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Old Halesonians Back to Winning Ways

Old Halesonians 1st XV 26 - 24 Lichfield

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2015 01:03pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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Old Halesonians 1st team take the spoils in a battle, made more difficult by wintry conditions. The Old Hales crowd  could have been forgiven for abandoning their team in this weeks round of National 3 at Wassell Grove with weather conditions I can only describe as 'Atrocious'... along with Illness and injury throughout which  forced late changes. 

Bitter Cold driving winds, a muddy pitch and constant rain were the order of the day, obviously not conducive to any champagne rugby.

However, the Home side took the game by the scruff of the neck from the kick off, starting with the first of many Skipper, Richie Taylor tackles on a Lichfield forward causing the ball knocked on giving the Old Hales pack the opportunity to show their dominance in the scrum. The ensuing scrum saw Lichfield being moved backwards giving the back line the chance to run with the ball from the halfway line with Carl and Andy Robinson working their way towards the opposition 22 before Andy finally kicked the ball through a gap for winger Andy Holloway to follow up and dive over the line for the first Try of the day after only 5 minutes. The conversion by Oli Rayner gave Old Hales a 7.....0....lead
The next fifteen minutes saw Old Hales dominate the play with the pack taking four Lichfield lineouts against the throw and continued to dominate the forward exchanges, but were compromised by a combination of over enthusiastic individual play or sometimes the very wet and muddy ball. 
A hamstring injury to Andy Robinson forced the home side to make a change on 17 minutes, bringing player coach Ben Barkley into the fray.
Lichfield finally found themselves able to make progress into the opposition 22 for the first time on 20 minutes when from an excellent penalty kick they found themselves 5 yards out with a lineout, which they won, and mauled the ball over the line for a well worked forward try and conversion.....Old Hales....7......Lichfield......7
It appeared that Lichfield had now found a way to get back into the game with a series of excellent positional kicks from their hard working half backs taking the initiative away from a home side who appeared to be getting more than a little frustrated, by the lack of ball.
Old Hales frustration was fuelled even more when on 25 minutes Lichfield slotted a well taken penalty from 40 yards giving the away side the lead.....Old Hales....7.....Lichfield......10
Smarting from their lack of points despite dominating possession, Old Hales then managed to put together a passage of play on 30 minutes, from Forwards to Backs which included in excess of 16 phases and saw them work their way out to winger Luke Smith who left his marker flailing in the mud before flying over in the corner for a score of Old Hales ....12.....Lichfield.....10
Old Hales continued in the same vein until on 40 minutes and following another 12 phase period of play, they were rewarded with another try. This time by centre Ben Barkley working his way through for the points. The conversion from Oli Rayner gave the home side a half time score Old Hales.......19........Lichfield.....10
The second half started as the first had finished with Old Hales dominating in the pack and working their way towards the Lichfield line where, after yet another tremendous scrum the ball was worked forward in the ruck, until Hooker Sam Jones picked up and drove over for the fourth and bonus point try, again converted by Oli Rayner and what to the crowd was a now unassailable ....26......10......lead.
With the home crowd now expectantly awaiting what they thought was going to be an easy finish to the game it was left to Lichfield to keep the interest going, as yet again it appeared that Old Hales forgot the principles of their game which had got them in the position they were in.
The introduction of debutant Steve Leach replacing the injured try scorer Andy Holloway and a yellow card for a Carl Robinson infringement saw Old Hales reduced to 14 which disrupted the home sides attacking play and gave Lichfield enough of an advantage to score twice during the period, including a penalty try from a lineout maul.
Somehow, and with a lot of credit to Lichfield. What was a dominant performance, was turning into a tense finish with the score at Old Hales ...26....Lichfield.....24 with ten minutes remaining.
The final ten minutes saw Lichfield continue to put pressure on the home side with more tactical kicking that  pinned Old Hales back in their own half,  limiting the home side to a few excellent breaks from Leach, Taylor, and Martin.
With the 'Old Hales Faithful' still reeling from the memory of their previous home encounter which saw a lead squandered, it was with relief that the final whistle brought this Game to an end.

Old Patesians 2nds 25pts  Old Halesonians 2nds 10pts

Old Hales suffered a second league defeat of the season on a wet and blustery day in Gloucestershire.

 

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Chris Harris, Jon Harris

 

Warley  17pts  Old Halesonians 3rds/4ths 45pts

 

Old Hales took on an experienced Warley side and in the first half played up a steep slope with driving wind and rain in their face. It was evident early on that the bulkier Warley forwards were going to cause problems for Old Hales in the scrum all afternoon.

Although Warley had the edge in the close contact play Old Hales had youth and pace on their side. This showed when Liam Kendrick made a break from his own half, Jamie Leech in support carried on the move before passing to Phil Jukes who outpaced the defence to score close to the posts. Steve Deakin landed the conversion. 

Warley fought back and following a series of dominant scrums, the home sided were awarded a try after driving Old Hales back over the try line. 

Following an attack, Warley lost possession and Old Hales centre Phil Jukes collected the ball and sprinted in for his second try. From wide out on the right Steve Deakin’s conversion attempt looked to be sailing through the middle of the posts when a strong gust of wind forced the ball backwards and it fell just short of the posts. Score: 12-5 to Old Hales. 

Warley once again made ground through the set piece and after stretching the Old Hales defence moved the ball wide on the left to score to make it 12-10 at halftime. 

With the slope and wind in their favour in the second half, Old Hales had more attacking opportunities. Scrumhalf George Eccles made one of his usual breaks and when the ball was recycled Phil Jukes was on hand to score his third try of the game. Deakin added the conversion. 

Old Hales were on the attack again and Joe Hagerty offloaded to George Taylor who released Andy Tromans to race 20 metres to the line. Steve Deakin knocked over the conversion for a 26-10 lead. 

Old Hales wing Gary Hardeman, had his wits about him when he intercepted a ball from a Warley move. Hardeman outpaced the defence from 35 metres out to score. 

From the restart Warley kicked directly into touch; from the resulting scrum, George Eccles made a quick break and on the 22 metre line he drew the Warley fullback and passed to George Taylor in support. Taylor scored and Deakin added the conversion for a 38-12 lead. 

A mistake by Old Hales from the kick off allowed Warley to establish themselves in the Old Hales 22. After several attempts to cross the visitor’s line, the Warley prop managed to cross the try line to score a converted try. 

Old Hales bounced back and from an attacking move Tom Shakespear slipped the ball to Jack Linehan who made a powerful run from the halfway live to score under the posts. Steve Deakin kicked his fifth conversion to make the final score 45-17 to Old Hales. 

Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Phil Jukes (3), Andy Tromans, Gary Hardeman, George Taylor, Jack Linehan.

Conversions: Steve Deakin

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