Old Hales back on track with 43-3 win

Old Halesonians 43 - 3 Syston

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2014 10:03am
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By John Clark
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Old Hales first team seemed back on track in front of a large crowd at Wassel Grove.

The match was preceded by a minutes silence as a mark of respect for the passing of Geoff Grant, a former player, member and lifetime stalwart of the club.

Leicestershire side Syston were the visitors, the first time at Wassel Grove. The Hales side were in the right mood from kick off following some hard training, reflection and hard talking prior to this game after the narrow defeat to league leaders Nuneaton last week.

Nathan Jones at scrum half had his best game for the club, he directed play and kept Hales on the front foot. He gathered the ball, kicked to the opposition 22 where Syston knocked on for a scrum.

The resulting scrum secured ball for Hales, fed by Jones to fly half Stephen Powell who spotted a gap and sprinted through for a try, converted by Hooper 7 - 0. Hales relaxed for the next 20 minutes allowing Syston to come back with a scrum close to the home 22 and a resulting drop goal to pull back to 7 - 3.

Hales then began to work the phases, a line out in the Syston half was gathered by the reliable Mark Evans. a rolling maul ensued with the Syston pack retreating at pace. Second row, and former Colt, Tom King drove over for an excellent try, converted by Chris Hooper 14 - 3.

Continued pressure by Hales saw Nathan Jones kick and chase towards the visitors try line, the ball got to skipper Rich Taylor, who drove for the line with another try converted by Hooper, 21 - 3 at half time.

On 55 minutes Loz Breese carried the ball forward, like so many times during the game, into the Syston half. He offloaded to ever present hooker Pete Fitzgerald who sprinted for the try line for a great try 26 - 3 and four try bonus point,

Hales retained much of the possession with Nathan Jones continuing to impress. However he was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury, replaced by Simon Sabel from the centres and replacement wing Jack Manners coming on.

Sabel immediately made his mark from a forward ruck close to the visitors line, he gave an audacious dummy to drive over for a try converted by Hooper 33 - 3. 

Replacement, Prop Cliff Tomkinson took to the field and immediately began to disrupt the opposition front row. The combination of three props, Dempsey, Taylor and Tomkinson contributing, with hooker Fitzgerald, to a formidable front row.

On 75 minutes after more stolen ball, Tom Dempsey gathered and made an outrageous 25 metre run through the Syston defence, 'the parting of the Red Sea' in biblical terms. He managed to link with centre Andy Robinson who sprinted for the line to score 38 - 3.

On 80 minutes Sabel took a quick penalty, linked with Evans who looped a pass to the ever present Fitzgerald. Pete set off on one of his trademark runs, crashed his way through flailing defenders to sprint 40 metres for the try of the game. Hooper missed the conversion which was the last play, Hales victorious 43 - 3.

Hopefully this is the confidence boost needed as Hales try to avenge the earlier season defeat against Sandbach away next Saturday kick off 2.15.  

Photo: File pic


Lichfield 2nds  15pts v  Old Halesonians 2nds  29pts

Report by: Dan Hunt 

Old Hales made hard work of this victory over a lively Lichfield side.

The early stages of the game were evenly balanced until Tom Harris slipped a ball to centre Craig Jukes who burst through the Lichfield defence to squeeze over the line for an Old Hales unconverted try.

Lichfield came back strongly but wasted a few opportunities including a missed penalty attempt. Slowly but surely Old Hales moved up the field and following a few phases of play flyhalf Tom Harris produced a beautifully weighted crossfield kick that full back Dave Wakefield, out on the left flank, plucked out of the air to score a quality try. Tom Harris added the conversion to take Old Hales into a 12-0 lead.

Just before half time Lichfield pressure paid off and they were awarded a penalty within easy range of the posts. Lichfield added the points to make the score 12-3 at half time.

Lichfield dominated the first 5 minutes of the second half with a very direct approach of forwards pounding down the middle. Old Hales soaked up this pressure and after gaining possession attacked with purpose down the left flank. Unfortunately a loose pass from Old Hales in the Lichfield 22 went to ground and a quick thinking Lichfield player picked up and off loaded to the speedy Lichfield wing who outpaced the Old Hales cover defence to race 75 metres to score under the posts for a converted try.

From the kick off the visitors moved up field and forced a lineout 15 metres from the Lichfield line. A clean catch and drive by Old Hales from the lineout resulted in a controlled driving maul that ended with Jake Harley-Yeadon forcing the ball down for a try that Tom Harris converted.

Once again Lichfield rallied and after a number of surging drives the home side forwards they managed to score a deserved try. The conversion was missed to leave the score 19-15 to Old Hales.

In the last 15 minutes of the game Old Hales took more control and a series of driving mauls allowed hooker Dan Blake to touch down for a 24-15 lead. Another  attacking move stretched the Lichfield defence and Old Hales captain, Neil Western, in midfield 15 metres out, made a well timed long range pass out to Dave Wakefield to score unopposed in the corner to make the final score 29-15.

The man of the match was Luke Irwin, he was all over the field, cleaning up loose ball, making good ground in attack and putting in a tremendous defensive display.

Another positive was the way in which four regular 3rd team players, Craig Jukes, Jamie Leach, Andy Tromans and Alex Eccles slotted into the side and confirmed their capability of playing 2ndteam rugby.

Old Halesonians 3rds v Evesham 3rds - postponed due to waterlogged pitch.



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