Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Some good news, some not quite so good.

Tue, 30 Mar 2010 10:22

My order of match summaries is slightly different this week, mainly to keep our readers on their toes, which is something that our first team boys should try as , in my humble opinion, we lost against Burntwood not through lack of ability or lack of effort but more as a result of not thinking on our feet.  More later.

Under 16s
played Camp Hill and were narrowly beaten in a competitive game by 21-26.  A special mention to Dave O'Grady (although Egg thinks its O'Brady) who has graduated into our development side.  Dave is a highly committed young lad with a number of yellow cards to his name already.  Good luck Dave and remember to let your rugby ability do the talking!

Under 14s
played at Kings Norton and won in style by 31-10.  This team has shown great potential but without the success they probably deserve.  Well, Pricey and Chicken you now qualify for a drink and Sid has promised to buy them!  A special mention to new player, second row and line-out star, Ejiroo Orhorhoro. Another product of the STA Academy who is also a quality musician, welcome to the club.

Under 12s

also played at Kings Norton and won convincingly.  It was interesting to see ex Old Yards second row Nigel 'Gringo' Walker coaching the young lads and to see them play an open running game remembering Nigel's views on running rugby.  How refreshing!

With the skipper away at skegness for a spring break the report comes from front row enforcer, Mark.  The fixture this week being potentially very difficult against local rivals Woodrush 2nds. We got off to a bad start before the game had begun. Despite Captain Slow giving us all tasks to make sure we had a team, equipment and organisation, over excited at being selected in the back row for the first time in weeks, Roger Lazenby forgot to bring the medical kit and balls. This meant no first aid stuff for our weary bodies.

Having arrived at Woodrush their seconds were already warming up. With Woodrush having an average age of eighteen it looked like a game of bulk against speed. Stand in Captain John Lonie lead his brave men onto the field. In the front row regular props Shannon and Dai were joined by James Woodcock, a young Sils hooker, making his debut for the Vandals. In the second row John was joined by Phil Gouldbourn who continues his impressive season. To match the Woodrush youngsters we had a fast back row of Rob Bastock, Marcus “The Shark” Hope and Roger Lazenby. Phil “The General” Evans marshalled the pack from nine and outside him was Ian Neville. Smoking was joined in the centre by Ed McDonald after a late withdrawal by the Barrel. On the wings we had Kevin Coles making his debut and Tom “Pickle” Mead. The ever reliable Dave Rollins was at fullback. On the bench we had the speed of Arkell backed up by front rowers Billy Bucknall and Rick Lowe.    


From the kick off the Vandals took control taking the ball on and dominating the set pieces. The Woodrush scrum was driven back all game by a dominant Vandals eight. In the lineouts Phil Goldbourn won all of our own throws while The Shark pinched nearly all of the Woodrush throw ins. Then a bad five minutes for the Vandals saw two Woodrush scores. Firstly Smoking gave away a kickable penalty for going into a ruck from the side. He was confused as the ref (in his Woodrush shorts) was letting the home players do this from the start but then penalised Smoking. Woodrush kicked the penalty. 0-3. Almost straight from the kickoff Woodrush scored a try. A Woodrush scum on the Vandals twenty-two was being driven back when the ball popped out to their number ten. He cut inside, passed our chasing back row, to score. The conversion was added. 0-10. Our younger prop Dai had seen enough. He went over to Nev and Ralph and very politely explained how they needed to keep the ball near our big old pack or Woodrush would run riot. They did this and for the next ten minutes it was all Vandals. Our forwards took control of a loose ball just inside our half and then with short punchy drives, rolling mauls and good inter play they took the ball 50 metres up field. Eventually Shannon broke free, fed the ball inside to James Woodcock who went over to the left of the posts with four defenders on him. Ralph missed the conversion. 5-10. With two minutes of the half left the forwards had another 50 metre trundle that resulted in a clever kick by Nev ahead of winger Kev Coles. He outpaced the Woodrush winger, kicked on and dived on the ball to score. Ralph again missed the kick. Half Time 10-10.


Feeling the pace and finding no real challenge in the scrums Dai left the field and Billy “Grainger’s Mentor” Bucknall took to the field for the second half. Nev also had to leave the field to replace one of his eyes. We were allowed an eye-bin replacement as speedster Rick Lowe went on the wing for two minutes (and still paid £3 match subs for those minutes).  The second half saw Woodrush score two quick tries. Firstly Pickle failed to deal with a deep kick and the Woodrush winger dispossessed him before racing in to score. Then a clever cross-kick lead to a score for the Woodrush centre that was converted. 10-22. The Vandals team were in trouble. The ref in his Woodrush shorts was penalising them for anything he could while the home side got away with murder. The usual discipline of our boys meant we were also being marched back ten yards on number occasions. At this point we needed a leader to pull our boys together. Captain John Lonie decided to substitute himself. I’m sure there is a phrase somewhere out leaving a sinking ship?


New Captain Arkell joined the game. The Vandals team got together and decided they were going to play good, hard Old Yardleian rugby to change their fortunes. Things started to improve. The Vandals forwards started taking the ball on again like they did towards the end of the first half. Big holes were made in the Woodrush defence as we worked our way up the field. As the pack got into the Woodrush twenty two The General went left and found Shannon  on the wing. He received the ball, cut inside two players and crossed the try line. Being a prop in a try scoring position he got confused. He tried to beat another player and just ran straight over the dead ball line. A score missed. Still the Vandals continued to press and then got within 1 metre of the Woodrush line. The defenders infringed and the ref signalled penalty advantage. Roger went over to score but the ref disallowed it and gave Woodrush a penalty??? The Vandals were still determined and within minutes they were pressing again. More forward drives took us to within 10 metres of the try line. The ball went right through the backs’ hands and Pickle scored in the corner. Despite two easy misses earlier Ralph redeemed himself by converting from the corner. 17-22. There were now fifteen minutes to go and the Vandals again attacked. The movement broke down and having received verbal’s from his opposite number all game, Rob Bastock introduced him to his elbow. The ref saw it and raised the yellow card. Rob, glad for the rest, took his punishment. Even a man down we continued to dominate with many players enjoying themselves. Arkell kept driving forward swatting off defenders like flies. Shannon was using his famous dummy and Woodrush fell for it every time. This lead to another Vandals score when after another forward trundle Ralph received the ball in space. He sprinted forward drawing in defenders before launching a long pass to Kev Coles on the wing who cut inside to complete his brace of tries. Ralph converted. 24-22. After thirteen minutes in the bin??? Rob was allowed to return to the game for the last two minutes. Intent on making the game safe the Vandals went on the attack again. As well as forward drives centres Smoking and Ed McDonald both made ground making runs. Eventually The General was stopped inches from the line. Our big pack somehow got there and recycled the ball. Nev was in the scrum half position. He took the ball and went to pass the ball out. Instead he gave an outrageous dummy and flopped over the line. Normal service resumed and Ralph missed the kick. 29-22. From the kick off the Vandals secured the ball and put it out to touch followed by the referee signalling the end of the game.            


Man of the match The Shark for destroying the Woodrush lineout, tackling the fast young kids all day while still having the energy to take the ball on during the numerous Vandal drives.

Development XV

Ellwyn, the fine young skipper of our rapidly improving team, has stepped into the dark world of match reporting and his epic piece of journalism will follow shortly.  Yet again all roads from Warwickshire were closed at the weekend and boundary patrols increased as Alcester were due to travel the many miles to Tilehouse Lane but were held at passport control and had to turn back.  Fortunately, Birmingham Wyvern stepped in at short notice to give us a game.  They tend to play a direct and confrontational type of game and usually provide a stern test for our lower sides.  Well. this is how the captain saw the game!

With some pride to restore after being defeated by an unusually strong Wyvern side earlier in the season, the Development XV emerged victorious from a particularly bad tempered encounter. 
  Yards opened the scoring early on when Ashley Johnson, making his debut for the club, went on what was to be a typically strong and skillful run, scything through the Wyvern defence to unselfishly feed Guy Smith who then had little work to do to score.  Captain Ellwyn Male, taking over kicking duties in the absence of a recognised kicker, missed the resulting conversion.  Yards were on the offensive again a short time later Stuart Adams seized upon a mistake from the Wyvern backs.  With the opposition dropping the ball, the confident young centre showed great footballing abilities with a couple of perfectly weighted touches to take the ball just short of the Wyvern tryline, where the ball bounced kindly into his hands leaving Adams to simply dive over.  Male made no mistake with this conversion, the ball creeping inside the near post.
  Wyvern responded with a try of their own after putting pressure on the home team's line.  Having worked the phases well and drawn some excellent defence from Yards, the visitors decided to send the ball out wide, where a great step from the try scorer wrong-footed the otherwise excellent Phil Williams.  With the following conversion attempt successful, the scoreline was narrowed to 12-7, where it stayed until the second half.  However, the remaining ten minutes of the half were far from uneventful.  Not long after the restart flanker Dan Green, celebrating his 18th birthday, was sin-binned for a needless trip on an opponent in full view of the referee.  Wyvern took the initiative and following a poor pass from wing Male to full-back Dave Simpson made their one man advantage count by heaping significant pressure on the Old Yardleians' tryline.  Initially forcing two try saving tackles from the Old Yards scramble defence, the visiting team spent the remainder of the first half on their opponent's five metre line.  With the forwards being marshalled brilliantly by the second row partnership of Chris Rhodes and Dave Langley, Wyvern could not convert this pressure into points, however.  Old Yards defended bravely, hooker Greg Allen taking a scrum against the head following quick thinking from Guy Smith to ground a loose ball, preventing a score.  Regaining possession following an infringement from Wyvern, Yards' stand-in fly-half Jake Curtis did not hesitate in kicking the ball to touch, ending the first half.
  Old Yardleians made a number of changes at half time, with Matt Spence replacing the hard grafting Ollie Wickens in the back row, another new recruit Laurence Edwards slotting in at outside centre in the place of Stuart Adams while John Bosworth made way for Dave O'Brady, making only his second senior start, on the left wing.  Lee Cupples would also replace Dan Green five minutes later when the ten minute sin bin was over.
  From the restart, Wyvern continued from where they had left off in the second half and attacked well.  Once again, however, the visitors were toothless and Old Yards repelled every attack,  grabbing the opportunity to work their way up the field after an overly weighted kick resulted in a 22 drop out.  A penalty awarded 35 metres out from the Wyvern tryline provided a platform for a series of attacks in the visitor's 22.  Eventually Yards achieved what their opponents could not and turned territory and possession into points. Centre Ashley Johnson went on yet another powerful and deft run, leaving a series of defenders in his wake on the way to scoring a magnificent individual try. With Male stroking over the conversion with ease, Yards were left in a commanding position twelve points up with less than twenty minutes remaining.

  However, Wyvern were not out of this game and applied the pressure again with a smartly taken restart kicked short to the backs on the right with the forwards lined up on the left.  Retrieving their own kick they came forward, forcing great tackles from the replacement backs, Edwards and O'Brady, who were aware of the danger amd quick to react.  Wyvern had taken note of the overlaps they were creating out wide and started to provide their backs with ball.  Another fantastic step inside from a Wyvern back brought a superb tackle from loosehead prop Troy Batters, who although wrong footed somehow managed to dive across and get hold of the attacker's ankle, who had created plenty of space for himself and looked certain to score.  Wyvern soon reeled Old Yards in again when the home defence was caught napping, scoring a simple try underneath the posts. The conversion was no problem and game was open again.

  Soon after the restart, hooker Allen was forced off injured and was replaced by Dan Green in an uncontested scrum.  Eager to put the game beyond doubt Old Yards attacked immediately from the restart.  O'Brady ran two great lines from deep on Curtis' inside shoulder, gaining significant ground each time.  Edwards followed suit with a similarly powerful run. Yards continued to threaten the Wyvern tryline, with battering ram Dave Langley making a particularly strong charge through the visitor's defence.  With barely a minute left Dave Hanson, returning from a lengthy lay off through injury came onto the wing, O'Brady moving into the pack in place of the departing Tim Russell.  Old Yardleians were awarded a scrum in front of the Wyvern posts, and the ball was quickly shipped out wide to Hanson who used his fantastic pace to score in the corner.  Following the difficult conversion attempt from the touchline, which had the distance but not the accuracy, the final whistle was blown with the result standing at 24 points to 14 in favour of the Old Yardleians' Second Team.
  This was a well deserved victory for a young side who played as a team refused to be bullied by larger oppostion, and also excelled both in defence and attack.  Man of the Match was awarded to Ashley Johnson for his powerful runs, which earnt him a try and set up Guy Smith's score.  Special mentions go to Phil Williams for some typically solid tackling and Stuart Adams for smart thinking both in attack and defence.

First XV

                  Result:  OY's 13 – Burntwood 23

OY's missed out on an opportunity to reverse an earlier league defeat to Saturday's visitors Burntwood mainly due to uncharacteristic defensive lapses and crucial failures to capitalise on points scoring opportunities.

After two minutes, early mistakes and loose play gave Burntwood a position on the OY's 22, from which the Burntwood stand off took off on an elusive run and assisted by non existent defence, scored a good try wide out to give the visitors an early 0 – 5 lead. From this point, the home side struggled to get their act together in the face of a well organised pack and lively backs, and continued to concede possession by ball carriers becoming isolated and territory by conceding soft penalties.

At 20 minutes, with the game more even as the OY's came back at the visitors with a more solid performance up front, and domination in the lineout, stand off Ben Honey was able to make inroads into Burntwood territory through shrewd tactical kicking from hand, well supported by the chasing backs, however two minutes later, the OY's lineout was penalised for a technical offence, and with the posts in range, the Burntwood kicker made no mistake. Further points were added to the visitor's total when the OY's, in possession and clearing a Burntwood attack from under the posts, conceded a further penalty, seemingly for retaliation following a late tackle. The resultant kick took the score to 0 – 11.

Approaching half time, the home side was now beginning to dominate both in terms of possession and territory; the scrum was taking regular ball against the head, and the lineout solid, and the resulting pressure was eventually rewarded with a penalty to OY's, converted by Ben Honey.

After the restart, with the score at 3- 11, the OY's were well on top, and the visitors under pressure to keep out successive attacks through the backs, well supported by the pack, so that momentum was maintained. Within minutes, play was on the visitor's line, and an efficient forward drive saw lock forward Mickey Brennan break away to drive over for a well deserved try wide out, converted by Ben Honey. The visitors were now in a match, and hanging on just in front with the score at 10 -11. Further pressure presented the OY's with another kickable penalty on the Burntwood 22 for not releasing, which enabled the resurgent OY's to take a deserved lead for the first time in the match at 13 – 11.

Now in command of the match, the OY's were playing the in the visitor's half, and twice positions were gained close to the Burntwood line with the OY's to throw in to the lineout, which they were dominating, but, inexplicably, instead of throwing short to a recognised jumper, an thus guaranteeing possession and a drive for the line, the ball was thrown long, overlong, into the hands of a grateful Burntwood standoff who twice cleared the ball downfield, and twice the opportunity to close out the match was lost.

Into the final quarter of the match, the OY's pack after dominating in the set pieces up to this point, began to run out of gas, and could not secure their own ball without a struggle. Eventually, ball was lost against the head on half way, and a quick feed saw the Burntwood stand off again set off on a mazy run, brushing aside more poor defence to eventually cross over in the corner for his second and unconverted try to bring the score to 13 – 16 after 26 minutes. With the home side now under the hammer, the game was wrapped up twelve minutes later following a second, converted try when ball was secured following broken play, and the visitors swept through now ragged defence to close out the match 13 – 23 to Burntwood

This defeat was a disappointment for the OY's who, despite a bad start against competent opposition, showed good character and determination in coming right back into the match and taking and holding the lead, but then allowed poor tactical decisions to squander real chances to build significantly on that advantage.

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