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Historic Double for Hales

Sutton Coldfield 17 v 18 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2015 03:20pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Simon Hussey
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Again, the return of a fixture with local rivals in National 3 league rugby, the weather conditions certainly levelled the playing field.
Old Hales have not seen victory at Sutton for many years at first team level, this was to be the ultimate challenge. Hales seemed up for it with the return of skipper Rich Taylor at prop and player coach Mark Evans at number 8.
From the kick off the Hales boys dominated play to such an extent that for fully 25 minutes Sutton didn't enter the visitors half.  But as has been the case this season, despite numerous chances to punish sides, the finishing was not good enough.
After 14 minutes of Hales pressure Sutton gave a penalty away which Chris Hooper converted for a 0 - 3 lead. It seemed like the game was only going one way, until on 30 minutes, following several missed tackles inside the Hales half, Sutton managed to break clear and score a very good try through their backs which gave them a 7 - 3 lead. 
The remaining ten minutes of the first half saw Sutton take control around the fringes, causing Hales to defend constantly. Again the penalty count was too high by the visitors so the half time score stood. 
The second half continued with a confident Sutton having the upper hand in the scrum. A visitors line out saw the freakish wind gift the ball to the home side who fed the backs for the outside centre to score with little opposition 12 - 3
To their credit Hales, on 45 minutes, came straight back when after pressurising some loose play centre Carl Robinson picked up just inside his own half and cut through the home defence putting wing Luke Smith away for a deserved unconverted try 12 - 8.
Another 5 minutes of Sutton pressure saw them once again take the initiative with a third try and a lead of 17 - 8. Hales were at a low and needed to find some initiative to get back in touch. 
Hales pack, although under pressure, fought hard to steady the ship. On 54 minutes they built the pressure with a line out driving maul, up to the Sutton 22 where Mark Evans picked up and raced through untouched for a try against his former club. This put Hales hot on the heels of a tiring Sutton team who led 17 - 13 with 15 minutes remaining.
Both crowd and teams were visibly nervous trying to make a breakthrough. On 74 minutes Hales won a scrum on the Sutton 22 metre line. Scrum half Nathan Jones to Gareth Bown at fly half, a pass to centre Carl Robinson, all expected a characteristic sprint through the defence.
Robinson had another idea, he chipped the ball towards the wing where winger Warren Oliver timed his run perfectly to collect, hand off his opposite man for a sublime deciding try 17 - 18.
The visiting crowd stayed silent hoping that the final 4 minutes would play out. Sutton again came back but a fight to the death attitude at the final ruck by the visitors kept the lead, a great win with a not so dominating performance.
Team Manager Simon Hussey said 
" We have not won at Sutton for many years at this level. The result by far outshines our performance but we showed great character in pinching this at the death. 
Second placed Peterborough Lions bring a different challenge to Wassel Grove next week, we need to improve our set scrum and deal with our continuing endless penalty count"
Hales meet Peterborough Lions are home next week, kick off 2.15 

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Burton 2nds 48pts  Old Halesonians 2nds  24pts

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Old Halesonians  3rds 7pts   Old Yardleians 2nds  0pts – when match abandoned.

Match Report By Dan Hunt

Old Hales started the game well with plenty of possession. The scrum was solid and working well giving the backs a good platform for attacking the Old Yards defence.

Old Hales attacked down the right from their own half and released right wing Callum Roberts on his own 10 metre line. Roberts outstripped the Old Yards defence leaving a few defenders in his wake before scoring under the posts. Gaz Price added the conversions for a 7-0 lead.

With a strong wind in their favour, Old Yardelians took every opportunity to force the home side deep into their own half with long kicks downfield. Old Hales relentlessly returned the ball with some good interplay between forwards and backs. However, a number of scoring opportunities were halted with the final pass being deemed forward.

Leading 7-0 at half time, Old Hales were looking forward to the second half with a strong wind behind them. However, shortly after Old Yardelians kicked off an unfortunate accident happened in the Old Hales 22, with Hales flanker, Harry Young, sustaining a serious ankle injury. The players immediately asked for an ambulance to be called and Harry was made as comfortable as possible in the circumstances until the ambulance arrived.

With the waterlogged condition of the other pitches and the light deteriorating, the referee and the two captains agreed that the match would be abandoned.

Everyone wishes Harry a swift and full recovery.

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Old Yardleians 3rds  42pts v Old Halesonians 4ths  7pts

Old Hales came up against a very experienced Old Yards side that proved to be too strong, particularly in the second half.

Dave Glover scored the Old Hales try.

Photo: File pic

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