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Hales Win Despite Team Disruptions

Old Halesonians 14 - 8 Longton

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2014 05:54pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Simon Hussey
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Hales came into this game following a disappointing loss at Hinckley last week. The early part of the game saw Hales in control with driving runs and fine phase play.

The home side saw last minute changes with Nathan Jones crying off at scrum half, props Louis Padian  and skipper Rich Taylor out of the front row through injury. Also flanker Jay Martin was out as was fly half Matt Williams on holiday.

Despite the changes Hales were able to pressure the visitors for long periods of the first half. Dave Wakefield in at Scrum Half had a great game providing regular ball to his backs through fly half Andy Holloway who was playing out of position

It was good to see Pete Fitzgerald back after a long injury, he put in a Stirling performance at prop in place of Taylor. It was Fitzgerald who collected an early kick off, sprinting into the opposition. For 10 minutes Hales pummelled the opposition backwards taking scrums against the head and driving to within 15 yards of the Longton line. Hales won s scrum but prop Tom Dempsey was penalised and sent from the field with the first of 4 yellow cards for the home side.

This took the home team to 14 players and the initiative moved to the visitors. Longton's numerical advantage saw them settling into the game, causing the home side to commit to a period of staunch defence which limited the damage to 3 points from a penalty in front of the posts 0 - 3.

With the return of Dempsey, the Hales tried to get themselves back into their stride, only to be reduced to 14 players again just moments later when Centre, Carl Ribinson infringed in the red zone and was asked to leave for ten minutes.

Hales continued to battle and turned defence into attack on 35 minutes when a loose ball was picked up by Full Back Chris Hopper in his own 22. Supported by winger Luke Smith they ran the length of the pitch passing between them until Smith took the final pass to go over for a brilliantly worked try, converted by Hooper to lead 7 - 3 at half time.

So after a frustrating first half, the home crowd were looking forward to seeing a more dominant team. And do it appeared after only 2 minutes of pressure and from a scrum 10 yards out debutant Dave Wakefield picked up and sniped his way through to score a well deserved try under the posts, Hooper converted for a 14 - 3 lead

On 62 minutes another yellow card for brother Andy Robinson again reduced the team to 14, and not to be unbelievably a short time later and infringement by Andy Holloway saw him removed for 10 minutes leaving 13 on the home side.

Longton were not going to let this chance slip, continued pressure for many minutes on the Hales try line was defended by the home team. This became even more clear when with only a few minutes left to play, Longton scored a well worked try leaving the Hales with more defending to do. They stuck to their stoic defence to win the game 14 - 8.

Team manager Simin Hussey said "We need to regroup, lick our wounds, get back to full strength ready for a very competitive league in the NewYear"

Hales meet second placed Nuneaton away on January 3rd kick off 2 pm

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