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Old Hales Lose to Battling Sandbach

Sandbach 37 - 24 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2015 05:16pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Simon Hussey
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Hales travelled to Cheshire for a difficult contest against a fit open running Sandbach team and backs that ran everything from everywhere.  
Hales took the initial exchanges and put pressure on the home defence. Sandbach came back and forced an early penalty to lead 3 - 0.
After 6 minutes the home side again took the game forward, their backs causing trouble for Hales defence. They scored a well worked try converted for a 10 - 0 lead,
Hales needed to improve, fly half Gareth Bown took a late hit off the ball and sprained his ankle. He stayed on but this was the start of the teams injuries  during the game. 
After 16 minutes a scrum close to the Sandbach 22 saw Hales dominant, a break blindside by scrum half Callum Young fed wing Warren Oliver for a try 10 - 5. This needed to be the turning point for Hales but Sandbach had other ideas. 
The away side were penalised on 23 minutes, Sandbach converted 13 - 5. From the restart Hales were again having to defend. They lost second row Guy Field with knee trouble and flanker Loz Breese who was concussed in a tackle. 
They were replaced by Mark Evans and Tom Jordan respectively. Sandbach took the initiative with a well worked try, converted for a 20 - 5 lead at half time. 
Evans and Taylor rallied the players and the second half started more positive. The forwards with front row Louis Padian, Pete Fitzgerald  and Rich Taylor dominated the opposite front row. 
This gave a platform for the backs, Young at scrum half gave excellent service through Bown to the Robinson Brothers Carl and Andy who pressured the opposite backs. An away penalty ensure which full back Chris Hooper conveyed 20 - 8.
On 51 minutes strong forward play by Jay Martin, Jordan, Fitzgerald and Evans produced good ball to the backs. Callum Young combined well to feed Fitzgerald to Martin to  Luke Smith who sprinted for the line for a well worked try. Hooper converted for a 20 - 15 score.
From the kick off Hales again in the ascendancy, Hooper and Bown kicking well for position. Pressure again saw three penalties in succession given away by Sandbach.  Hooper converted all three for a lead of 20 - 24.
Could this be a remarkable fight back, Hales needed to retain composure. Rich Taylor was replaced by Tom Dempsey at tight head and the Hales pressure was maintained up until 10 minutes from time. 
Then Sandbach fought back again with some incisive running forcing a penalty to bring the score to 23 - 24. 
The home side continued and the Hales defence were under pressure, a loose maul wide out, the home wing took the blind side for a converted try 30 - 24.
Only 5 minutes to go, Hales tried for a deciding score. Sandbach kicked through the defence, the chasing wing outpaced the Hales players to score the deciding try which was converted for a 37 - 24 victory.
A cruel blow for Hales who sit 6th in the league. The next league game is this Saturday at home to Scunthorpe, kick off 2.15 pm
 

Old Halesonians 2nds v Bromsgrove 2nds – Postponed due to waterlogged pitch

 

Bournville 3rds  7pts  Old Halesonians 3rds  36pts

Match Report by Dan Hunt

 

Old Hales had the disadvantage of playing up a very steep slope at Metchley Park in the first half. Even so Hales took an early lead when Liam Kendrick scored a try and Gaz Price added the conversion.

Both teams fought it out manfully on a sticky pitch for the next 15 minutes before the referee awarded a penalty to the visitors in range of the posts. Gaz Price stepped up and added the three points for a 10-0 lead.

Bournville came back with some good play and before half time they scored a try after their backs broke through the Old Hales defence. The conversion was successful making the score 10-7 to Old Hales.

In the second half with the steep slope in their favour Old Hales took greater control of the game.

Following an elusive run from George Eccles, the forwards carried the ball towards the Bournville try line only to be stopped short by strong defensive play. Shortly after, from a Bournville scrum, Hales took the ball against the head and attacked down the right. Old Hales formed a driving maul and as it reached the Bournville try line Rob Butler scored from short range and Gaz Price added the extras.

The Old Hales superior scrum and maul were now playing a big part in the game. An attacking scrum was well controlled by replacement No.8 Pete Lewis and as the ball crossed the Bournville line Lewis pounced on the ball to score.

The pattern was now set and Old Hales forwards continued to dominate the scrum and rumble forward in the maul. From another driving maul, Connor Leahy secured the ball at the back and has he crossed the line he dropped with the ball to score. Price added the conversion for a 29-7 lead.

Although the forwards were scoring the tries, the backs were playing their part in the game with captain, Lee Davis leading the attacking play and wings Callum Roberts and Nathan Newman making good ground.

Late in the second half, Old Hales replacement prop, Harry Higgs, got in on the act and after another driving maul Higgs forced the ball down as the maul crossed the try line. Once again Gaz Price slotted over the conversion to make the final score 36-7.

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Liam Kendrick, Rob Butler, Pete Lewis, Connor Leahy, Harry Higgs 

Conversions: Andy Gaz Price (4)

Penalty: Gaz Price

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Redditch 3rds  0pts  Old Halesonians 4ths  34pts

Old Hales 4ths had a good win away at Redditch scoring 34 points and their defence didn't allow the opposition to score a point.


Photo: File pic

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