Old Hales Fail to Perform

Old Northamptonians 28 - 21 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2016 08:13pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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This was on paper a 5 point win for the visitors but someone forgot to tell the home side. The scene was set with surprisingly good weather and pitch conditions and Hales fielding a strong side. 

The opening exchanges favoured the visitors with the pack dominant. Set scrum and open play took the game to the home side. A line out close to the home 22 saw Tom King collect; a driving maul ensued with hooker Sam Jones scoring an early try, converted by Chris Hooper to lead 0 - 7.

Injury to Hales fly half Oli Rayner, within a few minutes of the start was the first disruption, he was replaced at 10 by Ben Barkley. Old Northamptonians came back immediately with a young team opening up play and pressurising Hales into conceding a converted penalty 3 - 7. The home side were up for this game and as Hales built the intensity, sound defence kept them in the game.

Hales still looked in control and as if they would build a lead but 15 minutes in would see a change in the game. Following a minor  altercation between Hales Dave Hadkiss and the home scrum half, Hales prop, Matt Young, moved in and threw an unnecessary punch at the opposite 9. The home 9 got a yellow card and Young a red, leaving the home side with 14 men. 

Replacement Rob Butler took over for Young and although he did a fine job to steady the tight, the home side started to take advantage elsewhere. A back move out wide gave the home side a break through the Hales defence for a converted try to lead  10 - 7. 

Hales needed to regroup but were again reduced in numbers when second row Tom King left the field injured, replaced by Steve Leach. Leach brought some metal back to the visitors who worked their way back into the game with 13 men.

The home side however took advantage of the numbers scoring another try to lead 15 - 7. Hales were struggling to pull back, they ran hard with Max Macfarlane, Tom Jordan and Leach making good ground. A break by Hadkiss, to the Robinson brothers saw wing Luke Smith breakthrough for a converted try 15 - 14.

The second half was to be a real challenge for Hales playing up the slope. More injuries for Hales saw hooker Jones retired hurt which meant all replacements had been used. With the visitors reduce to 13 men, Hales were forced to instigated uncontested scrums.

This was to leave an uphill battle 13 against 15. Play continued with Hales doing their best to pull back the game. An attacking move from Hadkiss to Barkley was intercepted for the home centre to sprint the length of the pitch to score a converted try to lead 22 - 14. 

Hales were continually stretched and gave too many penalties away, the home side capitalised with 2 penalties 28 - 14 with 30 minutes to go. A serious injury to a home player resulted in a stoppage in play and an ambulance called. The game continued on an adjoining pitch. 

The final 15 minutes saw Hales constantly attack the home lines with 13 men. Wing Luke Smith collected the ball to again sprint around his man for a try in the corner. Hooper converted a difficult kick wide out to bring the score to 28 - 21 with 2 minutes to go.

Continued pressure by Hales failed to produce a score with the final whistle delivering a devastating blow to the visiting side and supporters. Gary Cox DOR said "This performance was not good enough, the warm up to the game was not right. The players expected to win but did not perform. We will need to put things right for next week to stay in contention" 

Old Hales play Peterborough Lions at home this Saturday, kick off 2.15 pm


Second team - Kidderminster 2nds  12 - 48 Old Halesonians 2nds


Old Hales were grateful for this friendly away game following the postponement of their home league game against Luctonians 2nds due to waterlogged pitches. 

Kidderminster’s pitches were in relatively good condition and this suited Old Hales running game. Jon Harris opened the scoring for Hales; however, Kidderminster made a swift reply with a converted try to take a 7-5 lead.

Although Old Hales made hard work of the first half, they scored three more tries by Jamie Leech, Jay Reid and Pete Fitzgerald. Jake Shellis added two difficult conversions for a 24-7 lead at half time.

The visitors started the second half strongly and the ball was moved quickly to the right to release Jay Reid who outpaced the Kiddy cover defence to score his second try. Jake Shellis successfully converted from wide out on the right.

Following several well balanced runs from fullback Andy Holloway, he ran a good line that split the Kiddy defence. Holloway raced to the line to score a fine try. Shellis stepped up to land a well taken conversion to make the score 38-7.

The best try of the game was scored from Old Hales own half when Tom Harris made a quick break into the Kiddy half. Harris slipped a pass to Pete Fitzgerald who thundered up-field before releasing Andy Holloway in support. Holloway drew the defence and made a well-timed pass to Jake Shellis who sprinted to the line to score in the left hand corner.

Kidderminster rallied and after several good phases of play managed to cross the try line to score.

Old Hales crossed the line for their eighth try from a tap penalty close to the Kidderminster line. Pete Fitzgerald carried the ball towards the line and offloaded to Matt Weaver. Weaver twisted his body as he forced his way to the ground to score to make the final score 48-12.


Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Jon Harris, Jamie Leech, Jay Reid (2), Pete Fitzgerald, Andy Holloway, Jake Shellis, Matt Weaver

Conversions: Jake Shellis (4)


Third team - Camp Hill 2nds  38 - 0  Old Halesonians 3rds


Old Hales came out second best in this friendly game against a good Camp Hill 2nd team who are currently in second place in the league above Old Hales.

Photo: file pic


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