Old Yardleians RFC: Club News


Tue, 09 Oct 2012 10:41

When Arsenal went the whole season undefeated, they picked up from somewhere the title 'The Invincibles'  Although so far our three senior teams and our under 17s remain undefeated, I don't think that we have that invincible look about us, but at the moment it does feel very nice, especially after a couple of less impressive seasons.

First XV
The Yards travelled to Nuneaton to face Manor Park in the battle of the unbeaten league teams.  In fact, we were informed that they had only lost once at home in almost two years.  It was not going to be easy but our boys were ready to give it a go.
The pattern of the game was established from the start with Yards dominating the set pieces enabling their half backs to kick for position or to probe for gaps in the home sides defence.  That we didn't put points on the scoreboard was as much a result of attacking errors as it was defensive determination. 
It was against the run of play that the Parks opened the scoring with a penaly awarded against the Ys for a rucking offence but with the visitors winning a lot of quick ball and keeping a high tempo to the game, the hosts were struggling to cope and it came as no surprise when lively Ys scrum half, Tom Grocott sliced through the defence to score the first try of the match.  To make things worse for the Park, their scrum half was sent to the sin bin as frustration crept into the game.
As the game progressed the Parks scrum was starting to struggle badly but the Ys were failing to make the most of their opportunities until winger Jim Hendrick broke away to score a try in the corner which was converted by fly half Jake White.  Park responded with a scrappy try which with the conversion brought the half time score to a narrow Ys lead by 14-10
Changing round at the interval, the Yards had the slope to their advantage, and with White dictating the game and with Park's tiring from the relentless pressure it was fairly inevitable that points would come and with an excellent individual try and conversion from White, the floodgates opened and the Yards reached the final whistle with a score of 35-13 in their favour.
The Parks coach was generous in his praise for the visitors' but also suggested that his own side made things difficult for themselves by making too many individual errors.
This coming saturday sees the Yards travelling to Northamptonshire club, Brackley, who are also undefeated this season, in the RFU National Vase competition with kick off at 3.00.
Other successes for the Yards saw their Development XV beat The University of Birmingham 21-18,  The Vandals visited Old Saltleians and came away with a 46-5 win (see full match report below) and on sunday the Under 17s played Willenhall and won a physical encounter by 20-17.

Weekend Fixtures
Saturday 13 october     First XV   v   Brackley  away   Midlands Vase Competition
                                    Development XV   v    Sils    home 
Sunday   14  october     Under 17s     v    Ledbury   (at Portway)  League 11.00

Guess Who?
Sadly, this popular utility back is about to call time on his playing career as he goes into hospital for knee surgery at the end of this month.  On the bright side, he informed me that he was planning to join that elite band of good blokes who qualify as coaches and/or referees in order to support our mini and junior section. The first person to approach him with the words 'You are a good bloke' will be bought a pint of their choice by this very good bloke.

Don't forget
This friday night starting 8.00 prompt at the club will be the comedy night of all time.  3 top mirth makers for just a tenner and it's also former player and coach Rick Thorne's birthday.

And Finally
Yes, we beat the Hammers but that was to be expected.  I am sure that the local teams will avoid the drop and that they are planning when  precisely to start getting results. 

Old Salts vs Vandals Merit League fixture - full match report

Last Saturday found us on the road again over at Water Orton for our third Greater Birmingham Merit League fixture against Old Salts 3rds; having already garnered some local knowledge via Rick that at midday they only had about a dozen players, I was a bit surprised that we didn't receive a phone call to call it off. However, by the time we arrived the numbers had dropped even further to between six & eight players, which had thankfully increased to ten or eleven with about a quarter of an hour to kick off. So it was time to call for volunteers in order to get the game underway, so I'll start with a big thanks to John, Rick, Arks, Andy & Steve Painter for stepping into the breech at various points throughout the game and effectively saving the fixture but more importantly the points. Rick enjoyed himself so much he kept the red & amber shirt on all game!
With Subbuteo scrums also being the order of the day the starting eight then Alan "the Colt" Arkell, Mark "Gethin" Baldwin & Peter “Fridge” Butler in the front row, Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney partnering Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn in the boiler room, with a back row of Nick "Assassin" Levey, Roger "the Dodger" Lazenby and  Ali "Spasm" Gouldbourn at No.8. 
With the General resting his groin, multi-tasking Northener Sean "Squealer" Byrne slotted in at scrum half, with Ian "Nev" Neville fit again after resting his groin at fly half, a new & relatively young partnership in midfield in the shape of Max "Gimo" Gimson & Simon "Sideways" Singleton with Alex “Conan” Doyle & the Stourbridge born Welsh flyer Gerald sorry Chris "Golfball" Rowe on the wings with Mr Angry Dave "Ralph" Rollins at full back.
With our superior numbers Slow lets our other sexagenarian Sid go watch the Ones, and Jace the Ace rest his calf (injured in training Tuesday I may add) and with the Shark being detained at work and Casper, Rick & Steve starting for Old Salts....there was no bench!!
The referee this week our friend Roger Porter from last week, so I'll say no more other than stunt skipper for the week Gethin wins the toss then consults Nev as to which way the wind's blowing opting to play towards Coleshill in the first half and to be honest I'm not sure how many players Salts had in the end whether it was thirteen or fourteen but all credit to them for agreeing to carry on.
We open the scoring about five minutes in, a box kick over the top is taken by Conan, who runs it back and shows good balance evading the first tackler, not so lucky with the second and has to go to ground, but Salts are pinged for coming round offside. Arks tries to take it quickly, but the ref's having none of it, so we opt to go for the corner and Nev puts it out ten or twelve metres from their line. Gethin hits big Phil at four and we set and then drive towards the line, the ball safe in the van with Arks, the drive moves in field & proves unstoppable as Arks flops it down 5-0 Simple conversion for Ralph 7-0
It's a full five minutes before we cross the line again, following some dull aerial ping pong we have a lineout just inside our own half; Gethin finds big Phil at four, tap down to Sean, to Nev, he cuts out Gimo, to Sideways, he skins his man, Ralph's in the line, long pass to the Stourbridge Express, back to Ralph off his boot laces, back inside to Simon, he chips ahead, lights em up and it's a cracking two handed scoop from Symes at full tilt (mind he is a bit closer to the ground) and he goes over about five or six metres in from touch 12-0 Ralph's difficult conversion just misses.
Squealer takes the restart and puts it up and gives chase, Rick's mate big Chris takes the catch and brings it back, Sean makes the tackle and hangs onto the guy's ankle for grim death, and the ball is spilled forward for a "scrum" to Yards moreorless on halfway. With the feed comes the ball, Sean to Nev, Gimo comes on the dummy scissors, Nev spots the gap and goes through, finds Sideways in support, who finds Ralph, to Alex who jinks his way through to the line only to be brought back for a forward pass right at the death, really unlucky, a great flowing move.
From the resulting scrum Sean is ruled offside having come round from Coleshill, and it's a good touch finder the ball going out on our ten. We concede another penalty at that line and they kick to the corner; the ball going out about ten metres from our line. At the ensuing lineout they're pinged for pulling down the jumper and Slow & the Ace exchange guffaws at being given a penalty (maybe it's me, maybe we do give lots of penalties away) . Anyway we kick to clear the ball going out just inside our ten metre. Not the best of lineouts but big Phil manages to hang onto it and sets off into their midfield making ten, fifteen metres before they bring him down. Sean digs it out looks for someone to pass to and and does a 360 in the process before taking it on a yard himself. The Assassin comes in at scrum half and his long pass finds Nev, dummies, spins to Max, to Symes, to Ralph in the line, to the Stourbridge Express, who steps off brilliantly comes back inside, wrong foots two defenders, does a goose step, evades the high one right at the end and goes over for a cracking try 17-0 Conversion missed.
Soon after following another spell of pressure inside their twenty two Salts are awarded a penalty which they kick to touch five or so metres inside their twenty two. They shorten the line, big Chris takes it and he gets a hug off the bear, so Rick in red clears up for them & they spin wide, Rog makes the tackle in midfield and the ball's knocked forward, scrummage Yards. Al picks up at the base and gallops off, but his pass to Sideways is deemed forward, scrum Salts. Ball comes out to their fly half who hoofs it into touch for a lineout just inside their ten metre. Nick Levey takes at two and Alistair tidies up, ref spots something, penalty advantage Yards, Alex comes in off his wing takes the pass & chips over, but no real advantage and we come back for the penalty which Nev puts out about fifteen metres from their line. Nick takes again at two, offloads to Sean who chips over the top, ball's taken by their big prop Edgey and his attempted clearance is charged down by the terrier like Squealer. But ref's whistle goes, he's seen some pulling back of the shirt in pursuit of the kick over. A very alert Gethin takes it quickly and gives the short pop to Arks who goes through virtually unmolested from about ten metres out to score his second of the day 22-0. Conversion missed.
Al takes the deep high restart and sets off into contact, we set, Sean, to Nev, to Ralph, to Simon who cuts back inside dodging defenders as he does, finally has enough of that and offloads to the Stourbridge Express coming inside on the burst & who makes it to their twenty two, ball goes to ground and as if to demonstrate my earlier point big Phil tries to scoop the ball off the deck a la Symes but instead spoons it to the opposition in one flowing move (Slow p*sses himself laughing, all to do with centres of gravity I guess) Anyway there's a pile up on the deck and Squealer alerts all concerned as to the seriousness of his over extended elbow.....how was it he got his nickname again enquires Golfball? After a short lie down the games restarts with a scrum to Salts, they pick up at the base but Roger snuffles it out and with that the half ends.
Half time 22-0 and John & Arks swap places and Slow wonders whether Alan will have to be cut out of their No.8 shirt by the fire brigade after the game?!
It's our restart Nev goes deep and it's fielded on their twenty two and they kick back up field, Sean with the one arm takes it, immediately wishes he hadn't, but ball goes backwards, picks it up & gingerly spins it to Max, who finds Symes, who cuts back in field & links up with the Stourbridge Express who seems to be enjoying playing out on the wing a little too much. Chris takes it into contact, we set, Sean to Ralph, to Nev, to Max, who wrong foots their prop, before offloading to Fridge, who does a Stepmeister, and with a couple hanging onto his coat tails rumbles over a few metres to the left of the post 27-0 Ralph slots this one for a 29-0 lead.
A few minutes later one of their players limps off, followed not long after by Alistair with a strain of some kind and it's fourteen against twelve or thirteen, I have no idea. But Slow muses a week off is looking more & more beneficial. Rog now switches to No.8. From the scrummage restart Salts spin it wide through good sets of hands to their young winger (they usually are) and he comes back inside but Max & Ralph stand him up and Andy steps in and wrenches it free. Sean to Sideways who spots a gap and that's all he needs as he threads his way through their defence to score close to the right of the posts 34-0 and another one for Ralph 36-0.
The restart doesn't go ten, thankfully as Arks had picked up the loose ball and was looking to motor, so we go back for the scrum centre field before which Andy swaps shirts with Steve. Ball comes to the feet of Rog, we split the line, and Sean picks up spins to Nev, dummy scissors, pass to Alex he comes inside, makes good ground before being driven into touch. They win the lineout and look to spin through the hands but the Assassin makes the tackle in midfield and the ball's spilled forward for a scrum to Yards. Rog picks up at the base, feeds Max but his pass to Alex is knocked on, so it's a scrum to Salts about five metres inside their twenty two. Again to their credit they try to pass their way out of danger, but they get turned over and the ball eventually finds Max who darts over in the corner to score our seventh try of the day 41-0 Conversion missed.
The minutes pass and the game gets messy and gets confined between the tramlines as Salts opt for a short yardage game. From a shortened lineout, big Chrissy as Rick calls him, comes blind and goes one on one with our Mark, who bearing in mind he's not our most agile player, still makes a great tackle and brings him down. Not long after Arks gets a chance to run at his mates, and I'm sorry I didn't see who, but someone thankfully brings him down (imagine how impossible he'd be, had he scored for both sides!) and the ball pops free. Sean scoops it up (see low centre of gravity again) and sets Alex going, he makes good yards before being driven out in to touch.
Our final try of the day starts with a lineout to Salts on their twenty two, which they secure and kick over the top, Ralph's attempted trap/half volley bounces kindly into Simon's hands & off he goes weaving through the Salts defence, and gets to within six or seven metres of the line, offloads, the ball finds Gimo in support and he goes over for his second 46-0 Conversion missed.
Disappointingly for the third game in succession the opposition manage a consolation score with the last play of the game as their well built prop Edgey goes over after a series of quick penalties within our twenty two.
Final Score 46-5 Final age 684 (With Al) 634 (without) but either way the average age breaks 45 (cheers Steve).
No dirtiest shirt this week given the nature of the game....but scary thought instead Arks is now top try scorer on five!!!
Week off this week and a road trip to watch the Ones in action over at Brackley, Northamptonshire in the Vase, following week Aston Old Eds 3rds again in the Merit League, please try to make yourselves available so we can consolidate on this good start.

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