Hales Fail in Last Minute at Lichfield

Lichfield 29 - 28 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2015 11:15am
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Simon Hussey
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Following the euphoria of beating second placed Hinckley last week, Hales were not complacent as the game started. Lichfield are not an easy team to beat at home and Hales were starting without a specialist tight head prop due to injuries and availability.

The game started with Hales in immediate control, after 2mins in open play wing Luke Smith gathered and sprinted for the first try converted by Chris Hooper to lead 0 - 7. The home side came back after a scrum where the ball was mishandled by Hales, the Lichfield scrum half collecting and running in unopposed, 5 - 7.

The visitors again fought back with dominant phase play, scrum half Nathan Jones and fly half Matt Williams giving good service. After 9mins backs and forwards combined for a driving try by second row Guy Field, converted by Hooper 5 - 14.

From the restart, Hales again pressured although the home side were beginning to disrupt the Hales scrum. After 16mins from a line out scrum half Jones went over for a try converted by Hooper to lead 5 - 21. On 28 minutes Hales prop Louis Padian received a yellow card for infringement in the scrum, replacement Bobby Moxon deputised.

Half Time saw Hales leading 5 - 21 but still a long way to go. The second half saw Lichfield pressuring the visitors but dropped passes preventing them from scoring. After 50 minutes Hales forwards drove forward through Pete Fitzgerald, Tom Jordan, Loz Breese and Tom King.

On 50mins the ball was passed along the backs, a kick on by Luke Smith which he chased and tackled the Lichfield receiver who fumbled the ball. Smith collected and ran unopposed for a bonus point try, converted by Hooper to lead 5 - 28.

What seemed like a one way game Lichfield began to fight back, particularly in the scrum where they took control. From 65 minutes they took the game to Hales who were running out of steam. In the next 9 minutes the home side scored 3 converted tries in quick succession to pull the score back to 26 - 28.

Hales were desperate to retain possession. Which they did well up until 80 minutes when the referee adjudged foul play in a ruck just inside the Hales half. This was the opportunity for Lichfield to kick for goal to win. The last kick of the game sailed over for a 29 - 28 victory to Lichfield.

A real disappointment for the Hales side who had done the same to stronger opposition last week. Hales finish in 5th place in the National 3 Midlands league above Bromsgrove, a creditable position in the circumstances. They meet Whitchurch in the final of the North Midlands Cup on Sunday 10 May at Dudley Kingswinford kick off to be notified
Old Halesonians 2nds – No game – Walsall 2nds cried off.
Old Halesonians 3rds 17pts Stourbridge 2nds 17pts
Match Report by Dan Hunt

This was a hard fought battle from start to finish with Old Hales dominant in the scrum throughout and the straight running Stourbridge backline keeping the Hales defence on their toes all day.

Old Hales started positively with some good driving runs, particularly from Sam Jones. The Stourbridge defence held strong and gradually with more possession their backs came to the fore. Both sides had opportunities in attack but these were thwarted by good defensive play.

The stalemate was finally broken on 27 minutes when Stourbridge attacked swiftly down the right to score the first try for a 5-0 lead. The remainder of the first half was an even battle.

From the second half kickoff Stourbridge attacked with purpose and after only 3 minutes they conjured up a well worked move down the left that culminated in a try close to the corner flag to make the score 10-0.

Old Hales rallied and spent the next ten minutes in attack in the Stourbridge half; with replacement forwards, Connor Leahy and James Saddler regularly carrying and recycling the ball well.

A lapse in concentration by Old Hales in attack allowed Stourbridge to move up the field quickly and a kick and chase ended in the referee awarding Stourbridge a penalty try after he adjudged that an Old Hales defender took out a Stourbridge player before he could dive on the ball to score. The conversion was successful to make the score 17-0.

Old Hales knew that they had to pull something out of the bag in the last 20 minutes and relentlessly made their way up the field. After several infringements by the visitor’s, a quick penalty saw Saddler force his way towards the line, the ball was then moved to Andy Tromans who was tackled just short of the line. Scrumhalf George Eccles picked up the ball, gave an audacious dummy and stepped over the try line to score. Tromans slotted over the conversion to trail 17-7.

With 12 minutes remaining the Stourbridge backs attacked and a long pass to the right was intercepted by replacement wing Nathan Newman for his first touch of the game. Nathan raced 40 metres hotly pursued by the Stourbridge cover defence to score. The conversion was unsuccessful making the score 17-12.

With time running out Old Hales continued on the attack, with Stourbridge attempting to clear their line at every opportunity. Confusion occurred close to the end of the game when the referee awarded a lineout close to the Stourbridge line; he then appeared to signal the end of the game and then change his mind. Out of the confusion, Old Hales captain, Joe Bradley, took the ball cleanly from the lineout. Saddler took the ball from the maul to drive forward, Leahy then carried the ball towards the try line and from the ruck Leon Naif picked up the ball and made the last few metres to the line to score. The conversion was missed from wide out to make the final score honours even at 17-17.

Old Hales scorers:
Tries: George Eccles, Nathan Newman, Leon Naif
Conversion: Andy Tromans (1)
Stourbridge 3rds 14pts Old Halesonians 4ths 43pts

Photo: File pic


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