Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Apathy rears its ugly face as the season's end approaches.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 05:07

On the time I set aside to transfer my thoughts on Old Ys rugby on to Old Ys website the sun was shining and rugby was not really driving my journalistic skills forward.  Then just as I was about to log on, She who knows where to acquire free tickets for National Trust places of interest informed me that in a few minutes time that we would be on our way to a place called Packwood House.  Not being a regular enthusiast for such fascinating places I guess it was not too bad for a couple of hours but the mind was starting to drift on things like how could some referee allow Liverpool to score an equalising penalty in the 111th minute when only 8 mins of stoppage time was indicated.  As I listened briefly to the guide, something he said helped me to refocus on rugby again.  'At this time of year we get a lot of walkers coming out of the woodwork'  This got me thinking. More in a moment but next comes a review of last weekends matches.

First XV

With the threat of relegation seemingly removed and promotion never really a realistic hope, a somewhat dead match at Old Leamingtonians, who we beat 15 - 0 earlier in the season, was our penultimate league fixture.  The story might seem familiar.  Plenty of possession but without the powerful strike running of Steve Grainger we were not as effective as we might have been.  12 - 7 ahead at half time with the question being asked by Ys followers along the lines of would that be enough and deep down most of the answers suggeested that we would tire and struggle to hang on to the lead. Totally correct.  Final score 34 - 19 to the hosts.  For Old Ys tries were scored by Adam Walker x2 and Big Andy P (good to see you playing again) with Max converting two.  The Bobo man of the match award goes to Adam Walker.

Development XV

Our young hopefulls hosted an Alcester team comprising of a mix of their first and second team players.  A comfortable winning score of 24 - 15 makes it look easier than it actually was as Alcester moved the ball well but also defended well for much of the game.  Eds two tries and one for James Walker along with some kicks proved to be enough.  Luke awards his man of the match award to James Walker.

Vandals XV

Having lost my way a couple of times I eventually arrived at Woodrush 10 minutes before kick-off.  A strange sight caught my eyes, our boys were warming up but the home side were not to be seen.  When the game eventually got going it looked very much like a case of our strength and experience againsst their second team youthful enthusiasm, pace and stamina. A fairly close first half saw the Y's turn around with a narrow lead.  To keep it simple our wingers did the job required.  Phil runs directly and takes the shortest route to the try line with nothing stopping him.  Lee takes a variety of routes but with pace and change of direction such that he rarely gets stopped.
A final score of 44-19 to our boys saw tries from Lee x3, Phil W x2 Tony Fitz x2 and Rob B with Ralph and Lee getting a con each. Full report below.


Nigel Walker reports that his under 14s lost at Aston Old Eds last sunday.  I remember Nigel as a second row player who was always determined to do his best on the pitch and expected the same from the rest of the team.  He still has this approach as a coach and the improvement shown by his team over the course of the season is clear to see.  Well done lads.

It has been said by  many experts that you can only find out how good you are by taking on the very best.  The under 15s have really come on this year and victories at places such as Bromsgrove and Camp Hill have shown this to be true.  However, Lichfield taught us that there is still much to be done before we can claim to be a 'top side'.  They ran at us with pace and precision, rarely wasting possession and although our boys defended well it was very much a learning experience.

My reporters this week seemed to be impressed by anyone with the name 'Walker'.  Well, in my early Old Ys playing days there was a 'brick wall' back rower by the name of Richard Walker and a second row called Nigel Walker and they were sound rather than spectacular but the sort of player you were glad to have in your team.  The nomination by the captains as their 'Man of the Match' was awarded to Walker and Walker.  Add to that another promising Walker in the under 14s made for an interesting coincidence.  Well, I thought so anyway.

Tour Approaching

Enjoy yourselves lads and remember 'what goes on tour stays on tour', so don't expect a tour report from me. 

Have a good Easter.

Woodrush 2nd XV vs. Old Yards 3rd XV/Vets (The Vandals)

With the current trend of opposition crying off  continuing apace with Claverdon going the way of Droitwich  et al Tom  found us a nice local fixture in Woodrush 2nds, a very tricky fixture on paper given last season's encounter and having already played our Development Side twice this season having won one and lost one by a two point margin in each case.
In the  pack this week Shannon "Steps" Killarney at loosehead, Rick "Swing" Lowe at hooker, and Bill "Bilbo" Burrows at tighthead, in the boiler room John "Fingers" Lonie and Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn with  Chris "Crash" Rowe and Rupert "the Major" Young  on the flanks with  Rob "Barstool" Bastock at  No.8.
In the backs scrum half Phil "the General" Evans reunited with Ian "Nev" Neville at fly half,  a return also for the Chairman Tony "Fitz" Fitzgerald partnering  (eventually) Gary "Smokin'" Williams , with wings Phil "Horse" Watson and  Lee "Coatesy" Coates and Dave "Ralph" Rollins at fullback .
A  small  deckchair this week, with  Mark "Telecon" Baldwin, Roger "the Dodger" Lazenby returning after a lengthy spell away following ear surgery & Captain Slow
Stunt skipper Lonie again guesses correctly and opts to receive and play towards the Icknield Road, the pitch sloping side to side this week and offering no real advantage for our second half gravity drive system.
With Woodrush obviously hearing of our exploits they're out there nice & early like Oldfield & Bournville going through the drills as we casually roll up in twos & threes, get changed and have a fag or two. We take to the pitch a man short as we wait for Smokin' to arrive, so Slow first engages the referee young Andy & then Leachy the Woodrush fly half in casual conversation to string things out for a few minutes while Gary gets changed and joins the rest of us (shades of Shipston here). Gary if you were any more laid back with regards to meet times you'd be f**king horizontal!!
All present then and Shannon the ball magnet takes the kick off, big Phil's first to him and then the rest of the 677 gather round, and the green machine rolls forward before Barstool takes it blind, he's held up and has to go to to ground and we drive over despite the young Woodrush Eight trying to do much the same. The General picks up and spins to Nev, he does a step, looks to kick, then tries to run his way through, evades the first tackle but not the second and has to go to ground and we all pile over. The General digs it out and pops it to Barstool on the burst who takes it into contact and we clear them out, the General goes blind and feeds the Horse but he's little or no space to work with and puts a foot into touch for a lineout to Woodrush.
Big Phil takes their ball and sets off through the gap, he makes good yards before he's stopped, he turns offloads to Bilbo, to the General to the Major who goes to ground and we clear them out, the General pops it up to Barstool who goes route one, as we play it close & personal for a couple of phases. The General looks for his runners, but spins to Nev instead who pops it back inside to BMT but he's caught behind the gain line and  we have to set and go again, the General scoops it up passes to the Major, who finds Horse who looks for space & bounces a couple in the process, a Woodrush spectator yells "put him on his ar5e" easier said than done my friend as he keeps on going. He's eventually hauled to the ground but Shannon picks it up off the deck and pops it to Rupe who makes another couple, Bilbo's next to have a go, he offloads to Lonie who goes to ground and Woodrush are pinged for coming over the top. We take it quickly and Barstool goes and boshes a couple and gets to within ten metres of the line, we recycle and Shannon gets in his first dummy of the day and the youngsters buy it, he offloads to Lonie, we're within five metres of the line. We set again, big Phil picks up as the General's otherwise engaged, ball comes back as the referee signals penalty advantage as Woodrush infringe as they try to stem the green tide and we drive it into the corner, and it's a good advantage as we go short and Barstool bulldozes his way over for the afternoon's first score 5-0 Ralph's conversion attempt  sails over 7-0 and it's the best start to a game for a long time, and the Woodrush youngsters look a little shell shocked.
Shannon calls for the restart but it sails though his hands, and the General gathers and pops it to Horse who heads off down his wing making good ground before passing inside to Lonie, he's held up so we set then spin wide for the first time, but it goes forward in midfield for a scrum to Woodrush. At which point Barstool comes off seemingly with a golf ball growing out of his knee and Roger comes on at No.8 for his first game in twelve weeks. So the game's first scrum is about five metres outside our twenty two, we get a good shove on but the ball reaches their No.8 and with both of their flankers standing up we get pinged for a binding offence in the front row...go figure.
They opt to kick for touch their fly half putting it out ten metres from our line. Looks a mite crooked but the ref gives them the benefit of the doubt, and their scrum half comes away with it, makes a small break but is tackled eventually by Roger, ball looks to have gone forward but it goes unseen and they spin to their fly half who dummies his inside centre breaks our line and sends a long one out to his wing, who promptly drops it. Scrum Yards, steady ball, General picks up sends it back to Ralph who puts in a good clearance kick the ball going out on our ten metre line. Woodrush put one of their several lightweight ones up and he takes it cleanly and they spin and their winger who's cunningly come in off his wing comes through the middle and it's the General who makes the tackle, but they recycle quickly and go blind. The tackles go in but we're pinged for not rolling away, and again seemingly following Vandals doctrine they kick into the corner. Again lots of movement in the line, the first time this season someone's tried something vaguely different to counter big Phil, they take it cleanly and spin and one of their big units comes through the middle and it's Coatesy who makes the tackle and strips the ball, he passes to the General who finds Nev who clears to touch the ball going out just inside our twenty two.
The Major gets in a great swipe and windmills it straight to the General who finds Coatsey who puts it long into their half, they field and start to bring it back but underestimate Lee's speed as he brings down the ball carrier on the halfway line, and he looks to have turned it over for the second time in succession, but ref decides unfairly and blows again. They go for the corner again the ball going out metres seven or eight from our line, they take cleanly and their scrum half snipes, but he's collared by the General and Chris strips out the ball, passes to the General who finds Coatesy who sends one back even further, the fullback having to play it from his twenty two, he steps Rick and kicks it to Roger who stands it up and waits for his friends to arrive, then we go to ground, penalty advantage as Phil spins it to Smokin', to Ralph, to Horse and he sets off, opens his legs and heads for the corner with space running out he pops it back inside to Smokin' who looks to have gone over, but the ref decides Horse has put a foot in touch and brings us back for the lineout about five metres out.
The ball comes in and Woodrush try to take it off the top, and our back row pour through and they are forced to ground it in goal for an attacking scrum to Yards. The first one goes down, and we have another go (Slow's words to the referee about it not being in our interest to pull it down hopefully ringing in his ears), we turn it slightly Rog picks up and we go blind, offloads to the General, who swiftly passes to Horse and their winger doesn't want to know and Horse goes over in the corner 12-0 Ralph's kick drifts just past the upright.
Big Phil takes the restart amongst a lot of traffic and Chris is first to him, General sends it to Nev who's short pop to Roger is almost intercepted by a Woodrush player, but he knocks it on instead and we get the scrum with Roger's feet on the twenty two. Ref sees something I couldn't and gives a free kick to Woodrush which they take quickly and the General makes the first up tackle, Roger's in there on the deck pinches the ball gets up and sets off and makes ten quick yards before passing to the General who finds Ralph who puts it down the park. One of their centres collects on their ten and again their passing lets them down again as it goes forward in midfield, the ref looks for advantage as Fitz picks up, passes to Smokin' to Nev, to Rick to Coatesy and he comes wide and collides with Horse on the touchline, cue some small amount of amusement between the two top scorers.
They take cleanly at four, as their well drilled technical lineout functions well against our more conventional approach, the ball comes out and their fly half does a step and kicks ahead, Horse collects and kicks to touch. Big Phil does enough to steal their throw and Rick tidies up and we set. The General sends it short and Chris takes it into contact, and we go again this time with Shannon, he makes a yard and we go close a third time this time with the Major. Ball comes safely back, Phil spins to Nev and he goes for the kick pass to Coatesy, but it's a little long and it's fielded by a Woodrush player but his onward pass is forward, so we get the scrum just behind the halfway line. Steady ball, the General ships it out to Nev, dummies Fitz, passes to Smokin', long pass to Coatesy but he's driven into touch.
They throw to two, Rupe tries to turn him but they get it back and it goes to ground and we're penalised for hands in. The fly half kicks for position the ball going out about twelve metres from our line. They shorten the line again, down to four this time and take it cleanly, scrum half puts a flat pass into the bread basket of their big second row, no one picks him up and he goes over for a bit of a soft try two or three metres from the posts 12-5 Simple conversion 12-7.
The General takes Nev's restart, sadly because it's only gone five and we go back for a scrum on halfway, steady ball for Woodrush, scrum half to fly half, miss pass, but the next one sails over the wingers head and he knocks it on as they continue to squander good possession with poor execution. Scrum Yards, the General's almost caught at the base but still manages to get the ball away to Nev, in turn to Tony Fitz who hits the gap, offloads to Smokin', to Ralph, to Horse, big nasty hand off, and literally runs over his own man, before a well timed pass back inside to Smokin' who's tackled but offloads off the deck to Fitzy in support and he crashes over to restore our two try advantage 17-7 Conversion unsuccessful.
One of the Woodrush forwards makes a great catch of his fly half's restart and passes it back, unfortunately though back to Rick who's deemed offside, and they get the penalty. The fly half puts it out ten metres from our line. They go again with the four man, and secure, but it's a wayward pass out and the fly half has to pick up off the deck and go it alone and it's Horse who finally stops him & drops him and the 677 drive over and Chris secures it and passes to BMT, penalty advantage as Woodrush come offside, non gained so Nev gets the opportunity to clear our lines, the ball going out just on our twenty two.
Big Phil takes it at four, but it's not straight and Woodrush opt for the scrum. The ball comes shooting out the back, the Woodrush scrum half manages to get it under control and out to probably their best player at ten (and our Nemesis from Halesonians) who takes it on again, and with the General hareing after him, he opts puts it up but Ralph safely takes the mark. Ralph takes a couple of steps and kicks into touch the ball going out about eight metres from our twenty two.
Another shortened line, five this time and they take cleanly then spin and they're allowed to slip a couple of tackles before they're halted, but they go again fly half, centre and again another loose pass proves their undoing as it goes forward, scrum Yards. Chris Rowe has to admit defeat and limps off and Slow comes onto the flank for the closing minutes of the half.  During which time we manage to cough up the ball in midfield and it's fly hacked on by Woodrush, Ralph chases back and drops on it, too heavily as it happened tacking a heavy knock to the hip in the process, the ball squirting free and Woodrush fly hack on again and score under the posts & convert 17-14 With Ralph still prone, Lonie persuades the ref to blow a couple of minutes early. Slow overhears the youngsters make some rash comment about the chronologically challenged thick waisted orphans and blowing out of their ar5es in the second half and Slow muses that  we may only have one gear but it does stay the course as many a sprat have found out to their cost.
Halftime 17-14 Isotonics left in my fridge and possibly our closest half time score of the season. Barstool like Lazarus has risen, his swelling subsiding a bit comes back onto the flank, and Slow comes back off. 
Our restart is a bit of a low trajectory affair and is allowed to bounce giving us time to arrive on the scene by the time Woodrush get it under control and Bilbo inveigles his way in and we get the scrum as they fail to use it. Roger picks up, goes blind and gives it to Coatesy but the General is unable to take his inside pass and the ball eventually finds its way into touch just on their twenty two. Big Phil takes at four and we drive it on a yard before the General gives a short pop to Barstool on the crash, he's held and Roger's first to him, and we spin again, Phil to Nev, Fitz comes in on the scissors, he offloads inside to big Phil who's tackled but Woodrush are penalised for hands in.
The General takes it quickly, passes to Coatesy who gets almost to their line, he's tackled, ball comes back and it's another penalty for tackler not releasing. We take it quickly and from where I'm standing it looks like Barstool's gone over, but the referee decides it was held up, so we come back for an attacking scrum five metres out.  First one goes down, what was that I said about not being in our interest, and we go again, this time Roger picks up and gets almost to the line, ball comes back, Bilbo has a go as ref signals penalty advantage, Rupert's up next he offloads to Coatsey who makes the space, pops it to Fitzy who goes over for his second...and what a great smile 22-14. With Ralph on one leg Nev's steps up but his attempt goes wide, but as our frequent readers know history says that's enough. 
Shannon calls for the restart but it overshoots and it's Rick who tidies it up and the green machine gathers round and it trundles forward, Roger extricates their recently arrived humungous prop and as we reach halfway, Bilbo passes to big Phil just as Woodrush have a Squealer of their own and ref goes safety first and blows. After a lengthy break the youngster (they all are to us) is carried off with a twisted knee and the ref restarts the game with a scrum just inside halfway but if I was honest in a better position in midfield. And then a moment of the sublime in a pre-planned move (I kid you not) the General picks up at the base and puts a high kick pass out to Horse on the wing who takes it above his head without breaking his stride, hands his man off once then twice and goes over about ten metres out from the posts 27-14 Nev's conversion narrowly misses. Of all the 206 tries we've scored that has to be way up there..cracking try. Bilbo comes off, and with the wheels of the logistics industry firmly in place Gethin comes on.
Shannon calls for it but Lonie comes away with it, he passes to BMT but he's driven into touch. Woodrush secure their ball with one of those very scientific lineouts, and scrum half comes away with it, sees Barstool looming and kicks it direct into touch. Rick hits Big Phil and we set, the ball safely at the back with Gethin and we drive, but the ref's seen something and awards us a free kick. The General takes it quickly and pops it to Barstool, and he bounces the first one and goes looking for more. He's stopped and goes to ground and the Vandal massive drives over. The Major digs it out passes to Phil who pops to big Phil and he has to go from a standing start so only makes a yard before laying it back. General to Nev going blind to Horse who sets off collecting players on his way, too many as it happens and the ball comes free and one of the players brings it back only to be held up and John with Rupe's help rips the ball free and we start to maul it forward. Rupert has a little bit of afters off the ball as the General finds Nev, who cuts out Fitz and goes straight to Coatesy, who gets caught but puts it back inside to Smokin'. But whistle goes as a punch is thrown followed by some finger pointing but it all comes to nought, and ref restarts the game with a scrum to Yards in midfield. Steady ball sees the ball at Roger's feet, he picks up, pops to Phil, to Nev who chips ahead into touch.
It's a messy line and we get enough hands in to prevent it going anywhere and we get the scrum not far off their ten metre line, the scrum goes down and we get the penalty (maybe he was listening then) and Nev puts it into the corner. It's a great take at four by big Phil but the whistle goes and it's a new one on me, seemingly for crossing in the lineout, Woodrush are awarded a penalty and their accomplished fly half puts in a long kick going out on our ten metre line. Another shortened line with Mark, Rupe, John, big Phil and Rob at tail gunner, and again their complex line functions well and the scrum half sends it out, fly half, centre and Fitz makes a great tackle on his man who's then pinged holding on as big Phil tries to strip him of the ball. Nev makes an equally good touch the ball going out on their twenty two. It's one off the top by big Phil and the General does well to get it under control, before making a great initial break. He's tackled, he lays it back and Roger picks up and goes, good pass out to Nev who dummies Fitz, then Smokin' and spins to Coatesy, who looks for the gap, spots it, then lights up the afterburners and scores under the posts without anybody getting even close and then casually drop kicks his own conversion 34-14
Coatsey then takes the restart and passes inside to Smokin' as we start to put a good series of passes together before we're tackled in centre field. It's looks like they've turned us over on the deck, but we wrench it back just as the whistle goes for Gethin' giving one of their players a slap. They take it quickly and I think it's their fullback who shows plenty of gas and runs across the face of our defence, rounds the corner, straightens up and goes over in the corner for their third try of the afternoon 34-19  Kick unsuccessful.
Nev's restart finds one of the youngsters and big Phil makes the tackle, and holds him up and the Vandal massive closes in on his undeveloped arms, and it's Gethin who comes away with it and passes to Roger who makes good ground up the narrow side before being driven onto touch just outside their twenty two. The throw's not straight so it's a scrum to Yards. Roger picks up makes a yard, offloads to Coatsey who's come off his wing and he gasses the cover to go over in the corner 39-19 Horse has a pot at the posts but his attempt is wide.
Big Phil takes the restart and it goes forward off a Woodrush hand in the following mêlée, for a scrum to Yards. Roger picks up offloads to the General who in turn finds Horse, who puts it back inside to Long John Rollins who goes to ground. BMT picks up and the green machine sets round and moves it on a yard before the General plucks it out spins it to Nev who puts a long one over the top and we chase it down. It's collected and the Woodrush player tries to go through Smokin'...no chance and the ball is knocked forward in the tackle, advantage Yards. Nev scoops it up offloads to Fitz who finds John, but the ref decides to come back for the scrum. Slow engages the parent of the lad who'd obviously upset Gethin in conversation, ever the diplomat. It's a good scrum and the General whips it out, slicks hands finds Coatesy and he goes over for his hat trick 44-19 Kick unsuccessful.
Ralph also has to admit defeat and comes off, Fitz switches to fullback and Slow comes on for the last five or so minutes at inside centre, during which time Coatesy & Horse both go close again each getting held up on the line, but that's the last of the meaningful action as we close the game out.
Final Score (contrary to both Woodrush & the Referees' version but the tape doesn't lie) 44-19 Final age 676 (our fourth highest of the season  averaging a shade over 45 and against largely a very young opposition)
A game in which we  passed another couple of milestones  in 206 tries and 1243 points scored......something special
Some 28 players have now played 10 or more games which has no doubt contributed to the Vandal's strong  team ethic (please let me have your votes for Vandal's Vandal if you haven't already asap as I have to book the all expenses paid trip to the World Cup in New Zealand and the name needs to go on the ticket........yerrright!)

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