Tough Away Weekend for Old Hales

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2015 10:00am
Hagley, Bromsgrove
By Mark Jackson
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First Team - Hinckley 20 – 17 Old Halesonians

This was to be the most difficult challenge so far for Hales after a close defeat last week against rivals Bromsgrove. The scene was set against the Leicestershire side who have yet to lose in the league.
The visitors were prepared to front up and did so from the kick off. Hinckley immediately tried to impose their forward power with catch and driving mauls but Hales were up to the challenge.
To a man, the Hales players tackled, disrupted, defended and drove into the opposition who were struggling to control. Such was the pressure the home side were penalised twice for foul play but the kicks were missed.  The game was even for the first 20 minutes with both sides giving their all. 
The visitors led by Tom Jordan, Max Macfarlane and man of the match Loz Breese tackled and made serious ground on the home defence. However Hales were penalised allowing Hinckley to convert and lead 3 - 0.
Such was the intensity from both sides the first half ended with neither team giving way. The second half was more entertaining with both sides competing for every ball. The first part of the half saw Hales missing the odd tackle resulting in a unconverted try for the home side to lead 8 - 0.
Hales came back from the kick off and a solid set scrum allowed scrum half Dave Hadkiss to keep his backs on the front foot.  Hinckley were penalised at a loose maul which Chris Hooper converted for an 8 - 3 score. 
The home side came back with strong forward drives supported by backs for an unconverted try to lead 13 - 3. This gave Hales a chance to fight back with a dominant pack providing good ball which Dave Hadkiss exploited for an individual break and try, converted by Hooper 13 - 10.
Hales were fired up and refused to let the home side dominate, the game was in favour of Hales for most of the last quarter. Against the run of play, a misunderstanding by two Hales players from a Hinckley kick off saw the ball run free for a pick up and converted try for the home side to lead 20 - 10.
Hales again refused to lie down and in fact were dominant for the rest of the game. A penalty put in the corner by Hooper led to a line out, hooker Sam Jones to Tom King with a catch and drive. Hinckley were under pressure and collapsed the maul resulting in the referee awarding a penalty try converted by Hooper for a score of 20 - 17.
There were 6 minutes left and Hales were in command although the time on the clock was not  enough to change the score. Hales ended with a losing bonus point but showed that there is little to choose between the two sides and in fact Hales deserved to win the game.
Head Coach Ben Hughes said ' I congratulated the Hales team who gave a great account of themselves today and an indication of the small margins that will decide games such as this'.
Next Saturday Old Hales first team play Lichfield at home, kick off 2.15 pm



Second team - Hinckley 2nds 33 -17 Old Halesonians 2nds


Old Hales faced a tough game on a bitterly cold afternoon in Hinckley.

Hinckley were obviously fired up for this top of the table clash and attacked from the off. Following a period of sustained pressure the home side moved the ball quickly for their outside centre to score an unconverted try after 7 minutes of play.

Hinckley continued to dominate possession and looked good with ball in hand. After some good interplay the Old Hales defence was stretched and the Hinckley inside centre went over for an unopposed try. The conversion was successful for a 12-0 lead.

As always the Old Hales scrum was strong and this helped to get them back into the game. A series of infringements by Hinckley allowed Old Hales to move deep into the oppositions half. From a lineout Old Hales took clean ball and set up a powerful driving maul; as the maul crossed the line Harry Higgs dropped to ground with the ball to score. Luke Fenton stepped up to land the conversion. With 17 minutes gone the score was 12-7. 

Old Hales now seemed to have more belief and the game was in the balance. Alex Herbert stopped Hinckley’s abrasive backrow player with a thumping tackle; following the tackle Herbert received an unwarranted kick to the head. The referee adjudged the incident foul play and gave the Hinckley player a yellow card. 

Once again Old Hales moved up field and from a penalty awarded 30 metres out, Luke Fenton confidently kicked the penalty to make the score 12-10.

With only a few minutes of the first half remaining the ball fell into the hands of Guy Field from a disrupted lineout. Field ran the 20 metres to the Hinckley try and dived over the try line. The referee initially awarded the try; however, after a discussion with linesman he changed his decision to a lineout for a foot in touch. The half time score was 12-10 to Hinckley. 

With the slope and the wind in their favour Hinckley started the second half the better of the two teams. After a prolonged period attacking the Old Hales line, their No.13 crossed for a try close to the posts that was easily converted. This was quickly followed by another try when the No.12 attacked at speed before switching inside to the fullback who split the defence to score a converted try for a 26-10 lead. 

Old Hales fought back and they were rewarded when a driving maul close to the Hinckley line was illegally brought down and the referee had no hesitation to award a penalty try. Luke Fenton converted from under the posts. 

Hinckley had the last say when their prop took advantage of the downhill slope to burst through the Old Hales defence before off-loading for a try to be scored in the left corner. The try was accurately converted to make the final score 33-17 to Hinckley.


Old Hales scorers:

Tries: Harry Higgs, Penalty Try

Conversions: Luke Fenton (2)

Penalty: Luke Fenton

Photo: File pic


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