Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

All three teams win again

Thu, 13 Sep 2012 10:02

Yards First XV 36 - Birmingham Civil Service 13

Woodrush Seconds 7 - Yards Seconds 78

Vandals vs Camp Hill - Merit League Fixture - full match report

Last weekend saw us at Fort Tilehouse in our first Greater Birmingham Merit fixture against the auld enemy Camp Hill 3rds on another unseasonably warm September day. Given the recent press regarding a large player exodus to Bees it wasn't much of a surprise that the opposition turned up with just the fifteen players two thirds of which were old enough to be our sons. The referee this week Jigger Singh, he of the selective vision, for those who remember our last ill tempered outing against Aston Old Eds a year or so back, he asks whether I'd entertain 30 minutes each way as several of their players have work commitments, I compromise on 35.
In the pack then  Shannon "Stepmeister" Killarney,  Mark "Gethin" Baldwin & Peter "Fridge"       Butler, engine room of stunt skipper John "Casper" Lonie, pensioner Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney, and back row of Nick "Assassin" Levey, Marcus "Shark" Hope and Roger "the Dodger" Lazenby at       No.8.
Out in the backs scrum half  Phil "General" Evans, Ian "Nev" Neville, with Max "Gimo" Gimson, Tony "Fitz" Fitzgerald in midfield and Sean "Squealer" Bryne & Mike "Stiff Finger" Neary with our       metronomic Dave "Ralph" Rollins at full back. An extensive bench compared to that of our       opposition in Alan "Impact" Arkell , Ali "G" Gouldbourn,  Lee "Puck" Cupples, Chris "Golfball" Rowe, Rick "Swing" Lowe, & Alex "Conan" Doyle & debutant Pat "Paddy"  Waldron-Healy, with Slow bringing up the oranges.
You'll forgive me chaps if I stick to the good bits this week, combination of spectator frustration & workload. Stunt skipper Lonie wins the toss and elects to play away from the Clubhouse and giving       them the low sun in the first half. Following a fairly scrappy but even opening five minutes as both sides tested each other out up front Nev puts a good touch finder out on the Camp Hill ten metre       line for a line out to Camps. Shark however, pinches it and offloads to Phil, but he has neither time or space and he's driven into touch just inside their halfway line. The second lineout is really scrappy and they secure, but looks like Gethin has come over, so penalty advantage, quickly squandered as they kick it over where after some effort, because it won’t lie still, it's fielded by Squealer who sets off up field, and then chips over the traffic. The catcher is cornered by Shark, and we gather round       and pinch it, the General sends it out to Nev, who goes it alone but then looks for help from the Vandal Massive, and we drive. The General calls for it and Nick takes it on the pop and makes good yards, offloads to his partner in crime Marcus, who looks to have been hit high, but result is the same as Camps come over the top. Nev finds good touch from the penalty the ball going out about twenty metres from their line.
Mark's throw sails over everybody (boy doesn't know his own strength) and the loose ball finds a Camps player who hoofs it in the direction of touch, only to find Sean, who brings it back before finding Ralph in support who cuts back inside and looks for the forwards, we set and drive it on a yard before Phil has a go sells a dummy, then offloads to Casper who bludgeons his way into their       twenty two, we set and Casper takes another short pass, ref sees something penalty advantage Yards. Stepmeister sells one but they're not buying, so spins to the General, whose onward pass goes lose and we come back for the original penalty twenty or so metres out in front of the posts. Controversially here Skipper Lonie opts to take the penalty (he's not taking my calls...but has since blamed excitable backs) and Ralph doesn't let him down and we race into a three point lead.      
Shannon takes the restart (does every side aim for him in particular? must 80% of the time) and he drives into traffic with his mates, before Phil spins it out to Nev who pops it to Rog on the burst, but they're all offside, penalty Yards. Phil takes it quickly, to Ralph, to Max who kicks ahead, the ball bouncing into touch on their twenty two. They secure their own ball at the line despite Sharks best efforts, and kick to touch, but it takes a deflection and it's up to Sean to tidy up. He sets off in search for support, Fridge is there, pass to Gethin who pops it to Phil, to Nev who cuts back inside, all gets a bit static, ball finds Phil again, to Tony Fitz, to Max but ref decides that last one was forward so scrum to Camps. Scrum with Roger's feet just on the halfway line, Shannon, Mark & Fridge put the squeeze on and the Camps scrum creaks & begins to turn so they spin, their fly half is tackled and we       are adjudged to come over the top (or as I say on the tape "some such f**king nonsense") and Camps kick to clear.
t's an ugly tap down by Camps and ball eventually pops loose where it's scooped up by the General who box kicks it over into space, though not enough space as two Camps players manage to       collide and the referee stops the game. After a few minutes the game is restarted with a scrum to Camp Hill?!, which they secure and then spin it across the park only to cough it up just inside our ten and the General puts another box kick over and we give pursuit, it bounces over the head of their winger who retrieves it second time around, only then to be driven into touch on the halfway line. Marcus takes at four, to Phil who spins it to Nev who brings Roger in on the       crash, he's held up & they infringe, penalty Yards. We take it quickly and Nev gets all the way to their twenty two where he's tackled, isolated & is turned over, they kick to touch but find only Mike instead who takes it at the second attempt, but he's quickly engulfed by youngsters and we're fortunate to be awarded the       penalty. We kick to touch the ball going out on the Camp Hill ten metre line, Marcus takes, Phil to Nev, Tony Fitz comes in on the crash, he's hit hard and the ball pops free on their twenty two, they opt to run the advantage, but a forward pass brings us back to the site of Fitz's original collision for a scrum to Camps.
But one of the Camp's forwards is having a lie down with what looks like a nasty knee injury. Consistent with what a fraternal club Camps are the injured player is attended to & ultimately carried off by Arks & Slow, you know who your mates are!! They manage to find a replacement from the sidelines so they're back up to fifteen for the restart from a scrum. From which their fly half knocks it on and we have another scrum just outside their twenty two. Rog picks up, is tap       tackled by their scrum half, but still manages to get it to Phil, in turn Nev who kicks for touch but the ball goes out on the full. There's a knock on at the line so we come back for a scrum to Camps, scrum half to fly half and under pressure from our back row he's forced to kick ahead, finds Shannon who steps the first (no surprise there then) goes through a couple of sets of hands before we cough it up just outside their twenty, referee plays good advantage to Camps only for them to kick it away over the top where it's fielded by Ralph who returns it with interest, the ball rolling out a metre or so inside their twenty two. Nick pinches their ball at the ensuing lineout, finds Phil, who spins to Nev who sees the gap and sprints (lol) through, he chips over the next man and the ball cruelly stays in       field for their winger, but Squealer is on him and he's forced to kick into touch about five metres from their line.
They take a scrappy loose ball at the line and kick to clear, their winger is miles in front of the kicker, yet the ref gives accidental offside as Sean & Phil go for the same ball & collide. So it's a scrum on the Camps twenty two, our eight put the pressure on, and their feisty red headed No.8 has to pick up, but his pass is way forward so we have another scrum on the twenty two. Rog picks up and makes the initial yard close in, offloads to Phil, in turn to the Assassin, ref signals penalty advantage,       we plough on, Mark opens his legs (I kid you not) finds Shark in support who sees a path through and goes over about ten metres from the left hand upright 8-0. No problem for Ralph as the kick sails over 10-0.
Our ten point lead doesn't last very long as we fail to deal with the restart and they regain the       loose possession and spin it wide, Fitz is a fingertip away from the interception, and despite Ralph's last ditch tackle they go over at the corner 10-5 conversion missed. With their largely tails up Camps dominate the last few minutes of the half and we're lucky not to go into half time down, thanks only to a try saving tackle from our own young speedster Gimo (like I say all relative) covering back, we       manage to get enough bodies round it and pinch it, Ralph's attempted clearance is deflected back over our line and it's left to Fitz to get it off the park. Despite the following numerous lineouts, scrums, penalties, missed knock-ons and some handbags between Harry Hill & their winger that's the last score of the half.      
Halftime 10-5 Oranges & H2O all round, a few words exchanged. Shark comes off with a twinge (can't remember where, probably his dorsal fin) & Golfball fresh from Moto-Cross in the hills, or was it that other thing the Welsh do in the hills, can't remember now (even though he was really born in Stourbridge, where they have no sheep). Mark comes off & Rick comes on at hooker.
Their No.8 takes the restart and puts it up and Sean takes the catch under pressure, but the ref adjudges the No.8 to have knocked the restart on so we come back for a scrum on their ten metre line more or less centre field, Rog picks up feeds Phil who makes great yards, before offloading it to Fridge who bullocks his way into their twenty two, before passing to Andy on his shoulder; we set and Chris gets his first touch of the game. He's tackled about ten metres out, but we're few in numbers and a Camps player comes through the gate, nicks it and belts it up the field. Ralph       takes the catch in the tram lines, drops the shoulder on the first tackler, but is driven out by the second just inside their half.
It's a brilliant two handed steal on their ball by Nick Levey, and Rick has it in the van, as we drive, takes a moment or two to get going but we do and we cross their ten metre line, and draw the penalty advantage, Sean acting scrum half whips the ball out to Nev who cuts back towards the forwards and comes out the other end and passes to Shannon who makes a yard. We recycle, Phil to Nev, to Chris Rowe, who has to stand it up, then pops it up off his back to Nev who finds Fridge who with his mates drives into their twenty two, ball now in the hands of Rick at the back. He peels off,       finds Golfball who feeds Ralph who has to stand it up, ref sees something penalty Yards. Nev puts it into the corner ball going out about seven or eight metres from their line. Under pressure Casper has to palm it down, Phil gathers, spins to Nev, Fitz comes on the dummy crash, to Max who puts a sublime if speculative (we obviously don't have his vision) low trajectory cross field kick into the path of Mike, who tells me he judged the bounce superbly to scoop it up at what looks like full tilt to round his opposite number and go over under the posts 15-5 Easy one for Ralph 17-5 and a bit of breathing space. Roger comes off for a breather and Ali G comes on at No.8. And one of the opposition players has a lengthy chat to the ref.
For the next few minutes the game becomes a bit stop start, unfortunately mainly stopping with penalties to Camp Hill as we start to lose a bit of discipline & shape. During one of these breaks Nick Levey comes off and Puck Cupples comes on. Despite a now all fresh back row and some aggressive runs by Ali G Camp Hill begin to gain the upper hand as they begin to dominate the breakdowns as the heat begins to take its toll. Andy K suddenly looks like he's sh*t himself, walking wide legged, he tells me his back seized up and Arks comes on in his place in the second row.
There then follows a spell of about five or six minutes where we concede as many penalties, if not more and we go from their twenty two to ours, culminating in a lineout from a penalty kick five or six metres out, which they secure & spin and their centre slices through the middle to score under the posts 17-10, simple conversion 17-12 game on. Debutant Pat Waldron-Healy comes onto the wing in place of Sean.
We appear to find our second breath as we spend the next few minutes camped in their half, applying lots of pressure through our eight as we put their scrum through the mincer, and it's       following a sustained spell of pressure that Max & their equally combative No.8 come to blows and the referee decides to put them both in the naughty corner for ten minutes, leaving Max literally spitting blood.
The game restarts with a scrum to Camps, which we drive them back and the ball pops out, Phil scraggs his opposite number & Puck toe pokes the loose ball forward, and then harries the defender back over his own line and they're forced to touch in goal, attacking scrum five metres out. From the scrum we drive it on a yard before Ali picks & drives for the line, he's held, we recycle & go close again through Fridge, again we're thwarted but illegally so says the ref. So penalty five metres out, lots of dummy runners and Al gets the pass and gets to the line. Again Camps infringe and again we go short through the forwards, we're held up on the line and again the ref awards us another penalty. We take it quickly spin it blind to go over in the corner...but no the ref is still talking to the defence. We go again through big Al and get to the line, quickly recycle and it's Arkell who takes it on the burst, the human equivalent of blunt force trauma and he crashes over to score 22-12. Young       Alex comes on for Mike who it turns out has broken his finger. Ralph goes four from four for the day 24-12 with about five or six minutes to go.
Plenty of time though for us to cough up two tries in quick succession, the first a real Calamity Jane from the deep restart kick....but oh what a pass!! The second slightly more conventional with young legs against old tired ones and with the conversion it's a tied game 24-24 with about two minutes to go and Camps thinking they've done enough to salvage a point, and Slow thinks he'll have to increase the point of no return to 25.
But this Vandals side doesn't give up easily and from the restart, we fly into them and regain possession and then proceed drive the ball forward into their twenty two and then Arkell does what       only Arkell can do, he receives the pill about fifteen metres out with a full head of steam and bulldozes his way to the line, taking time to cream the Camps winger in the process 29-24. Ralph       just a few metres in from touch slots it to go five from five for the day 31-24. Game over.
Final score 31-24.  Final age 632 even with an eighteen year old on the park.
Man with the dirtiest shirt this week goes to Arks for his second half match winning brace.
In all honesty probably not one of our best games, though given the heat, our old legs, their young ones, our self-belligerence finally shone through, and in league footy a win's a win.
Well done. Slow.

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