Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Let's take a look at the Vandals

Wed, 14 Apr 2010 03:06

Who are the Vandals? and why are they so named? Well, I don't honestly know the answers other than that in their present format they tend to play 3rd team fixtures and vets fixtures where available.  If you really (sadly) want to know the history of the name then drop into the club and for the price of a pint put the question to Dave Dixon, Kiwi or Richard Walker but leave yourself plenty of time!

This season under the guiding hand of Martyn (slow) Cartwright a fine blend of senior players, recently graduated colts and new friends from disappearing teams have put together some fine performances.  The anoraks (Dave Jenkins) will probably bore you to sleep with the vets team of the mid 1990s who went through the entire season unbeaten with one match against Cannock 1sts left to play.  Then comes the bit about us needing a converted try to win with one minute to play.  A younger Dave Adams then scorched over for a try in the corner (not quite Lee Coates speed but fairly quick).  A succesful conversion from fairly wide out would do the trick but the kicker, who will remain nameless, was narrowly wide and even though he scored over 360 points that season, the 2 missing points are still talked about.

Out with the past and on to this week. To begin with Shannon had to referee and with a touch judge on the international panel to assist, Mr Killarney was excellent although Coatsey may have disagreed on one decision.  The opposition, Redditch Vets or Exiles are always very strong, skillful and a fine bunch of lads.  They also always beat us.  Well, as you are about to read, the trend has been reversed.

A very sunny & warm Saturday saw the Vandals in one more "last" home game at Tilehouse Lane in a pool fixture against Redditch Exiles, a side much like our own, of battle hardened older lads with the odd youngster to do the leg work and resplendent in their traditional predominantly pink strip; Fitzy in his own pink shirt blending in nicely on the touchline and causing some confusion amongst our lady viewers (of which there were many, mainly down to Ali G having his own travelling Glee Club).
With Shaun the Sheep off checking out mountain goats in the Alps it gave Dave Rollins the opportunity to play scrum half and to complete the set of threequarter positions for the season having played at fly half, centre, wing & fullback this season. Another couple of notable absentees this week being the Nousemeister John Lonie lending it to the Ones and Dai Baldwin taking a few weeks rest in the Caribbean at a friend's wedding!
And with Shannon being press-ganged into refereeing this meant an opportunity for Tim "Love Machine" Russell (check out that seriously vain tattoo) to join Rick "the Pubic Tube" Lowe (ask him) & Bill "the Enforcer" Burrows in the front row. A new partner in the boiler room then for Phil "Shooter" Gouldbourn in the shape of Chris Rhodes, and a back row of Rupert "the Major" Young, Marcus "the Shark" Hope and Robert "Barstool" Bastock (got that little gem off his Solihull player profile, and apparently he is also prone to saying "I'm too old for this"....aren't we all).
Outside Ralph lurked outside half Ian "Bambi" Neville, centres Gary "Smoking" Williams and a debut for Ashley Johnson (someone in our side still young enough to train), with the human Exocet that is Coatesy & Ellwyn "Egg" Male on the wings, and  Mike "the Scythe" Neary cleaning up the mess at the back.
Now there has been much discussion within the Western Hemisphere nations that the All Blacks Haka gives the New Zealanders a psychological advantage over their opponents so it is understandable that the Redditch boys' pre-match rendition of the Hokey Cokey gave them a similar advantage, as within ten minutes of our kicking off we were ten points down. This being down to some soft tackling on their large unit playing in the centre who bludgeoned his way through forwards and backs alike on numerous occasions in the first quarter (that is until he finally reached Mike who despite not being the tallest member of the side showed how it's done and felled him like a great Redwood)
But for those who are interested, Redditch opt to change ends and Vandals get to kick off. Redditch take it to us from the start, using their big inside centre to good effect. Within five minutes they are awarded a lineout just inside our ten metre and from it their fly half makes a clean break through our defence and spins it out to his winger in support who goes over wide out. 0-5 conversion missed.
Not long after an optimistic kick ahead by the Exiles fly half remains tantalisingly just inside touch and a yard or two out from our line Egg scrambles back but is outnumbered two to one and gets turned over and Redditch flop over for their second try 0-10 conversion again missed.
Slow is pacing the touchline like an expectant father, but we've been here before. And Gradually our scrum begins to exert more and more pressure on their counterparts and the Pube Tube gets the first of his three against the head in the first half; Ralph spins the ball out to Nev, and then to Smokes whose excellent timed flat pass sees Ash break through the Redditch defence to find Coatesy in space & support and he lights them up to score our first. 5-10 Conversion narrowly missed. Lee's number 11 shirt torn to shreds in the process goes off to intensive care as a result (my other half says she can rebuild it but it will never look quite the same).
Minutes later the try that never was when Coatesy, following some great passing through the hands of the Attendants ran best part of half the pitch to "score" under the posts, only to be hauled back to the half way line for us to be given a scrum following an earlier infringement (that's code for Barstool having some post-op fun & games). Anyway Shannon obviously using one of those new fangled Southern Hemisphere ELV's opted for Law 19 Section 9 Para 32 Sub-section B Point 6.......Q  (no I didn't know this one either) "Try there or scrum back here"...so scrum to us ...which whilst technically proved Barstool's innocence did nothing for Coatsey's mood!!! But we must remember, especially our first team, that the ref is the sole judge of fact.  In other words, he's right even when he's wrong!
Still we are just about warmed up now and starting to play some good rugby but it isn't until about 30 minutes in that Coatesy takes another excellent flat pass on the Redditch ten metre and has simply too much gas for the Redditch cover defence and scorches in under the posts to make it easy for Ralph. 12-10 and normal service if a little late is resumed. 
Barstool now seems like he's taking it to their fly half at every other scrum with the Shark ever present in his wake, as our back row also start to dominate. Our lineout with Rhodesy, the Major & Shooter are snaffling most things Rick can throw (occasionally straight) at them and disrupting the Redditch on their throw in.
Half time 12-10 and just about worth it, lots of fluids on board, and lots of words spoken by all.Captain Slow rings a few changes, partly to bring some younger legs on (of which we had several pairs and would, given the conditions have been foolish not to), so Jake Curtis on for Nev, Yards & Ashby leg-end Sean Kenwrick on for Smokes, Ash moving out to take Egg's wing and Laurence Edwards filling the outside centre's berth. In the pack the Pube Tube comes off and on comes Greg "Swiss-Army knife" Allen at hooker.
Not long after the resumption good ball secured by the forwards sees it flow quickly through the hands of Jake, Sean & Laurence to once more set Lee free to score his hat trick and our 100th try of the season, Ralph again converts 19-10.
Shortly after it's Ash's turn as he goes on a tackle breaking run to score under the posts, Ralph converts 26-10 and it seems like we're beginning to run away with it, as Redditch start to struggle with the pace of our free-running backs.
Ten minutes in and Barstool nursing a shoulder comes off and Gouldbourn the younger comes in at number 8, no weight loss there then!
But Redditch aren't quite finished and following a lineout inside our twenty two a series of drives sees them awarded a scrum five metres out and from it their hard working No.8 goes over finally eluding our hard working back row. 26-15. The kicking boots again left at home, but only a couple of scores in it.
Within minutes however Coatesy goes over for his fourth and again Ralph converts for a now seemingly unassailable 33-15 lead, and with that Lee retires to bask in the sunshine and to show off his washboard to the ladies and living legend Dave "Chicken" Hanson makes a welcome return to action and slots in on the wing to test out his wooden knee in preparation for Old Eds on the 24th. Ands it's not long before he gets his opportunity when he demonstrates what a good mauler he is also by stripping the ball from a Redditich player and setting off on a run. Now normally Chicken would jink his way through, but opting for safety first he opted to outflank the defence before taking a leisurely turn round the corner to straighten it up.
Shortly after following a collapsed scrum the Love Machine comes off and the versatile Rick comes back on at tighthead for the remainder of the game.
Next a moment of speed & guile, well ok offside; Redditch are awarded a scrum just on their twenty two which they managed to hold and the scrum half whips the ball out to their young number ten who kicks for touch but who doesn't see the Major hurtling towards him, who in fairness must have set off from home late on Friday evening to get there, waving them big arms of his, and clipping the ball with one of them and sending it ricocheting towards the line in the left hand corner. There was then some expletive as he made contact realising he would now have to keep running, but unluckily for Rupe a combination of their right wing & fullback managed to scramble the ball out in the corner, and we were unlucky not to have been awarded the ensuing lineout from which Redditch managed to clear the immediate danger. This Rupe tells me, was only his third charge down in his playing career (and I thought I was OCD).
The Major his bolt now well and truly shot also comes off also showing signs of a tough game up front and Slow comes into the back row and immediately gets a couple of chances to stop their big centre in his tracks (being a former centre in another life it would have been rude not to), and Sean was getting bored doing it anyway.
Right I've had this discussion before about the final play scenario, in some games like Aston Old Eds we opt to run & score, in others like Warley we tamely punt it out and retire to the bar. Anyway Shannon calls "last play" and yet there is still time enough for us to give away another penalty!! As they have nothing to lose they run it but we manage to turn them over in our twenty two, Ralph takes the ball from the base and sets off towards the near touchline. Now Redditch obviously anticipating him to do the International thing not the Vandals thing and they stop running expecting him to put the ball out, but Ralph rounds the corner sees the gap between the touchline and their winger, who is now thinking of which shampoo to use, and sets off at not some considerable speed towards their try line but very quickly realising his rashness given the distance he still has to travel so he cuts inside looking for support without realising that most of us are still standing watching admiringly back on the twenty two. Luckily, though for Ralph he found young Ash in support who evades the despairing defence to score. 38-15 Ralph now obviously knackered misses the conversion and my nice new match ball is lost in the following pitch invasion.
Final score 38-15, final age ridiculously low due to the "youngsters" bringing down the average.
Usual round up of facts & figures for those still awake, this was our 17th competitive win of the season, our sixth on the bounce and we finish unbeaten at home. Lee's four tries brings him up to 22, staggeringly in only 9 games but the Vandals' top scorer remains Ralphy on 139 points with him also being the first to reach 20 competitive appearances, his wife must be so pleased. Our final try was our 103rd for the season not bad given an average age of 40-45 a game. No kickable penalties this week, in fact no penalties at all, or free-kicks apparently, so can we please ensure we buy Shannon more beer in future.
Captain Slow

A special mention about Greg, what a great bloke, plays any position on the field, and is equally lacking in ability in all of them (only joking mate).


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