Convincing Wins for Old Hales RFC

Last Updated: Feb 2, 2017 07:29am
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Kathleen Jackson
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First team - Sandbach 22 - 33 Old Halesonians


The Hales changing room was in sombre but positive mood in this must win fixture in Cheshire. There were changes in the front row as Rob Butler and Matt Young supported young debut Hooker Scott Rudge, who was called up to replace Sam Jones after suffering from suspected concussion in last weeks game. 

Hales started in their usual positive manner with forwards and backs combining well. Another debutant, scrum half Ben Tibbetts, took immediate control and led the Hales attack. He fed fly half Chris Hooper early for a try wide out to lead 0 - 5. 

Hales continued the pressure with Loz Breese, Adam Clayton and Neil Mason leading the way. Hooker Rudge developed well during the game and didn't look out of place. Sandbach came back with strong forward play but a mishandled pass saw Hales wing Luke Smith collect to sprint 60 metres for a try, converted by Ian Briggs 0 - 12. 

It seemed like Hales would take full control and shortly after the restart Tibbets again moved the play. Breese collected in midfield and fed wing Jay Reid who drove for the line and a try, converted by Briggs 0 - 19.  

Sandbach came back again and although Hales front row fought hard the home pack started to dominate up front. The pressure earnt them a penalty when Clayton received a yellow for offsid, 3 - 19. 

Both sides battled for possession, Clayton returned to the field but left shortly after with a ripped bicep which will keep him out for some time. Replacement Joe Collingham made an immediate impact when the ball came to him and he took on the defence, 3 hanging off him as he reached for a try converted by Briggs to lead 3 - 26. Hales were in the ascendancy at the half time whistle.   

The second half saw Hales replacement George Grieve on for Briggs at full back. Sandbach were trying to mount fight back but Hooper put pay to this by gathering the ball to release Collingham to Barkley who broke through the defence for a great try, converted by Hooper to lead 3 - 33. 

Hales were then under pressure in the pack, conceding a penalty try for collapsing a scrum, 10 – 33. Yellow cards prop Butler and second row Sawyer saw skipper Leach also having to leave the field as Hales replacement prop Harry Higgs came on for Butler. Hales then lost Collingham with injury and were left with 12 players for a short period. The pressure from Sandbach told as they used the extra players to score an unconverted try 15 - 33. Given the constant pressure by the home side with numbers, the Hales defence was valiant. 

However, the Hales numbers and injuries took their toll, Sandbach fought to the end for another converted try to pull the score back to 22 - 33 with no time to catch up. Hales deserved this much needed win and now have a break before their next league game at home to joint league leaders Sheffield on the 11th February, kick off 2.15 pm


Second team – Match postponed v Luctonians 2nds, to be rearranged


Third team - Bournville 2nds 19 – 22 Old Halesonians 3rds

Old Hales 3rds faced a strong Bournville side and in the first half played into a strong wind and up a steep sloping pitch. 

Bournville started the game the stronger of the two sides and monopolised possession early on. It wasn’t long before the Old Hales defence was stretched and Bournville exploited this by moving the ball quickly to the left for their wing to go over unopposed for a try. Bournville’s No.12 converted the try from wide out, 7 -0. 

Shortly afterwards, Bournville capitalised on an Old Hales infringement; the Bournville scrum half took a quick tap penalty and broke through the Old Hales disjointed defence before putting the left wing in for a second try which was converted for a 14-0 lead. 

Old Hales rallied and started to put together some good phases of play including some strong penetrating runs from the forwards. However, Bournville were next to strike when they scored from a catch and drive from a 5 metre lineout. The home side’s lead was extended to 19-0. 

Undeterred, Old Hales fought back and with half time looming they forced an attacking lineout close to the Bournville line. A clean catch by Old Hales was followed by a driving maul and hooker Dave Hunt crossed the line for a try to make the half time score 19-5. 

Old Hales kicked off the second half with the wind and the slope in their favour and started to dominate possession, but Bournville defended well. On 59 minutes the ball was moved to Matt Wagstaff and a well-timed pass found Jon Harris running a great line. Harris split the Bournville defence and raced in for a try from 30 metres out; Wagstaff converted to reduce the lead to 19-12. 

Old Hales continued to press and Jon Harris was on hand yet again to finish off a move to score his second try of the game and make the score 19-17. 

The visitor’s came close on two occasions when the referee deemed the ball to be held up over the line. With the clock ticking down, Old Hales sucked in the Bournville defence and fly half Chis Harris showed great vision with a long miss pass out to the right for Steve Deakin to steam in from ten metres for a try and a 19-22 lead.

 Old Hales played out a tense final three minutes to secure a closely fought 19-22 victory.


Old Hales scorers: 

Tries: Dave Hunt, Jon Harris (2), Steve Deakin

Conversion: Matt Wagstaff


Fourth team – match v Redditch was cried off last minute.


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