Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

A Crucial Win At Bloxwich!

Tue, 09 Mar 2010 12:00

First Team Match Report

Opposition: Bloxwich (Away)                 Result:  Bloxwich 5 - OY's 28

6th March 2010

On Saturday, OY's bounced back in convincing style from last weeks disappointing performance against Newcastle (Staffs) with four tries and an improved performance away against a hard and uncompromising Bloxwich side whose forward power gave the OY's problems throughout the match.

The home side's rugged approach to the game was evidenced after six minutes of the first half when a Bloxwich second row forward was yellow carded for over vigorous use of the knee, and with the advantage of numbers, the OY's began to dominate, and enjoy quality possession. Telling breaks were made by Lee Purdey and Mick Brennan, well supported by Steve Grainger. Stand off Ben Honey made good use of quick ball, with the back division well organised to take advantage of some well directed tactical kicking to turn and pressurise the opposition.

After 13 minutes, from a scrum 30 meters out, Lee Purdey took advantage of a poorly defended blind side to make the break, commit the full back and put Adam Walker in for the first try, to be converted by Ben Honey.

Two minutes later, again from good scrum possession on the half way line, Ben Honey worked a short inside pass to left winger Andy Pearce who took the ball at full speed and was through. Again, with only the full back to beat, the pass was well timed to Steve Grainger in support, who made no mistake with a try under the posts, converted by Ben Honey.

Despite now coming under pressure in the tight, sufficient quality ball was being won to pose Bloxwich severe problems, but a golden opportunity to go further ahead was wasted following an aggressive break and drive by Phil Painter into the Bloxwich 22, when the ball was taken back into traffic instead to being fed out to winger Adam Walker, in position unmarked and with the line at his mercy.

Following the break, Bloxwich were right back in the match through their forwards, with the OY's generally outgunned in the tight, struggling to maintain their own lineout possession due to some wayward throwing in, and being driven back in the loose through some well organised forward drives. Although this gave the home side some useable possession, their attacks with the ball in hand were well stifled by solid first line defence up fast with additional harassment being provided by the back row.

On 23 minutes, from possession won on half way, Ben Honey mounted an attack through the backs with fullback Jim Hendricks coming into the line as a decoy runner. Inside centre D Brain's perfect looped pass missed the two players outside him, to be collected by right winger Adam Walker who, this time with men to beat, did so and went over in the corner for his second try. Ben Honey converted well from wide out to bring the score to Bloxwich 0 - OY's 21.

Two minutes later, a midfield break by Steve Grainger was turned over due to lack of support, and to counter, Bloxwich elected to kick ahead, but a misdirected effort went straight to left winger Andy Pearce, who took on the cover from 50 meters out to score a spectacular try in the corner. Ben Honey, who by now couldn’t miss if he tried, made no mistake with the conversion.

On 27 minutes, second row Phil Painter, still nursing a neck injury, gave way to Dave Langley and hard working hooker Billy Bucknall was replaced by Luke Harris. Shortly afterwards fullback J Hendricks, a little out of touch this week, was replaced by A Walker moving from the wing, with his position being filled on the right by the promising Sam Richards

Although Bloxwich continued to dominate the tight, and were still on top in the loose, the OY's were beginning to steal their lineout ball through the efforts of M Brennan, and this, together with very sharp defence stifling any attacks, the home side allowed frustration to creep into their game, to the extent that their Stand off earned himself a red card, for allegedly making a crudely disparaging remark regarding the referee's eyesight.

Five minutes before the end of the match, a second certain try went begging when Steve Grainger, again quickly up in defence, charged down an attempted kick over the top, to find the ball at his feet, and the line at his mercy. An attempt to control the rolling ball and hack it over the line with the feet failed miserably with the ball squirting tamely into touch, underlining the wisdom of his decision to pursue rugby, rather than the round ball game.

Despite the scoreline, and their reduced numbers, Bloxwich were not going to go down without a fight, and to their credit, their forwards continued to batter the OY's up front, taking play to the OY's line. Second row Dave Langley was yellow carded for failing to move away after a tackle, and consequently the OY's, now weakened up front, were unable to contain a determined set scrum drive with the Bloxwich No 8 picking up to score a deserved try in the corner.

With the conversion failing, the match ended with a score of OY's 28 – Bloxwich 5, which was a fair reflection of the OY's dominance in open play despite being under, but coping with, significant pressure up front. The side played to their potential, created good chances and took them well, and can be satisfied with the result, which could have been even more emphatic but for the two missed chances.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, our Development team waited for Aston Old Eds and waited and waited and eventually practised some moves and then retired to the bar.

Vandals v Ason Old Eds

The over 45s aka the Vandals travelled across town to Sunnyside Avenue and played against Aston.  The captain's report follows.  I think that he does himself a lack of justice both as team manager/captain and as a reporter.  There have also been glimpses of rugby playing ability according to rumours.

Our eighteenth competitive game (yes it really has been that many) took us over to Aston Old Edwardian's Sunnybank Avenue ground on Saturday with a pitch in parts that amazingly given the recent wet weather resembled a beach volleyball court.

Having had all manner of problems regarding our front row this week. My original plan for Rog to play tighthead (for the princely sum of a can of Coke & two fingers of fudge for the kids) myself to hook (uncontested obviously) with Shannon playing loose was luckily averted when Ed's third string cried off late having forgotten to ring each other or some such maladministration freeing up John Terry wannabe Greg Allen to dash over to hook.

The back five comprising John & Phil in the boiler room for the eighth time this season and a new back row combination of Nick "the Assassin" Levey & Marcus "the Hit Man" Hope, both living up to their nicknames covering lots of yards and making loads of tackles all afternoon, with "the Major" Rupert Young at No.8.

The General as always providing the link with the attendants, with Gary "Smoking" Williams directing traffic at fly half after a few weeks out and Chairman Fitz at inside centre returning after his gunshot wound, alongside the Exocet Coatesy.

In the back three a welcome first outing for Simon "the Time Lord" Davis on the wing who thought he'd like to treat himself to a game for his 44th birthday, with Ralph (only scrum half to go now) joining him on the opposite wing and Mike "Nearly" Neary as last man standing.

Captain Slow loses the toss and Aston unsurprisingly elect to play up the dune in the first half.

Having had a ten day lay off the first ten or so minutes was a bit of a touchy feely affair with neither side really making any big sand castles, with a lot of cunning international tactics being employed, and the ball being hoofed up hill and down dune.

An interesting match up at 9 saw the General up against a lad young enough to be his love child and not old enough to shave, but Phil showed him that a good oldun can still show a good youngun a thing or two leaving him (and our support) standing on a couple of occasions setting off on several of his now trademark mazy breaks.

Unfortunately, after 12 minutes (very precise he was there) of his comeback Chairman Fitz was again a victim of the sniper on the grassy ok sandy knoll coming off with a pulled calf and Captain Slow comes onto the wing indecently early with Simon moving into centre.

The deadlock was finally broken just after the twenty minute mark when a loose ball in Aston's midfield and just inside their half saw Coatesy pounce and kick ahead collecting the ball from his laces and gassing the defence to score midway out for Ralph to convert for a just about deserved 7-0 lead.

We were unlucky not to increase our lead when Rog rumbled over from short range only to have it disallowed by the ref (in his first game incidentally) after claiming Roger had made contact with him on his way to the line!?

With the Major jumping at two and Big Phil dominating in the middle, our lineout was taking most things aerial in no small part thanks to Greg's throwing in and either snaffling or disrupting anything on Aston's own throw. Similarly our scrummage was more than a match for the Aston eight with increasingly good quality ball following, with both Smokes & Lee making lots of breaks and Simon's baseball bat to Lee's rapier approach breaking all but a few first up tackles.

With about five minutes to half time, we were awarded a penalty about twenty metres out which General Evans takes quickly spinning it to Shannon in support who in turn puts "Nearly" in at the corner for a 12-0 lead. Conversion just missed.

Half Time 12-0

In the opening minutes of the second half our forwards began to exert more and more control and Aston begin to hinder their own cause by breaking their own players; first their young openside with concussion and then their second row with ribs and so are forced to bring on their colossus the aptly named Big Mick who makes Rog look positively anorexic, and who spends most of his time killing the ball by toppling over it. Their play also begins to become increasingly predictable with their fly half opting to kick more often than not, which are all swept up by our back three (don't worry I'll come to mine later).

About ten minutes in sees our forwards camped just short of Aston's line and following a series of short range drives it sees Nick just stopped short but manages to get the pass away to Ralph who shows how it should be done going over wide out. 17-0 Ralph just fails to convert his own work. But we are now well in control.

Then one of those great bits of skill in a game that stays in the mind, the ball was spun out to Simon who appeared to bend the laws of time and space holding the ball it seemed for an eternity completely fixing their defence before releasing the ball to Ralph and we make more valuable yards.

Shortly after another great series of passes sees the ball fly through the hands of the backs to Mike coming in on the overlap to score his second try in the corner. Ralph's conversion is just short. 22-0

With about fifteen minutes to go John opts to collect his slippers and on comes the Colt Arkell, having delayed his appearance by five minutes so as to have another fag.

Another free flowing move in the threequarters sees Slow trying to catch Coatsey's miss pass in his mouth with the try line begging rather than using the bars of soap I was born with, and yes it bloody hurt both my mouth and my pride. I did take the referee to task in the bar afterwards as he had given a knock on and a scrum against us when quite clearly I was trying to outwit the covering defender with an unorthodox but quite legal method of propelling the ball forward, in fact through the tears I noticed the ball ended up going out a few metres from the line and I'm sure we'd have scored from the lineout. Even those mercurial players Gregor Townsend, David Campese and Stuart Barnes had their moments where a piece of brilliant and intuitive piece of skill had come to nought.

Anyway shortly after to make up for it and having seen Mike do it earlier I try to be clever in calling a mark only to see the ball cannon into space off my manly chest for another scrum to Aston. Now can you see why I want to retire!!!
Obviously with the recent controversies in the international game, with only seconds remaining and referee calling last play you can either hoof the ball backwards into touch or execute some daring slight of hand to win the game.....and we opt for the latter (though I would have settled for 22-0). The forwards secure good ball and Phil spins it out to Gary, and onto Simon who pops it back inside to Ralph coming off the wing on the inside and moving like an express train through the gain line, he draws the last defender and pops it to Coatsey who lights 'em up to score (our 80th try of the season) under the posts. Ralph converts.

Final score 29-0 Final age 635

Finally, some stats highest number of Vandals appearances and highest personal points tally is still Ralph with 16 and 98 points respectively, with Coatesy doing it the hard way in second with sixteen tries and 80 points, and he asks that we all start scoring wider out to make it a little more competitive.

Simon was our 59th player of the season with 13 players having now played ten or more times. This was our 13th competitive victory excluding Shannon's Vandals Actuals v Possibles and our Boxing Day lesson in mauling for the under 30's, with just the five losses two of which were by two or less points.

This coming saturday sees a break from league action.  There are 3 home games,  the first team play Harborne,  the Devs host Claverdon 1st xv and the Vandals entertain Claverdon 2nds.  All games kick off at 2.15 pm and admission is free.

Best wishes to the senior members on their mini-tour to Bristol under the leadership of Mr Stephen C Painter(Dip F D).

And finally, my prediction for this weekend's 6 nations matches.  I predict wins for,  Ireland and France and a draw between Scotland and England, and in the round ball code, Arsenal to win again as they make their move on the road to winning the Premiership.



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