Hales Show Longton a Clean Pair of Heels

Longton 15 - 31 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Apr 7, 2014 03:42pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Simon Hussey
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Old Hales 1st team travelled to Staffordshire to meet Longton in the penultimate game of the season.

Once again, Director of Rugby, Gary Cox had to make last minute changes with player/coach Mark Evans crying off with sudden illness on the morning of the game.
Dan Young moved from the bench to back row and Jack Duffy took his place on the bench. This meant that the lineout needed to be reconfigured but Tom King and Dan Young adapted well at short notice.
There seemed some trepidation in the changing room prior to the game, but Tom Jordan, captain for the day, immediately took control from here on. In front if a partisan crowd, the big physical Longton side were looking to upset the visitors rhythm. 
However from the kick off, Hales got into their game with some up front, physical confrontation led by Jordan, Tom Dempsey, Pete Fitzgerald and Rich Sawyer. Longton threw everything at Hales for 30 minutes but the visitors trademark defence was brilliant, Longton could not breech the line.
After 32 minutes Hales worked a couple of phases up the field with strong running by Dempsey and Breese, a ruck secured the ball. Scrum half, Nathan Jones, again having a great game, fed Powell and the backs. Full back Chris Hooper joined the line, collected the ball, sold a class dummy to wrong foot the defence for the first try 0 - 5.
The home side came back down the slope using their big forwards. A driving maul from a lineout was again well defended by Hales. But Longton had more men in the maul and drove their prop over for a try to level the scores 5 - 5.
At 40 minutes, on half time, Longton tried to move the ball wide but Hales tackling, particularly centres Carl Robinson and Andy Holloway was too good. A loose ball was hacked on by wing Simon Sabel, Robinson also joined the chase, kicked on and collected the ball in hand. A maul ensued with Rich Sawyer feeding Nathan Jones who sprinted to the line for a try wide out, 5 - 10 at half time.
Hales needed to maintain the pressure down the slope, the first half defensive effort was a deciding factor in this game. On 46 minutes Longton attacked the midfield, Jordan put in a telling tackle on his opposite man. At the same time he wrestled the ball off the player. 
Nathan Jones fed wing Luke Smith who chipped over his opposite man, collected the ball to pass inside to the supporting Loz Breese who evaded tackles to score the try of the game, converted by Powell 5 -17.
Longton were shell shocked with no answer. After the restart they attempted to use their large backs, a pass went loose. Luke Smith intercepted to sprint half the pitch to score another converted try to lead 5  - 24 and gained the bonus point.
Hales front row of Cliff Tomkinson, Pete Fitzgerald and Tom Dempsey totally dominated the opposition, a lesson in scrummaging. Continued pressure by Hales pack in the loose resulted in a Longton forward kicking   Rich Sawyer to the head. The player immediately received a red card and was sent from the field by the referee.
Hales again made ground, both backs and forwards. Jordan supported a move down the touch line and was sure to have scored but for the home side touch judge indicating a foot in touch.
More pressure by the visitors, a scrum on the Longton 22, a planned move including back row and backs failed to work. Hales gathered again, Jones at scrum half took the ball and sold a dummy to skip over the line for his second try, converted by Powell 5 - 31.
With 20 minutes to go Longton fought back with two unconverted tries but Hales had done their job. This puts Haled third in the league, 3 points behind Sutton Coldfield in second who lost away to Bedford Athletic.
This Saturday Hales play their final game of the season at home against Lymm kick off 3 pm. This will also be Presidents' Day to celebrate a long hard successful season for the club at all levels.

Photo: File pic

Old Halesonians 2nds   0pts  v Luctonians 2nds  69pts

2nds Report by Dan Hunt 

The visitors were looking for a victory to secure the Midlands West Reserve League Division 1 title, this they duly did.

Old Hales held out for the first 20 minutes with the score standing at 3-0 to Luctonians. The visitors put some slick moves together in the second quarter and scored 3 tries before half time to make the score 22-0.

Although Old Hales battled hard in the second half, Luctonians were fitter and showed extra pace and ran in a further 7 tries and added 6 conversions to make the final score 69-0.

Droitwich 2nds   34 pts   v  Old Halesonians 3rds  24pts

Old Hales took on a friendly game against a team from a higher division. Although Old Hales faired well, Droitwich ran out winners on the day.

Old Halesonians 4ths took on Kings Norton 2nds, unfortunately Kings Norton only turned up with 9 players. A game of 12 a-side was played and Old Hales won a closely fought game.



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