Old Hales Take North Midlands Cup

Whitchurch 6 - 52 Old Halesonians

Last Updated: May 14, 2015 08:28pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Simon Hussey
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The North Midlands Cup finals day at Dudley Kingswinford was a great setting for the Hales faithful who travelled in their hoards to support the first team in its pinnacle of the season. Hales had never won this title since its inception 43 years ago in 1972.

The Hales side were determined to make this happen, the players arrived in good time, Captain Tom Jordan, Director of Rugby, Gary Cox, Head Coach Mark Evans, Backs  Coach, Matt Williams and Manager Simon Hussey ensured focus before the kick off. Preparation was fierce, the players took the field in positive mood.   
A poignant pre match minute of silence was agreed to mark the sudden passing of club member and supporter Phil Dempsey, Father of Tom, who was playing today at Loose Head Prop. This added to the determination of the team in support of their team mate and friend.
Hales attacked from the kick off but it was clear Whitchurch were never going to lay down and give up their opportunity of an upset. A nervous start by Hales allowed Whitchurch a penalty which they took to lead 3 - 0. Hales then put their mark on the game, only two minutes later a scrum ball taken by Peter Fitzgerald against the Whitchurch head, Scrum  Half Nathan Jones in control.
The ball was fed to Matt Williams at 10 to Carl Robinson at Centre who sliced through the opposition backs for a try converted by Chris Hooper to lead 3 - 7. The Hales side started to dominate with telling runs by forwards Tom King, Guy Field, Loz Breese and Tom Jordan. After another ten minutes, line out ball won by Mark Evans, Jones and Williams again feeding man of the match Carl Robinson with  more space for the powerful centre to score his second try, converted by Hooper to lead 3 - 14.
A short time later injury struck Hales Hooker Pete Fitzgerald leaving the field with two broken ribs. He had been dominant in the scrum at this point and was devastated to leave the field. Replacement Bobby Moxon immediately got involved in the fray.
This made no difference to the dominance of Hales who again worked the phases with Evans and Jordan leading the charge with props Matt Young and Tom Dempsey in regular contact. Just a few minutes later wing Luke Smith received the ball out wide, sprinted past the defenders for a try in the corner for a lead 3 - 19.
Hales attacked at will, backs Williams, Centre Brothers Carl and Andy Robinson supported by Hooper caused problems for the Whitchurch defence.  A wide ball to wing Warren Oliver saw him slip through the defence for a try converted  by Hooper for a half time lead 3 - 26.
The half time talk was to be more of the same for Hales, Whitchurch forced another penalty which was converted 6 - 26. However their hopes were dashed when secured ball by the Hales forwards gave backs the ball to Oliver again  on the wing to score, converted by Hooper to lead 6 - 33. 
The next period gave DOR Cox the opportunity to give the bench players a run. Dan Young for Field and Andy Holloway for Hooper, the Hales pressure continued with Breeze finding himself in oceans of space for a typical try which he converted himself for a 6 - 40 lead.
More Hales replacements joined the game, Chris Harris for Nathan Jones and Chris Deeks for the Prop Forward find of the season,  Matt Young and Joe Oxford for Oliver on the wing. Again Hales in the ascendancy attacked at will, Smith again on the end of some great inter passing with Evans, Williams and the Robinson's scored in the corner 6 - 45.
The final move of the game saw Smith again out wide receiving a ball in his own half. He out sprinted two defenders to run the length of the field for hat trick of tries, converted by Holloway on the final whistle for a well deserved victory 6 - 52.
The Hales team and supporters were rightly ecstatic with the result, Captain Tom Jordan received the Cup on behalf of the club and the North Midlands Award for player of the game went to Carl Robinson which came as no surprise. 
Team Manager Simon Hussey played tribute to the first team squad and the club for their efforts throughout the season. He said, "To finish 5th in a very competitive National League and cap that with our first ever silverware in the Cup is a brilliant end to our season. 
This is largely due to the efforts of Director of Rugby Gary Cox who has led from the front yet again. Also Head Coach Mark Evans who has worked tirelessly throughout the closed and playing season, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Also Matt Williams for assisting with coaching, looking after the backs and playing a vital part on and off the field. 
I don't single out players who have all been excellent throughout the season but I do mention Tom Jordan for his leadership by example on and off the field, a fine ambassador for this club. Today gave me immense pride and I hope we can move into next season in the same vein, we must maintain our momentum but make sure we do that as an inclusive club.
The club AGM is to be held at the clubhouse on Thursday 14 May commencing at 7.30 pm, also the players dinner is due to be held on Friday 3 July.


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