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Heroic Defence by Old Hales 1st XV

Peterborough Lions 12 - 19 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Oct 5, 2016 10:11pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Kathleen Jackson
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The Hales squad and stalwart supporters set off on that thankless and tiresome trip to the wilds of Peterborough for the annual battle of the bulge. This is a really difficult place to get a result as the big physical home side of varying nationalities generally focus on brawn. 

Having navigated to the unnavigable by Sat nav or any other means, the Hales side settled into the challenge from the kick off with some telling runs. However the home side immediately got into their usual game plan of driving up the middle with their big forwards and waiting for infringements so their ever reliable fly half kicker could score their points. 

In the first 8 minutes Hales were penalised twice and trailed 6 - 0 with Chris Hooper missing a penalty in return on 12 minutes. The visitors then got the journey out of their system with driving runs into the home half with fly half Ian Briggs controlling the attacking game. 

Captain Steve Leach led from the front supported by back row Adam Clayton, prop Rich Taylor and hooker Jordan Page. Hales pressed with centres Ben Barkley making ground as usual and with fellow centre Carl Robinson kept the opposition backs from breaking free. 

Continued pressure by Hales took them close to the Lions line. A catch and drive resulted in skipper Leach driving over the line for a well-deserved try, converted by Hooper to lead 6 - 7. 

The game was prevented from open rugby due to the incessant whistle from the referee who once again showed an inability to communicate with the players or allow the game to flow. This resulted in penalties and yellow cards as he gradually lost control and respect from both sides. 

The Lions front row were strong early on so Hales DOR Gary Cox put replacement prop Mike Hill onto the loose head and  he immediately steadied the Hales pack. On 19 minutes the home side were penalised with Hooper converting, closely followed by a Peterborough penalty and yet another penalty to Hales leaving a half time score of 9 - 13.  

Hales gathered round coach Ben Hughes for a motivating chat and a message to maintain the pressure and strong defence. Shortly after the restart Hales were penalised again for a supposed infringement as Peterborough applied pressure.  

The home side converted to pull the score back to 12 - 13 before a period of applied pressure by Lions resulting in Hales having to defend and doing so admirably.  

However the referee was strict in decisions resulting in Loz Breese, Rich Taylor and scrum half Martin Hooker all getting yellow cards with the space of 7 minutes. Taylor, in particular, was penalised for not entering the ruck through the gate, much to the amazement of the visiting team, all supporters and the opposition! 

Hales were down to 12 men against an attacking home side destined to score. From this point the Hales team gave the best defensive performance of the season. Even with prop Taylor off the field the front row of Matt Young, Hooker Page and the awesome Hill, alternating from loose and tight head, made for an unsurpassed defensive effort. 

Peterborough spent almost 10 minutes on the hales line trying to breech the defence. The visiting team would not give in, both pack and backs fighting for survival. Briggs tackled like a man possessed and saved a definite forward try. 

Hales with 12 men continued to fight back as the 3 players returned, they took the game back to the stunned opposition who should have been embarrassed not to have capitalised on the player advantage. 

Hales worked up the field, the scrum starting to dominate and Hooper kicking for great positions. More pressure from Hales and on 75 minutes Lions were penalised, Hooper slotted 12 - 16 with 5 minutes to go. 

More pressure by Hales who needed to retain possession, another infringement under pressure by Lions. Hooper stepped up to convert from the half way line before a final whistle and a well-earned victory 12 - 19.  

After the game Hughes said, "We have just shown an immense defensive performance, not a great overall game but something to work on. We need to acknowledge a fantastic defensive game, particularly by the front row who under such pressure with 12 men were amazing, we move on". Hales meet Sandbach at home this week, kick off 3pm.

 

Second team - Old Halesonians 2nds 72 - 0  Bromsgrove 2nds 

 

Old Hales 2nds looked to get back on track in this league game against Bromsgrove 2nds and from the start the signs were that this would be a free running game even in the very wet conditions. 

Old Hales drew first blood after only 3 minutes when centre Matt Wagstaff placed a well weighted chip kick over the Bromsgrove defence for left wing Jake Shellis to collect the ball on the bounce and sprint around to score close to the posts. Shellis converted the try for a 7-0 lead, 

It wasn’t long before Shellis was in for his second try when fly-half Tom Harris placed a lovely grubber kick to split the defence; Shellis kicked the ball forward and won the chase to make the score 12-0. 

Old Hales were now in complete control and free running fullback Dan Smith attacked down the left. The ball reached Shellis who kicked the ball over the defence; the talented backrow Kieran Haynes was on hand to scoop up the ball to score. Shellis added the conversion for a 19-0 lead after only 16 minutes of play. 

The home side were in total charge of the scrum and when the opportunity came Old Hales forced Bromsgrove backwards over their own try line; Bromsgrove collapsed the scrum to prevent an inevitable try; however, the referee didn’t hesitate and awarded a penalty try. Shellis converted from under the posts; Score 26-0. 

Some good play followed and when Dan Smith received the ball he kicked the ball towards the Bromsgrove try line. In the wet conditions Bromsgrove lost control of the ball and once again Kieran Haynes was in the right place to pounce on the ball to score. Shellis landed a difficult conversion to make the score 33-0. 

Just before half time Matt Wagstaff made a lovely break through the Bromsgrove defence and delivered a well-timed pass to Haynes who was tackled just short of the line; unfortunately the ball was knocked forward in the ruck and the referee blew for half time. 

Bromsgrove battled hard for the first ten minutes of the second half but then the flood gates opened. Old Hales attacked with vigour down the right and Bromsgrove gave away a penalty. Tom Harris took a quick tap and released Kieran Haynes to score his third try of the game. 38-0. 

Not long after the re-start, Dan Smith collected the ball in his own half; he quickly stepped through Bromsgrove’s token defence and raced to the try line to score under the posts for a converted try. 

Old Hales were on the attack once again and some good interplay by the backs ended in a ruck on the Bromsgrove line; replacement centre Laured Kalari reacted quickly, picked up the ball from the ruck and dived over for a try and a 50-0 lead.

 From the kick-off Bromsgrove forced a line out. Even though the ball was won by Bromsgrove, the ever present Haynes forced his way through the line out collected the ball on the bounce in his own half and outpaced a flat footed  Bromsgrove defence to score his fourth try. The conversion was unsuccessful. 

From a scrum 20 metres from the Bromsgrove line, Old Hales made a controlled drive forward. The ball was the quickly moved to the left and Kalari passed the ball to Shellis who crossed the line with ease for his third try to make the score 60-0. 

Old Hales were on the attack again from their own half; Sam Jones made a good run down the middle of the field and Mike Topping carried the move on. Jones received the ball back from Topping and found Tom Harris in support. Harris moved forward quickly and passed to Shellis coming into the line at pace. Shellis crossed the line for his fourth try and added the conversion for good measure.

With full time approaching, Tom Harris, Jon Harris, Kieran Haynes and Luke Irwin linked well to carry the ball to within ten metres of the Bromsgrove line. Old Hales were awarded a penalty and Haynes took a quick penalty and passed to Tom Harris, who put Jon Harris in for the last try of the game that capped a 72-0 victory,

 

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Jake Shellis (4), Kieran Haynes (4), Dan Smith, Laured Kalari, Jon Harris, Penalty Try

Conversions: Jake Shellis (6)

 

Old Hales 2nds have a tough league game at home against Luctonians 2nds on Saturday 8th October.

 

Third team - Chaddesley 1sts  48 - 12 Old Halesonians 3rds

Old Hales accepted this friendly fixture against Chaddesley’s 1st XV and as expected it was an extremely tough fixture.

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Rhys Evans, Jack Linehan

Conversions: Gaz Price

 

Old Hales 3rds face Moseley Oak 2nds in a league fixture at home on Saturday 8th October.

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