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Old Hales Finish Season on a High

Old Halesonians 15 - 7 Nuneaton

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2016 08:24pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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The final league game of the season saw Hales in 3rd place meet Nuneaton in 4th for an entertaining finale. The overnight rainfall meant the home staff preparing the training pitch to match standard as the first team pitch was waterlogged. 

Hales fielded a strong side and from  the kick off they were on the attack with head coach Ben Hughes gliding over for a try after 2 minutes, converted by Oli Rayner to lead 7 - 0. Hales continued from the kick off with Max Macfarlane, Tom Jordan and skipper Rich Taylor leading the charge. 

Nuns came back with a well worked try wide out which was converted to draw level 7 - 7.  The home side again went on the attack with scrum half Dave Hadkiss distributing well and keeping on the front foot. Hales backs combined well with centres Ben Barkley and Carl Robinson putting pressure on the visitors defence.  

Wingers Luke Smith and Jay Reid tested the opposition, on 26 minutes Reid was given the ball in space, he sprinted past his opposite man to score for a lead of 12 - 7 at half time.

The second half again saw Hales in command but bad handling and decision making prevented further scores. 

Jay Martin, on for Macfarlane, produced some driving runs with number 8 Steve Leach continually threatening.  Jordan continued to hit his men with crunching tackles with Hughes and [censored] Sawyer taking control of the line out. On 44 minutes the pressure resulted in a penalty to Hales converted by Rayner to lead 15 - 7. 

Joe Oxford came on for the injured Reid, Macfarlane back on for Jordan and prop, Rob (the runner) Butler, on for Matt Young. Hooker Pete Fitzgerald made some incisive runs with full back Hooper again kicking intelligently. The pressure should have seen more scores for Hales but Nuneaton defended well.  

Hales scrum was totally dominant but no more scores were forthcoming. On the final whistle the 15 - 7 score stood but could have been such a different story had the home side taken their opportunities. 

After the game club Vice Chairman Simon Hussey said, "This has been a long difficult season but we should be really proud of our 3rd place position in a league against some strong physical sides. We finished 22 points above Peterborough in 4th place which shows how strong and consistent we have been apart from the odd result. 

I must give credit to Director of Rugby Gary Cox, Team Manager Dan Grant, coaches Ben Hughes and Ben Barkley and physios Esther, Esta and Kimberley for unstinting commitment throughout the season. Also Seb Rose, second team manager and all captains of the senior sides for a successful season for the club. 

Hales first team meet Birmingham Solihull in the semi final of the North Midlands Cup at Portway this Friday 22 April, kick off 7.30 pm

 

2nd team report

 

Nuneaton 2nds 31 - 15  Old Halesonians 2nds

Old Hales had the upper hand during the first ten minutes of the game but couldn’t penetrate the Nuneaton defence. Gradually Nuneaton gained more possession and on 14 minutes they scored close to the posts. The conversion was successful for a 7-0 lead.

Old Hales were awarded a penalty after 24 minutes and elected to go for goal. Luke Fenton landed the kick to make the score 7-3.

A long clearance kick from Old Hales was well taken by the Nuneaton fullback in his own half; he returned a high kick and chased it with purpose. Although Old Hales Jamie Keen was well positioned under the high ball, the tall and rangy Nuneaton fullback collected the ball in mid-air, on landing he raced 25 metres to score under the posts. The try was easily converted for Nuneaton to lead 14-3 at half time.

Old Hales started the second half positively and attacked the Nuneaton line. Tom Harris nearly scored when he weaved his way through a number of defenders but as he crossed the line he was smother tackled and the ball was held up over the line. From the attacking scrum Old Hales moved the ball to the left. Mike Topping carried the ball forward and the backs continued the move, releasing fullback Sam Foster to score wide on the left. Score: 14-8.

Nuneaton produced a good attacking move down the left that stretched the Old Hales defence; as an inside pass was made the Nuneaton centre was tackled off the ball and the referee adjudged that the illegal tackle prevented a certain try and awarded a penalty try. The conversion was made to make the score 21-8.

A good move by Old Hales saw Tom Harris, replacement wing Laured Kalari and Jon Harris combine well, but Jon Harris was tackled just short of the line. A series of scrums close to the Nuneaton line finally resulted in Old Hales driving the scrum over the try line for Mike Topping to score. Luke Fenton added the conversion to narrow the gap to 21-15.

In the last 15 minutes of the game Nuneaton regularly deployed driving mauls. Old Hales were reduced to 13 players when they received two yellow cards for infringements at the mauls. Nuneaton capitalised on this and added a penalty followed by a try from close range to clinch a 31-15 victory.

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Sam Foster, Mike Topping

Conversion: Luke Fenton

Penalty: Luke Fenton

 

Malvern 3rds 46 -34  Old Halesonians 3rds

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