Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Wednesbury experience a taste of Honey!

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 12:19

First Team Match Report

Opposition: Wednesbury (Home)  Result: OY's 37 – Wednesbury 6

20th March 2010

Having gone down 25 – 5 away in the first meeting between the two sides in the league this season, OY's emphasised their recent return to form by reversing that result with a resounding and stylish 37 – 6 victory at home against mid table Wednesbury.

From the kick off, the OY's established and held significant territorial advantage, and this pattern was maintained for the majority of the game. However tight defence on the part of both teams denied any scoring opportunities until 21 minutes of the first half had elapsed when Ben Honey maintained his impeccable form with the boot by putting OY's ahead with a well taken penalty given for offside.  After 25 minutes, Wednesbury finally made inroads into the OY's half, to draw level with a penalty awarded for not moving away after the tackle. Encouraged, the visitors continued to attack, mainly using their inside centre on the crash ball, but this tactic, which was to be used continually throughout the match, generally came to nothing due to solid 1st line defence on the part of Ben Honey and Dave Rimmer, with Mark  Banyard effective off the back row.

Back in the Wednesbury half from a quickly taken free kick, the visitors were penalised for hands in the ruck, and OY's took the lead to 6 -3. On 40 minutes, aggressive scrummaging by the front row, and in particular prop A. Foy took ball against the head,  a quick feed saw inside centre D Rimmer held up on the visitors line. The resulting scrum to OY's was no contest, and a pushover try credited to Steve Grainger converted by Ben Honey took the half time score to 13 -3 to the OY's

The second half began with the home side on the attack, but five minutes in, cheap penalties enabled the visitors to gain a position in the OY'S 22, from which a further penalty for diving in was awarded under the posts to Wednesbury to bring the score to 13 - 6. Seven minutes later, and attacking in the visitor's half, a good missed move in the backs enabled Adam Walker, in space to put in a well weighted kick ahead. Mark Banyard, in support, secured the ball to get the line going forward again for Steve Grainger in midfield to draw the defence and put Andy Pearce in to touch down near the posts for a converted try, stretching the OY's lead to 20 – 6.

By now well on top, and again playing the game in the Wednesbury half, pressure on the visitors fullback forced a misdirected kick which Joe Patrick turned into attack, making good ground and feeding S Grainger who took the ball to ground for the visitors to concede a penalty under their posts.

With the score at 23 -6 to the OY's, the home side were playing well in all departments, with the lineout and scrum safe, always threatening the visitors' set plays, and good possession enabling the backs to play an expansive game, with plenty of ball reaching the wings.

With half an hour gone, Captain Steve Grainger was taken off with an ankle injury, and Mick Brennan moved to the back row enabling Andy Killarney on as replacement, additionally, Luke Harris took over duties at hooker.

Five minutes later, with the OY's backs running ball at every opportunity, outside centre Joe Patrick, who was having a good match, was held up on the line after making a good break midway out on the left. Quick scrum ball to Ben Honey was fed back inside to winger Andy Pearce coming in at pace, who with men to beat battered his way over under the posts for his second try of the match. The conversion, now a formality for Ben Honey, brought the score to 30 – 6 to the OY's

With the match drawing to a close, and the visitors in possession and in attack on the OY's 22, once again strong defence forced an error which enabled scrum half Lee Purdey to pounce on a loose ball and break through the Wednesbury line, which was flat and moving forward. After committing what was left of the defence, a well timed pass was put to fullback Jim Hendricks in support, who had no trouble in outpacing the chasing opposition over the fifty meters or so between him and the line. Again, Ben Honey made no mistake with the conversion to bring the final score to OY's 37, Wednesbury 6.

This was a good result for the OY's and reflected the performance of a side playing to their potential with confidence, capitalising on chances in all areas, and effectively closing down the efforts of dogged opposition who, despite the score kept going to the end.

The captain of the Development team is still putting together his match report but I gather that they lost narrowly at Old Salts.

Our Vandals(3rds) were, yet again, left without a match due to the Salts crying off at the last moment.  However, super fixture sec. Tom Power managed to get a game against a team who had the same problem as ourselves and we are grateful for Evesham coming to play us at such short notice. Let's see what the captain has to say.

Well our last scheduled home game at Tilehouse Lane saw us in a hastily rearranged fixture against Evesham, Old Saltleians having repeated their November exploits of crying off AGAIN at the last minute; perhaps Mark's conspiracy theory of people actually reading what I write does have a bearing when the end of the week comes around (we know a song about that don't we?)

Well from having four front row players on Friday morning to having none by the afternoon, due to call ups and cry-offs Big Roger again "volunteered" at loosehead alongside Bill Burrows who against medical advice (what do they know anyway?) returned to the side at tighthead (and who has since admitted "grazing in the front row is more fun than I remember"). Then after contacting more old hookers than live in Cheddar Road all without success I turned to the former North Midlands hooking legend that is Steve Sidwell who at 58 really should know better. I'm gonna paraphrase the next twelve hours' selection machinations, but very "unexpectedly" Dai Baldwin became "available" again at Saturday lunchtime (note the judicious use of speech marks here) and the pair agree to job share at hooker.

With Dick & Dom aka John Lonie & Phil Gouldbourn forming the second row partnership for the tenth time this season (John being our most capped forward on sixteen appearances incidentally) and a guy I can't praise I highly enough for his on-field nouse & leadership of our Eight. In the back row our two master tacklers Nick Levey & Marcus Hope with a first Vandals appearance for the former Solihull No.8 Rob Bastock oddly enough at No.8.

With Shaun the Sheep directing operations at scrum half; the guy has his own flock you know and will entertain all conversations mint sauce & ewe's bits if you ask him. Bet he's been glued to the Beeb's recent live lambing shows, remember to wash your hands after shaking his mind. Ian Neville returning to fly half having found being on the wing boring, with Gary Williams & Lee Coates forming our attack minded midfield. The back three remaining unchanged from last week with Cedric Farrell & Phil Watson on the wings and Ralph Rollins at fullback.

Big bench this week (good job too as it turned out) with the Colt Arkell, Alistair Gouldbourn, Matt "Crouchy" Spence, Sid, Captain Slow, and a bit of youth for the backs in Sam Richards, possibly our youngest player of the season at 17.

Now Evesham are a club on the up, their Firsts unbeaten and top of Midlands 4 West (South), and having just made it into the last eight of the National Junior Vase, even their third string are second in their local merit table (wonderful thing the interweb) but I really didn't anticipate the size of the side that faced us on Saturday with some truly hefty lads out there. How often do you see six & a half footers at prop at our level, even if he was a Pole with little or no rugby experience! Their No.5 the size of Warley's lump but with the difference that this one could run and knew what he was doing. With a strong running second row playing at fly half, obviously too bloody small to get in his own boiler room and a largely young set of backs outside him they looked a very handy side.

Thanks to Tom Power for adjudicating, good referees are hard to come by these days, in fact any referees are hard to come by these days.

Was chatting to their young winger as the sides lined up, who'd swiftly noticed that we lined up a "second row" against him, "oh no I said, he really is a winger, you'll see in a bit"....oh how they laughed.

Anyway we kicked off and Cedric wearing his brand new shorts lasted all of three minutes, in fact he probably spent more time changing into them on the touchline than he did on the park, limping off with a leg injury following a tackle and on comes Sam Richards in his highlighter yellow go faster boots for his Vandals debut.

The first five or ten minutes was a bruising affair, with Evesham endlessly hurling their big units at Nick & Marcus, but technically the Hitman & Assassin were just in the right places at the right time making tackle after tackle (the benefits of being fitter than most really showing).

But eventually after about ten minutes the ball was finally spun out wide to Horse on the wing and he promptly ran round the aforementioned young lad giving him the big hand leaving him flat on his face to score under the posts for our first try (told you so). Ralph converts 7-0
The forwards continue to secure good ball and a very similar straight forward set of hands sees Horse gallop in for his second try leaving his hapless opposite number thinking he was in for a long old afternoon; though think he did get close enough to get clattered this time. And then followed much advice from his mates under the posts on how he should stop the behemoth! Ralph continuing in his rich vein of kicking form (yes Lee I know they're all putting them under the posts for him) converts for a 14-0 lead.

Evesham's first try was a bit of of our own making with Lee getting ambitious on the halfway line and taking on not one, not two but three defenders as he tried threading his way though, in the car crash that followed Evesham managed to creatively punt the ball up field winning the race to score but our scramble defence does enough to keep them wide enough out for the kicker to miss the conversion 14-5

Then medium sized Phil (remember we are blessed with three) despite struggling with a touch of cramp goes over out wide for his jug earning hat trick following crisp ball through the hands of Nev, Smoking & Coatesy. Ralph doesn't get this one but we are looking well worth our 19-5 lead. It's a Clash of the Titans still up front with the Apostles Rob, Rog, Bill, Phil, Mark & John giving it large to their opposite numbers in the short yardage exchanges.

A few minutes pass and a high kick fielded expertly by Gouldbourn Snr is passed to Ralph who takes both ball and a BUPA membership, Evesham recycle and whip the ball away to score their second, which is converted 19-12. They're not done yet and press for an equaliser, but there are no further scores.

Halftime 19-12 Dai goes off Sid goes on. Nev has already got got his beanie & coat on by the time he comes to the huddle (but Slow politely points out we'd used up our replacement back) and he goes off to get undressed again. And it appears Bill has seen off his big Eastern European mate.

On we go then for second half playing towards where the beer is, and Horse obviously in the mood decides that three isn't enough and goes and scores his fourth shortly after 24-0 Conversion missed. Slow rings a couple of changes first on comes the Icon Arkell replacing Nick on the flank, followed not long after by Crouchy on for Marcus, our starting flankers both having tackled themselves to a standstill. Next Shannon comes on having sped back from a North Mids meeting at Stourbridge to slot in at loosehead with Rog moving into steerage and Rob coming off for a well earned rest.

Our top try scorer Coatesy obviously now feeling threatened by Horse's exploits decides enough is enough and decides he's not going to pass to him anymore and sets about scoring a quick fire individual brace ghosting round/though/past (delete as appropriate) defenders and leaving them for dead, with Ralph converting the second for an unassailable 36-12 lead. Alistair Gouldbourn on to join big brother in the engine room and John comes off, our pack getting larger by the minute until Big Phil comes off complaining about a pain in his backside??!! Captain on deck, and Arks moves into the second row. Tom also goes off to be replaced by Mark with the whistle for the final quarter.

Now our final score I saw lying down (resting obviously, these cameos really taking it out of me) despite lots of pressure by our forwards in front of their posts Evesham manage to punt the ball directly out from behind their line I watch the ball travel over my head only to see it seemingly instantaneously returning in the opposite direction and bisecting the uprights, it having landed in Ralph's hands who decided to score our season's first drop goal.

Final score 39-12  Final age 621

Man of the match Phil Watson for his four try haul and his unprompted buying of the beer afterwards.

Up Saturday at home are local neighbours Woodrush 2nds, I myself will be on the Cruise Liner Island Escape sailing to Las Palmas Gran Canaria investigating possible future tour locations all around the Canaries & Morocco....the things I do for you lot.

No Vandals game Easter Saturday 3rd April.

Thanks too to Ralph and his photographic memory in the writing of this report.

One final thing our young winger Sam chipped a bone in his foot playing the round ball game on Sunday (remember when we used to play two games a weekend) they just don't make boots like they used to, especially bright yellow ones! We wish him a speedy recovery.

Sunday Morning

For once the weather was on our side and the under 16 boys made the trip to Stratford.  Academy star Daniel Cushing informs me that it was a good and closely fought game and that we narrowly lost 12-15.  I must mention that Dan actually played roundball for the academy (St. Thomas Aquinas for those without such knowledge) and came off the bench to play target man up front. Dan didn't quite score but worked hard in a 3-0 win over Colmers Farm.  Also, well played Jack Molloy in the same game.

The under 8s entertained Edwardians in what Shannon describes as a very open and high scoring match.  He lost count of the score but informs me that everyone scored a lot of tries.

As I live close enough to the Eds to walk there, I decided to take the car around to  Streetsbrook road to watch a fascinating 3 way contest between the under 14 teams of Yards, Eds and Bees.  I am not exactly certain of the scores as I was distracted by much friendly conversation and also by Chicken's non-stop vocal encouragement and tactical advice.  Bolstered by county squad players Ben and Reece from the Academy the Ys played a lot of good attacking rugby but with less emphasis on defence.  Our first game was against the Eds then we combined with the Bees to beat the Eds and then we should have played the Bees but the bar was open.  Good weather, good fun, enjoyable rugby and, as usual, good hospitality from the hosts.
A special thanks to the Price boys, Steve and Paul' without whom, there would be no teams.

No predictions this week as Shannon says that I'm becoming too good.  Just to say that if Arsenal don't beat The Blues then I will be sicker than a parrot, even sicker than a colt on tour!


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