Syston 13 -31 Old Halesonians

Old Hales Stick Together

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2015 10:46pm
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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Old Hales travelled to Syston this week, both teams with much deserved confidence following successful starts to their campaigns.

Straight from the off Max Macfarlane set the standard with a devastating break from his own half into Syston’s 22. Two quick phases orchestrated by Dave Hadkiss put Luke Smith in the corner for a try within minutes of kick off, conversion missed by Chris Hooper.

This allowed the Old hales confidence to show and the pack started to set their dominance with some strong upfront tackling and dominating possession in the Syston 22. From here, a well worked line out allowed the backs to put a few phases together and a slick pass from Dave Hadkiss put Luke Smith in the corner for his second try with 10mins, conversion missed. Syston 0 – 10 Old Hales.

Syston seemed to regroup to settle into the game, working themselves into the Old Hales half for the first time, they forced a penalty and decided to take the points. Syston 3 – 10 Old Hales.

With continued hard work and determination, Syston started playing to their strengths by bring their back 3 into the game, opting to kick deep into the Old Hales half, putting pressure on full back Chris Hooper. Old Hales choosing to run it back at Syston, forced penalties in their half. Still feeling confident, Old Hales opted to kick for the corners. Syston’s continued work rate in defence left a dominate Halesonians with nothing to show for it. 

This lead to a spell of Syston possession and a well-deserved  converted try with 12 minutes left of the half. Syston continued to add pressure with their kicking game forcing a penalty, taking the points and taking the lead. Syston 13 – 10 Old Hales.

Stern words from Welshman Owen Jones fired up the Old Hales side who now knew they had a game on their hands. Lawrence Breeze and Tom King took control to mount a quick response with strong powerful runs into the Syston 22 from the restart. Peter Fitzgerald joined the party and drove hard into the Syston defence scoring a try under the posts. Chris Hooper, finding his focus and converting just before half time. Syston 13 – 17 Old Hales.

Director of Rugby, Gary Cox and Head Coach, Ben Hughes took the half time break to refocus the Old Hales team, encouraging them to play to their strengths by applying a more structured and clinical second half. 

The Old Hales pack responded well and dominated the scrum with their superior power and size. Talisman, Dave Hadkiss, drummed up the phases supplying Max Macfarlane for his 1st try in an Old Hales shirt. Converted by Chris Hooper, who was now well into his grove. Syston 13 – 24 Old Hales.

The Old Hales backs, Joe Oxford and the Robinson brothers took it upon themselves to apply even more pressure with strong runs conducted by an out of position, Ben Barkley. Driving Syston deep into their 22. Three unforgiving scums from the Old Hales pack five yards from the try line gave Owen Jones the platform to pick up from the base to score a converted try.

With 20 minutes left to play a young Syston team refused to lie down for the rest of the game. Old Hales calmed a second bonus score win. Final score finished, Syston 13 -31 Old Hales.

First team manager, Dan Grant said “We came against a young hard working Syston side that aren’t used to losing during last year’s promotional season. As a squad we managed to work to our strengths but this early in the season we can still see plenty to work on.”

Old Hales play their first home game of the season this Saturday against Old Northamptonians at 3pm.


Second team score - Old Hales 2nds 26 - 5 Syston 2nds


From the outset it was clear that the two teams were well matched, with the exception of the set piece scrum which Old Hales controlled all game.

The first twenty minutes were closely fought, with Hales open side Sol Rogers making some bone crunching tackles. The first score came after 23 minutes; Old Hales won an attacking scrum on the right, No.8 Alex Gordon took the ball from the base of the scrum and made his way to the line. The ball was moved to the right and found Hales speedy wing Jay Reid who scored an unconverted try in the corner.

Within the next 5 minutes Old Hales went further ahead from a scrum 20 metres into their own half. The ball was quickly passed to the right to find Reid who streaked through the Syston defence and after drawing their fullback he slipped the ball to Jack Keeling in support. Keeling raced to the line to score with the Syston cover defence hot on his heels. Sam Vaughan converted the try from close range.

Syston got back into the game, testing the Old Hales defence. The visitors were awarded a free kick 20 metres out; their No. 3 took the ball at speed and ran through the Old Hales defence to score. The conversion was unsuccessful. Half time score 12-5 to Old Halesonians.

After only three minutes of the second half, hooker, Sam Jones ripped the ball from a Syston player 20 metres inside the Hales half. The ball reached centre Ollie Kealey, who made a decisive break through the Syston defence before passing to Jay Reid on the halfway line. Reid hit the gas and outstripped the quick Syston defence to score a fine try close to the posts; Sam Vaughan added the conversion for a 19-5 lead.

Old Hales continued testing the Syston defence with prop Tom Dempsey being used well in open play to drive the home side forward. An attacking scrum close to the Syston try line allowed Old Hales get the ball quickly to inside centre Matt Williams who showed determined aggression to crash though the Syston defence to score; once again Vaughan added the conversion for a score of 26-5.

Syston spent the vast majority of the final 15 minutes in the Old Hales half; however, the home side worked hard in defence, particularly after they were reduced to 14 men when Matt Williams received a yellow card for an infringement within 5 metres of his own line. The Old Hales defence held out for a well deserved 26-5 victory.

The heat turns up next weekend when Old Hales 2nds travel to face last season’s league champions Luctonians 2nds.

Tries: James Reid (2), Jack Keeling, Matt Williams

Conversions: Sam Vaughan (3)


Third team score - DKRFC Development (2nds)  55 - 0  Old Hales 3rds


Old Hales 3rds were looking forward to a close encounter in this friendly fixture against DKs 3rd team; unfortunately DK’s 2nds didn’t have a game arranged so the inevitable happened. DK’s pack dominated the game and starved Old Hales of meaningful possession all game. Although Old Hales defended manfully, DK crossed their try line regularly throughout the afternoon.

Fourth team score - Old Hales 4ths 65 - 17 Bournville 3rds

Old Hales took the field with high hopes, a good mix of youth and experience and a quick set of backs. The home side crossed Bournville’s try line regularly throughout the afternoon, scoring eleven tries and five conversions. Bournville never gave in and contributed to the game with three tries of their own.

Tries: Alex Herbert (2), Jamie Leech (2), Brad Vernon (2), Dave Wakefield, Callum Roberts, Martin Field, S Greenwood, Dave Glover

Conversions: Dave Wakefield, Billy Taylor, Alex Herbert

 Photo: File pic


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