Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

The Big Man returns!

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 02:43

One of rugby's giants makes a comeback.  More to follow.

First XV
With scheduled opponents having to play a previously postponed match there was no suitable pool game to be found.  So did the boys come training or did they take their wags shopping?  A headcount suggests the latter.  Back to action at Evesham in an away league game this saturday.

Development XV

With Luke leading from the front (row), our inconsistent but highly promising youngsters (apart from Paul Gower), faced a real challenge at home to Evesham 2nd XV.  Considering the state of the weather and the heavy pitch, there was some very good rugby played by both sides.  Tries for the Ys from that man of many talents, Purdey, as well as one each from Jonty and Adam in addition to some kicks from Son of Billy led to a narrow victory to the Ys by 22-15.  This week it's a home game against Pershore 2nds .

Vandals XV

Against a very useful outfit, Evesham 3rds and in tricky conditions, our seniors (i.e ancient) stars played some superb rugby after the initial surge by opponents who had some very strong runners.  Having worn them down the Vandals scored at regular intervals to secure a victory by 48-0.  Tries came from; Phil W. x2, Smoking x2, and one each for Ralph, Greg Allen, Ali G. and Nick.  Ralph and Nev managed some of the easier conversions.  Thanks to the ref who I believe was Ivor from the Bournville club.
My memories of Mark Higgins are of those days when he was used primarily as a psychological weapon, i.e. stand him outside the opponents changing room and hear the panic created.  When I saw Mark on Saturday on the touchline with kit on, I assumed that whilst in the gym somebody must have stolen his clothes.  However,  when introduced into the game during the second half certain things came to mind.  Firstly, Mark is still big, but also he is physically fit and significantly his handling skills were in fine order.  So, that means good news for us but this weekend's opponents, Berkswell and Balsall Vets be warned.  This match is part of their President's day celebration.
Full report below.


Well done to the Walker/Hendon management team.  Second win in a row.  Opponents Uttoxeter are in the early developmental phase.  They showed touches of individual skill and a lot of enthusiasm but lacked a little in terms of group/whole team skills and tactics, which, of course, takes time. Thanks to the referee, Mr Darren Collingwood.

This weekend the only scheduled match sees the Under 15s take on Droitwich on a hopefully drier pitch at the Portway (A435/M42 junction 3). For Satnav users B94 5LH
The other M/J squads should be training but check with your team managers.

Tom's funeral

The chapel at Yardley cemetery was packed as we said a sad farewell to Tom Guise.  Many players from the past through to the present day were joined by family as well as by friends from other clubs.  Many fond stories were told of days gone by and some of them might well have included a little bit of fact as well as considerable exageration. Beer was flowing and I was told that one of our former props fell over, but after 20 pints who wouldn't.
It was particularly good on a personal basis to see Tony Meades who introduced me to the club many moons ago. Also it was good to have a chat with a youthful looking Keith (Bert) Black, now residing in Malvern.  I recall my first team debut a long time ago when Bert was captain on the day.  He made it clear that as fly-half that I must not for any reason pass to either of my centres, Tom Guise or Sid. They are there for defensive duties only as they can't catch, pass or make a break.  To be diplomatic, we won that game but I can't remember if I passed to them or not.  However, I do recall the taking of snuff and I fully understand why it has never caught on!

Vets v Evesham 3rds - Full Match Report

Saturday 26th February and Game 22 saw us in a Pool fixture at Fortress Tilehouse against Evesham 3rds, Warley having cried off early in the week...no surprise there then.
In the trenches this week Bill "Bilbo" Burrows at loosehead, Rick "Swing" Lowe at hooker and Mark "Gethin" Baldwin at tighthead; in the second row John "Fingers" Lonie and Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn, with the tackle twins Nick "the Assassin" Levey and Marcus "Shark" Hope on the flanks and Robbie "Barstool" Bastock at No.8.
In the air corps Phil "the General" Evans at scrum half with Ian "Nev" Neville at fly half, Nick "Barrel" Palmer partnering Gary "Smokin" Williams in midfield, with wings Phil "Horse" Watson and Sean " Bean" Byrne, with Dave  "Ralph" Rollins sweeping up the leaves at fullback.
An embarrassment of riches for Slow this week with the season's largest bench in Chris "Crash" Rowe, Andy "Fred" Killarney,  Alan "the Colt" Arkell, Mike "Nearly" Neary, Iain "Johnno" Johnson, Kings Norton leg end Billy "Wishbone" Hendon, Ali "Spasm" Gouldbourn, Greg "the Knife" Allen and a return to playing after nearly 12 years to Mark "Tiny" Higgins. (Captains Note: Mark & I first locked horns competitively at school 37 years ago & he was f**king big then!)
Apologies (or you might be relieved to know) for a shorter than usual match report....technical issues...I believe they're called batteries
With the First team taking the weekend off Evesham suspected that we might indulge in loading the side with ringers and both Tom & I had to give guarantees before kick off that we wouldn't resort to subterfuge...and if you're reading Evesham we don't have to! Having won 28 games on the bounce without their help. Their skipper Colin did apparently groan however, when he was informed that their Nemesis of last season Horse was playing.
With the recent heavy rainfall we opted for a very heavy pitch Two (in truth I couldn't be arsed to inspect our beloved pitch Three) in very overcast and breezy conditions. Stunt skipper Marcus got the call wrong this week and rather surprisingly Evesham opted to play with the elements in the first half giving us the kick off towards the Clubhouse.
Nev's kick is fielded and immediately Evesham look to run it and Shark makes the first tackle; they set & recycle, the ball coming out to their Polish behemoth playing at No.8 this time (having been introduced to his nuts last season playing at prop against Bilbo). He shows a remarkably good set of hands and flings it straight out to his outside centre and he's brought down in midfield by Barrel. They secure and go close, their big lad taking it again but he's held up by Lonie, but they get numbers round and drive him on and over the halfway line. He extricates himself as the maul becomes a ruck and the No.8 has another go before wanging another high level pass out and again it's Barrel who makes the tackle in midfield. Evesham recycle and spin but bring it back in close, we spread the line as we absorb the early pressure, the ball is spun out to the inside centre and the Assassin has him. Again Evesham go route one with the No.8, again he's stopped but being six & a half foot tall is able to get the pass away and Barrel again takes the receiver. Same old as the No.8 goes again but goes straight this time and gets over our twenty two where he's gang tackled, they recycle and the No.8 goes again (beginning to sound one dimensional aren't they) this time it's big Phil who wraps him up but Barstool is penalised for coming in from the side...well at least it broke the monotony! They opt to kick for points but miss and we touch down for a twenty two drop out. So this week's warm up lasts eight or nine phases and a solid two minutes of defensive duties.
The General manages to weave his way in amongst the  forwards to take the restart catch, but nudges it forward in the process, and the ref plays good advantage, the organised Evesham eight secure the loose ball, take it short before spinning it wide and Nev takes a hand off that leaves him on his backside, but that said we're comfortably holding them in midfield and even pinch it at the next breakdown, at which point the ref decides not enough advantage was gained so we come back for the knock on, and the first scrum of the game to Evesham. But Rick does his thang, picks the boys up and we drive them off their ball, the General whips it out to Nev, to Barrel who puts one over the top, their peroxide winger takes it cleanly and sends it back over, but Barrel anticipating this cunning ploy is back to take the catch and clear to touch.
They win the line at the tail but we turn the catcher and pinch it, the General sends it out to Nev, to Barrel who powers up and goes, he passes to Smokin' who takes the catch but loses his footing in the process and goes to ground. Barrel's first to him in support and we spin, to Nev to Barstool on the cut back and he boshes his way through the first few tackles and we set. Phil sends it out straight to Smokin' to Ralph to Horse who cuts back inside and gets all the way to the Evesham twenty two before getting stopped, the General pops it to Bilbo and the 677 gather round. Ball comes out to Nev and he sells a superb one to Barrel, they all buy it and Nev glides through the gap and gets to within ten metres of the line before getting stopped. Bean's first to him, but the ball is ripped out by an Evesham defender but it goes forward for a scrum to Yards. They get the drive on and pinch it and the No.8 picks up but Nick's to him, but the big fella gets the ball away and their 13 kicks for touch, but fails to find it and Sean does a Dervish and comes inside and we set, Rick ships it straight out to Nev, to Ralph in midfield to Sean and he takes it into contact and we set again. Nev gives a show and go to Barrel but Evesham don't buy this one and Nev goes to ground and we all pile over, a little too over, as the ref's whistle goes for a penalty. It's a good long kick which gets all the way into our twenty two but it fails to find touch and it's fielded by Sean who sends it back the ball going out just inside their half. 
Evesham take it cleanly at two but it's a crap pass out to the fly half, who has to stand it up and gets Nick for his trouble and we turn it over but they come over the top, penalty Yards. Great kick by Nev into the corner ball going out about ten metres from their line. Gethin sends a low one into Marcus at two, just about head height in fact, Marcus taking it in his midriff and we set and drive it on, Barstool stands off and comes in at pace and takes the short range pass and gets almost to the line before getting stopped, Nick's there in support and it's a flick off the floor from him to the General to Ralph who goes it alone (that's Slow speak for should've passed) and gets caught, Smokin's first to him then BMT, we're right on their line, but struggling to get anywhere, finally it comes out loose and Horse gets the pass and does the simple thing and goes over in the corner 5-0 Ralph's kick is unsuccessful, but that was a quick eight minutes.
The Evesham restart finds the General's knees, he regathers and puts up a high one and it's the Evesham skipper who takes it and Bean shortly after and scrags him to the deck. Evesham manage to recycle despite our token Northerner's best efforts and their No.8 takes it on close and the Assassin fells him and the ball spills forward, referee playing good advantage as Smokin' scoops it up, passes to Ralph who chips one over for Horse to chase. It must be quite frightening for their winger as he collects knowing that Horse is on his case (at which point on the commentary Slow pisses himself laughing) as Horse literally picks his man up like a rag doll and carries him toward touch, the "professional" winger (or so he told us) does manage to drop the ball onto his foot to gain his side a few more yards, only for the General to slip the pass away to Nev and Barrel comes in on the scissors, all a bit static but still manages to get a good hand off in on the former third ranked Polish heavyweight boxer (kid you not) before we set. Swing's in there but they counter ruck well and turn us over, but in trying to retrieve the situation we compound our sins and concede a penalty between their ten & twenty two. They kick for touch the ball going out just inside our twenty two. It's a four ball and BMT poaches it but ball comes out loose and Horse picks it up and he's driven into touch for another throw to Evesham. They just about secure it despite BMT's best efforts and look to spin short but go to the fly half and he's clattered by the Assassin and we get the penalty for not releasing. Ralph puts it out just on their ten metre line.
We're pinged for a technicality at the line but their skipper opts for another lineout and not the scrum and Shark immediately pinches their low throw at two and we set, General sends it out to Nev who dummies Barrel and goes straight through the gap again between the centres, he's tackled offers it up to BMT, he offloads to the General to Ralph to Bean, he cuts back inside and hits traffic, we set again, Nev to Smokin', makes inroads, dummies Rob, gets caught, Sharks to to him but ball is nudged forward. Scrum to Evesham, under pressure from our Eight it collapses and referee blows and gives them a penalty which they kick to touch.
BMT takes their ball at the front of the line as we start to dominate in the set pieces, the General comes away with it, to Nev and it's a flat crash ball to Barrel who bulldozes his way through and gets all the way to their five metre line where he's held, it's all a bit messy and someone sends out a bouncing bomb which is collected by Smokes who sends a long one out to Sean, he goes through his man, but is driven into touch by the Evesham cover. They guff the lineout and we are awarded a scrum, it's slow ball so Nev punts it forward, they field it and punt it back, Sean takes it around half way and he has a go, the ball finding a spot to bounce midfield just inside their twenty two, and to their credit they try to run it out but Barrel makes the tackle and the ball goes loose and the General scoops it up finds Horse who puts Ralph over in the corner 10-0 Ralphs conversion just falls short.
They attempt a quick restart and big Phil shows off his footballing skills as he traps it, before picking up and setting off on a run, he pops an inside pass to Shark who hands off the first would be suitor before going to ground, but the whistle goes as the ref doesn't like Shark's effective hand off. Evesham try take to take the penalty quickly, but the ref calls them back as he's still talking martial arts with Shark so they kick for position, but it fails to find touch only Bean who punts it back and forces them to bring it back out from inside their half. Sean makes the follow up tackle on one of their big lads, but he gets it away to the big No.8 who looks to have broken the line but Nick's clinging on to one of his legs again and down he goes and we turn it over, Phil to Nev to Smokin' great timed pass to Barrel to Ralph to Horse who cuts back inside looking for space but ball gets knocked on in the tackle. 
Scrum to Evesham, looks like their flanker who picks up Barstool nabs him, ball goes to ground and their fly half picks up, Nick gets him, they recycle, ball finds their No.8, he breaks the first tackle but not the second and the ball is nudged forward so the ref plays advantage but none comes so scrum to Yards. Barstool picks up from the base and goes, evades the first one, is caught by the second and his pop off the deck is harshly adjudged to have gone forward, scrum Evesham. It's a great drive by our Eight and with their scrum under pressure the ref spots a hand trying to help it out, penalty Yards. Nev looks to take it quick but ref's still marking out the ten so Nev puts it into the corner the ball going out about six or seven metres from their line. Big Phil takes a clean catch at four and Swing's round to tidy it up and we drive it on, the General's in there somewhere so it's Gareth Baldwin who ships it out to Nev and it's a long miss pass to Smokin' but it's too low & hot to handle and it goes forward (and I'm assuming here it struck one of our support players) as ref gives a penalty (for accidental offside)?
Their young fly half puts a high one up which bounces infield in our twenty two and Ralph clears to touch. BMT then takes their ball at four and it's spun out to Nev who punts it forward and it dies a death as it hits the whitewash intersection and their winger scoops it up and chips ahead and in one of those rare occasions Shark calls for the mark. He tries to take it quickly but their "professional" winger having overshot his own kick tries mug him from behind, penalty Yards, but the winger decides to have a chat with anybody who'll listen. Eventually Nev kicks to touch ball going out just outside our twenty two, we take it at two Rob comes round on the peel on the narrow side but he's driven into touch. Again we take their ball as Marcus deflects it at two and BMT takes it at four, moreorless off the top the General whips it out, great hands by Nev as he takes it down by his boot laces, to Barrel to Smokin' to Ralph who's in the line, goes over the twenty two, over the ten, looks for support, spots Smokin' on his inside and Gary's away, he looks for support and it's a difficult one to take off the deck for Sean and it goes forward.
Rick takes another one single handedly against the the head...what a guy and the General snipes, he makes good ground and gets into midfield Smokin' takes the pass off the deck as we keep it alive, we're into their twenty two and Barstool picks up about five or six metres from their line, we recycle again the General looks for options, and spins it out to Smokin' who does a bit of a step, is taken high but stands it up, we set, the General brings it left to Nev to Horse who rather than head for the left hand corner comes back in field to build up a head of steam, boshes a few and goes over a couple of metres to the right of the posts 15-0 Ralph's effort sails over 17-0
Bit of a repeat of the last restart as BMT flicks it up off his feet and sets off on a gallop, he's tackled, we recycle and the General pops it to Barstool who takes into midfield and we set and go again this time to Nev who pops a neat inside ball to Lonie who bludgeons his way through a couple before going to ground, but they pinch it, but ref decides on a scrum to Evesham before they can use the turnover. Scrum's midway between the halfway line and their ten and we get a shove on and the No.8's forced to pick it up but the General grips him round his ankles so he has to ship it out to his fly half who puts one over the top which Sean fields, but a good chase by the Evesham winger leaves him with no choice but to pop it into touch.
No matter as we pinch their ball at the lineout and spin to Nev who kicks for position but it doesn't find touch and they bring it out and the ball finally finds their No.8 but whistle goes for offside. The No.8 takes the quick pass and goes but Nick's round his ankles again and down he comes, they recycle and come left and Barrel makes the tackle and looks to have stripped the ball carrier but the ref blows again and awards Evesham a scrum 15 metres out from our line. No surprise as the No.8 picks up but the General's round his socks again and he's forced to pass, they try to run but it's all very lateral as our drift defence stays with them and they're forced to set and the No.8 tries again (Captains note I get the impression he does this week in week out, but he's getting no change from our 8 point a game defence as we demonstrate time & time again how to stop a big one in his tracks) this time it's Shark who makes the tackle on our twenty two, he gets a few metres further only for Nick to steal the ball and that's the last play of the half as the ref's whistle goes.
Halftime 17-0 Drinks all round. Andy K comes on for Lonie, Chris Crash for Shark and Ali G for Barstool.
From the restart Andy's soon into action and he takes it into traffic, then big Phil has a go, gets tackled and we drive over but the ref's seen a nudge forward so awards Evesham a scrum. Rick's taken a knock so he comes off and Greg trots on and we put their scrum under pressure and the Pole has to pick up and go lateral and he's felled by a great tackle from Crash and the ball goes loose, it's picked up by their ten, but he's held so they have to set and again the No.8 has a trundle and again is stopped in his tracks so has to pass and the receiver is taken by both Barrel & Smokes so they recycle just outside their twenty two, the pass comes back to their scrum half who puts one up but it's held up in the wind giving Bean the chance to take it but he nudges forward. Ref plays advantage as Evesham gather and cross the halfway line but their eventual kick is blown direct into touch and he brings us all the way back for the original knock on. Scrum on the ten metre line, good pressure from our Eight but the ball is steered back by the flankers hand, and the No.8 picks up and the General's snapping at his heels so he's forced to ship it out and Nick Levey makes the next tackle in midfield, they recycle and go again as our tackles keep coming and Smokin' steals the ball and pops it to Horse who eludes their No.8 and offloads to Barrel, who's a bit isolated so goes for the gap then offloads to Ralph on the loop around who in turn tries to put one inside to Sean but it's intercepted but he's driven into touch.
We're pinged at the lineout, and they take it quick and Chris levels the scrum half, they recycle and the No.8 takes it close and Alistair takes his opposite number, Nick's unlucky not to steal it as they manage to get it away, but only as far as the next breakdown where just as we've looked to have turned it over, the ref blows for an attacking scrum just as the General was digging it out. Time for a few more changes as Wishbone comes on for Gethin, Johnno for the General, and Nearly for Ralph.
Johnno's straight into action on their No.8, but again using his height he manages to get it away but only for Barrel to clatter the next man, they're lucky to come away with it as they keep it tight and Spasm makes the next tackle on their scrum half as they continue to accumulate the phases approaching our ten metre line, at which point they kindly cough it up and we turn it over but they have hands in trying to pinch it back, referee spots it and blows for a penalty and there is time for some minor handbags on the deck but nothing serious. Nev kicks for touch and puts it out five metres from their twenty two, at which point their vocal winger decides to talk about yellow cards and the ref takes the hump and sends them back another ten, and another ten and Nev puts it into the corner.
Throw comes in and it's tail gun Killarney who takes it at the back and Johnno sends a bit of a worker out and Nev takes it on the deck and wisely stays there as his opposite number comes flying over the top. We set as the No.8 strays round offside (how'd you miss a bloke that big?) and we get the pass away and Horse looks to go through the middle of them, he's finally held and we all pile in and the ref sees something and gives Evesham a penalty. Their fly half is having a lie down having taken a knee to the temple (he was very specific) and he has to come off and for the second week in a row Ralph comes on to help the opposition.
The scrum half takes a quick tap and offloads to you know who, who runs into Andy K and he flings it out aimlessly and Crash picks up the loose ball, and we take it on, Wishbone has it at the back and he pops it to Spasm who makes good ground despite having the No.8 attached. Alistair finally goes to ground and Wishbone tidies up and Bilbo pops it to Greg on the wing who beats his first man, but his cunning return reverse flick to Bilbo is intercepted by Evesham and it's left to Ralph to clear their lines.
We fluff the lineout and it's Evesham starlet Ralph who comes away with it, and they set it on their twenty to and try to run it out, their skipper makes a good break until he's tackled by Crash and they set again, then spin and it comes to their vocal winger who chips it over Horse, but Mike's there and does the Neary two step on the winger (to great cheers on the touchline) leaving him tackling fresh air and then kicks deep, the ball being fielded by their skipper inside the twenty two, he tries a sidestep but Mike following up his kick is having none of it and brings him down. We turn it over at the breakdown and Spasm takes it on then offloads out the back of his hand to Smokin' who steps two making five or six metres in the process, he finds Johnno, who passes to Alistair who takes into contact, Johnno spins it out to Nev who dummies Barrel and pops it back inside to Knife, to Andy K, to Smokin' but unluckily the ball goes forward and Evesham get the scrum.
Their No.8 picks up and has to make another high pass to Ralph who puts the winger into space but he chooses to kick ahead and Mike takes the catch and we gather round, Johnno puts the box kick up but the ref's seen something untoward and awards Evesham a penalty. They take it short and Andy K's first to react and they have to set and the No.8 takes it close and Chris makes the tackle, he offloads and Alistair makes the next, and the ball comes out to Ralph who kicks ahead which Bean just about gets away with, and we then proceed to have a mad 30 seconds of silly passing mostly without catching, some real daft stuff in parts but we survive and even get a scrum just inside our half.
Steady scrum, Johnno gets it to Barrel who takes it off his toes and has no option but to kick ahead, and Evesham clear to touch. Slow sends on the Colt Arkell & Higgsy for Nick Levey & BMT, as if we needed anymore weight in the scrums! We cough up the ball in the lineout and Evesham spin then kick ahead and this time it's Horse who shows of his footballing skills as he traps it then picks, kicks and gives chase. The Evesham defender dives on it and Horse patiently waits for him to get up, before turning him and we strip the ball and Higgsy gets his first touch of the ball in twelve or so years and rumbles into contact like a Tiger tank. We set and the ball comes out and Greg manages to give it to the now second largest player on the field, their No.8! Barrel makes a great ankle tap, followed by a series of fine tackles by Sean & Smokin' and the Evesham attack stalls, so they regroup and go close and Wishbone makes the tackle and it goes to ground and we're penalised for going over.
They take it quickly and Chris makes the tackle but a metre or two early, so Evesham get another go...............
And that's where technology failed me, but in the last quarter we finally broke their resistance and we ran riot scoring another five unanswered tries, a classy brace from Smokin', one each from Alistair, Barrel & Greg best remembered for Johnno's slight of hand in the final pass. Nev adding three conversions.
Final Score 48-0 Final Age 640
Bit of a cheap shot from Evesham at the end with their skipper calling "three cheers for Old Yards ex first team" again if your reading probably half a dozen former first teams actually but all from twenty years ago!
According to our independent adjudicator Tomasz O'Power this week's man in the dirtiest shirt  was Nick Levey, who spent the majority of his game welded to the big Pole's ankles. Best supporting actress was Barrel who apart from his trademark scissors did an awful lot of work off the ball and in defence.

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