOR Gary Cox reminded the players of their misgivings during a game that should have been put away. Hughes said, 'This performance was not good enough, the players need to look at themselves in a game that had too many penalties and scoring chances not taken. We need to put this right before our biggest challenge of the season next week away at Hinckley' (Kick off 2.15) 


Second team – Bromsgrove 5 – 10 Old Halesonians


The game was played in wet and blustery conditions at Finstall Park and was punctuated with handling errors from both sides all afternoon.


Old Hales took the game to Bromsgrove early on and their scrum was once again a dominant force. After several forays into the Bromsgrove 22 Old Hales fly half Tom Harris jinked his way to the try line only to lose control of the ball as he dived over the line.


Bromsgrove’s kicking game played a big part in turning the game around and they had the better of the second quarter. Old Hales defended well, particularly Sol Rogers who was in the action all over the pitch. Finally, the Bromsgrove pressure paid off and their No. 7 exploited a gap to score after 26 minutes. The remainder of the half was scoreless and Bromsgrove went into half time with a 5-0 lead.


Old Hales started the second half with more purpose and managed to put a few decent moves together.


After 54 minutes play one of the Bromsgrove’s props was shown a yellow card for an infringement at a scrum. Two minutes later a Bromsgrove player suffered a serious knee injury and an ambulance was called. After a short break the game resumed on another pitch.


With a prop in the sin bin Bromsgrove were unable to field a full front row so the scrums became uncontested and Old Hales dominance in this department was nullified. However, from an attacking scrum the Harris brothers weaved their magic; scrum half Chris Harris passed the ball to Tom Harris who slipped the ball back to Chris on the run around. A well timed inside pass from Chris found Jon Harris running a good line to split the defence to score a well worked try.


With the scores level at 5-5 the Old Hales team were revitalised and from the restart moved up field with purpose. Following several attacking moves that were thwarted by the Bromsgrove defence, Tom Harris once again made his way towards the try line. Tom lost control of the ball as he tried to offload just short of the line; the ball bobbled up in the air and Louis Madican launched himself into a full length dive, caught the ball in mid-flight and landed over the line for a try.


Although Bromsgrove fought back manfully, the Old Hales defence held out for a 10-5 victory.


Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Jon Harris, Louis Madican


Third team - Evesham 2nds  19 - 0 Old Halesonians 3rds


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