Old Halesonians 22 – 8 Syston

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2015 09:53am
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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On yet another match day of driving wind and rain the Hales faithful once again braved the elements for another hard fought bonus point win . A slightly reduced crowd turned up for the start of the second half of the season in National 3 competition against Syston from the East Midlands. 

The Leicestershire Side seemed intent on reversing the result from the last encounter, playing some attractive open rugby with their talented fly half showing some top class kicking and positional play. Hales found themselves once again defending for much of the opening period although the home pack dominated from the kick off. 

What was also obvious was that despite many chances to gain the upper hand Hales wasted kicks and failed to turn pressure into points. Syston seemed set to take their chances when opportunity arose. Hales prop Matt Young replaced an Injured Louis Padian after only 10 minutes, without causing any difference to the dominant scrum. 

And so it was on 30 minutes, and against the run of play, after some open running from man of the match flanker Max Macfarlane the ball was taken into the Syston 22. A scrum resulted enabling the Hales pack to steamroll the ball towards the line with the Syston Pack unable to cope. The referee awarded a penalty try, converted by Oli Rayner to lead 7 - 0. 

Syston to their credit took the game forward again for the remainder of the half and the young side showed true skills and determination . But for a try saving tackle by Hales wing Luke Smith, the visitors would have drawn level, the half time score remained.  

Once again the home players were given the benefit of coach Ben Hughes advice, in no uncertain terms,  as to what was required in the second half. This seemed to do the trick from the kick off with forwards Tom King, Tom Jordan, Jay Martin and Macfarlane making ground. 

After 12 phases of play from a charge led by Tom King, the ball was fed to the ever reliable Jordan who smashed his way over for the second try of the day 12 - 0.
Following injury to Rayner, Coach, Ben Barkley moved to fly half and Andy Holloway to centre with Carl Robinson. 

Hales seemed to put the inconsistency of the first half behind them on 49 minutes. The ball moved through the team with ease before arriving at Luke Smith whose pace was too much for the Syston defence, a  touch down in the corner for the third try to lead 17 - 0. 

With more aspects of play being controlled by Hales it was a well taken penalty which put Syston on the score sheet for the first time on 60 minute 17 - 3. 

After 70 minutes some attacking play from Syston found them in the Hales 22 with players out wide. A brilliant interception of what would have been a certain try saw full back Chris Hooper pass to Holloway who cut through the centres. He off loaded to the unstoppable Smith to dive over for the fourth try and bonus point 22 - 3. 

Hales maintained their dominance but the visitors were not finished, a well-deserved consolation try in the dying minutes saw a final score of 22 - 8 at the end of another wind swept wet day at Wassell Grove.

Once again DIrector of Rugby Gary Cox said, 'We seem to have this knack of dominating throughout the opening stages of games without turning that pressure into points. We need to be more clinical when in command, the second half proves what we are capable of' 

Hales first team have a break until Saturday 2 January 2016 when they meet Birmingham Solihull away in the last stages of the North Midlands Cup, kick off 2 pm


Second team – Syston 26 – 7 Old Halesonians


Old Hales started well; however, a good kicking game helped Syston take control of the game and in quick succession two infringements by Old Hales were punished by well taken penalty goals for a 6-0 lead. Another infringement by Old Hales resulted in a Syston lineout 7 metres from the try line. The lineout was secured and from the ensuing ruck, the ball was released to the right wing who crossed the line to score an unconverted try to make the score 11-0. 

Syston added a converted try and a penalty for a 21-0 lead at half time. 

With the wind in Old Hales favour the second half was a more even game, although the half was smattered with unforced errors. From an Old Hales scrum the ball was lost at the back the resulting turnover saw Syston power over for a try. The conversion was unsuccessful making the score 26-0. 

Old Hales finally took command of the scrum and hooker, Guy Kirkby was more prominent in open play. After several powerful runs Guy ran a good line and burst through the Syston defence to score under the posts. Jake Shellis added the conversion. 

Despite a few more forays into the Syston half Old Hales couldn’t add to their tally and the final score remained at 26-7 to Syston.


Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Guy Kirkby

Conversions: Jake Shellis


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