Great Weekend for Old Halesonians

National League 3 Midlands

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2015 06:40pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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A great weekend for our firsts and seconds, both beating Birmingham Solihull in exciting games.


First team - Birmingham Solihull 7 - 29 Old Halesonians


Old Halesonians first team travelled to Portway for the 8th league game of the season, the first of a testing month ahead. Former players remind the club that the last time Old Hales played against Birmingham Solihull was in the Pilkington Cup many years ago. This was apparently to be a defining fixture for the home side who are still looking to produce the form to compete at the top end of this league having been relegated from National 2 last season.


Strong winds and a mud soaked pitch was to level the teams for this fixture but the visitors were confident going into the game with a full strength squad. The early exchanges set the scene with Bees looking to play a tight game in the mud. The early scrum exchanges saw Hales dominant and the home side were retreating in the set scrums from early on. Unfortunately this was not converted into ground for the visitors.


The Hales tight control did not give the deserved rewards, only a 17 minute penalty for the visitors which full back Chris Hooper converted 0 – 3. The restart again saw Hales in control at the scrum and lineouts, much to the distain from a couple of Bees players who began to resort to foul play for which they were again penalised.


Hales continued to play rugby and were rewarded on 25 minutes when following a lineout won by man of the match, Tom King, the ball came out to winger Luke Smith who combined well with Hooper for a great try by Hooper to lead 0 – 8. The restart again saw both sides in confrontation with an incident involving the forwards resulting in a brawl which carried on for some time. The result was a red card and sending off for the Hales prop, Louis Padian and the Birmingham’s number 8. The referee called the captains together to regain some control.


Changes to the packs and a settling back period saw Bees make a rare visit to the Hales 22 where they scored a well worked try for a 7 – 8 score which brought the first half to a close. Director of Rugby Gary Cox and Coach Ben Hughes reminded Hales to stick to the game plan and the second half needed to be better. From the kick off Hales attacked continually with forwards, Pete Fitzgerald, Tom Jordan, Max Macfarlane, Tom King and Owen Jones making ground in the muddy conditions. 


Scrum half, Dave Hadkiss kept the ball flowing with the backs trying to break the Bees defense. The continued pressure saw more infringements by the home side who were struggling to keep with the pace. Three penalties in succession saw Hopper convert all three for a lead 7 – 17 after 65 minutes. Constant driving mauls and superior fitness saw Hales in total command with a wilting home response.


Hales backs started to come into their own, their defense was excellent and attacking runs by the Robinson Brothers Carl and Andy supported by Ben Barkley and Oli Rayner kept Bees on the back foot. But it was the Hales forwards who went to town. A driving maul for some 20 metres resulted in King gathering the ball for a great forwards try 7 – 22.


On 77 minutes Hales found themselves yet again in the ascendency, Fitzgerald bursting through the tired home defense before offloading to the indomitable King for his second try in five minutes, converted by Oli Raynor for a 7 – 29 lead. The time was left for a bonus point try but although the home side had capitulated there was not enough time to secure the fourth try.


Head Coach Ben Hughes said after the game “We thoroughly deserved the win today although the first half was not good enough. We need to bring what we brought in the second half for 80 minutes and will work on some areas during the coming week”.


Next Saturday Old Hales play host to local rivals Bromsgrove in what should be another tough game. This is also Murray Keens’ Presidents day who will be entertaining over 100 guests at a pre match lunch prior to the kick off at 2.15 pm.


Second team - Old Halesonians 2nds  56 - 12 Birmingham Solihull Development


Birmingham Solihull Development team turned up for this league game with only 13 players and without a full complement of front row players, so the game was played from the off with uncontested scrums.


The visitors held their own for the first few minutes, then a poor throw in from Bees at a lineout was well taken by Old Hales backrow Kieron Haynes who exploited the gap in the Bees defence to race 25 metres to score after only 7 minutes.


Three minutes later Old Hales took a clean catch at a lineout only 15 metres out and a powerful driving maul allowed hooker Sam Jones to cross the line for a try to take a 10-0 lead.


Player numbers evened out after 20 minutes when the referee sent two Old Hales players, Kieron Haynes and Leon Naif, to the sin bin in quick succession for infringements.


Old Hales continued in attack mode and following some sustained forward pressure, scrumhalf Dave Wakefield looped a pass over the top of his own forwards to find Alex Herbert who in turn slipped the ball to left wing Sam Alvey who scored from short range.


Just before half time Old Hales secured clean ball once again from the lineout and set up a driving maul. The maul was moving forward at speed before Sam Jones broke free to score from five metres out for a 20-0 lead.


Old Hales kept the pressure on in the second half. Bees lost the ball in contact and Kieron Haynes carried the ball forward; offloaded to Sam Jones who released right wing Nathan Newman to score.


The home side exploited a free kick and moved up the field quickly. Louis Madican took the direct route towards the line before linking with Sol Rogers in support; from the ensuing ruck Tom Harris made a well-timed pass to Kieron Haynes running a good line to score close to the posts. Dave Wakefield added the first conversion of the day to make the score 32-0.


Old Hales were quickly on the attack again and a free flowing move ended with Alex Herbert passing to Sam Alvey who scored his second try close to the posts. Alvey converted his own try for a 39-0 lead.


A combination of Old Hales losing their focus and Bees determination saw the visitors forwards attacking with greater purpose. After several close calls the Bees forwards finally crossed the try line to score a converted try.


The Bees backline also had a good spell and ripped through the Old Hales defence on several occasions. A long range try from Bees was well taken but showed inadequacies in the Old Hales defence. Score 39-12.


Shortly after the restart Old Hales got back on track when Sam Alvey took the ball in his own 22 and weaved his way up field, outpacing a tiring Bees defence. When he reached the Bees 22 Alvey checked his run and gave a long looping pass to Jake Shellis in midfield. Shellis stepped on the gas to score.


Old Hales were on the attack again and some nice back played released Shellis to score his second try. The final play of the game saw Loius Madican make a break; the ball then went through the hands of Dave Wakefield and Jake Harley-Yeadon before Sam Alvey carried the ball over the line for his hat-trick and a final score of 56-12.


Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Kieron Haynes (2), Sam Jones (2), Sam Alvey (3), Nathan Newman, Jake Shellis (2)

Conversions: Dave Wakefield, Sam Alvey, Jake Shellis

Photos: Dan Corcoran


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