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Hales Sting Bees with a Double

Old Halesonians 10 - 8 Birmingham Solihull

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2016 08:34pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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This was a much anticipated return fixture against local rivals Birmingham Bees following a fractious encounter earlier in the season. There was a big crowd to watch what turned out to be a very entertaining stern battle of wills from both sides. 

Bees brought a large crowd as they have returned to winning ways over the last few weeks with a physical side. Hales had prepared well during training under the guidance of coaches Ben Hughes and Ben Barkley and were well fired up with the return of Tom Jordan, Luke Smith and Chris Hooper from injuries. 

The slightly inclement weather of rain and wind left everyone in no doubt that flowing rugby would be at a premium, however for the opening stages of the game Hales played some hard, fast running rugby which saw good ball through the hands of their lively backs. 

On 7 minutes the home side tackled hard to a man with Steve Leach and Jordan in command, they turned the visitors possession ball over. Dave Hadkiss at 9 fed Oli Rayner who floated the pass to Ben Barkley at centre. Joe Oxford was let loose on the wing . He attacked his opposite man and with two defenders clinging to him, crossed for a try wide out, Rayner kicked brilliantly for a lead 7 - 0.  

Bees started to make some headway after 20 minutes which saw them threatening on several occasions, but the determined home defence led by evergreen Jordan saw ball stolen or turned over much to the frustration of the travelling fans. 


The game changed hands on many occasions with strong defence, Bees handling in the backs letting them down after dominant forward play. On 30 minutes the visitors again attacked the  Hales try line, but again Hales stole the ball and made their way up field. 

Bees were again under pressure and were penalised, Rayner converted for a 10 - 0 lead at half time. The second half again saw brief glimpses of Hales potential for fast running rugby, but it was Bees who began to take control of possession. 

A crucial mistake on 56 minutes from a Hales attack on halfway saw Bees gain possession, spread the ball wide to their winger who had little to do for their try, the conversion from an easy position was missed for a 10 - 5 lead. 

The period leading up to the 70th minute saw waves of attack from Bees, continually repelled by a no nonsense defence by Hales with some  brilliant tackling, led by centre Carl  Robinson who was involved in both the pack and backs with some amazing turnover ball. 

The home side were under pressure now in the pack and this was hindered by both Loz Breese and Leach leaving the field with yellow cards reducing Hales to 13 men for the rest of the game. At this stage the home crowd could be forgiven for thinking that this was only a matter of time before Bees would get another score. 

Their forward pressure saw Hales penalised in the scrum which was converted on 71 minutes to pull the score back to 10 - 8. The remaining ten minutes saw unstinting forward pressure by Bees who seemed destined to score a try and win. 

Hales to a man, only 13 of them, tackled, rucked and mauled every Bees attack despite the difference in numbers. The line out was where the visitors focused as their obvious strength but the Hales defence stood strong. 

Hales needed to retain possession which they did for the last minutes, the crowd hanging on every move and referee decision. The home side drove every ball through the forwards with back row Max Macfarlane doing more than his fair share. 

The last minute, Bees backs got the ball, a chip over the defence and a chase by the Bees wing who seemed certain to score in the corner. Smith from Hales had sprinted from his opposite wing to intercept the ball into touch, the final whistle went for a heart stopping victory 10 - 8. 

After the game DOR Gary Cox said "This was always going to be a battle to the end. The defensive play of all of our players was a masterclass which was the difference on the day. I don't normally single out players but Robinson, Leach, Jordan and Macfarlane were outstanding. 

This Saturday Hales firsts travel to local rivals Bromsgrove for the next league game, kick off 2.15

 

Old Patesians 2nds 15  -  20  Old Halesonians 2nds

Old Hales arranged this previously postponed Midlands Reserve Cup game against Old Pats following the withdrawal of Birmingham Solihull 2nds from the scheduled league game.

 

Two tries from Alex Church and a try, one from Jake Shellis sealed the victory for Old Hales.

 

This win against Old Pats in the cup sets up a semi-final clash against Luctonians 2nds away.

 

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Alex Church (2), Jake Shellis

Conversion: Jake Shellis

Penalty: Jake Shellis

 

Old Halesonians 3rds 29 - 5  Bromsgrove 5

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Jack Linehan (2), Joel Keenan, Chris Harris, Nathan Newman

Conversions: Andy Tromans (2)


PHOTO: FILE PIC

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