Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Miserable weather but Ys brighten up the day.

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 09:34

First XV  v  Alcester.
I had a choice to make on saturday.  I could have gone shopping with she who knows all about retail endurance exercises, I could have stayed in the warm and watched another pitifull performance from England or I could watch the Old Yards perform live at Alcester.  As it turned out, the choice was made for me as two rugby loving friends from years ago arrived at my front door.  Lyndon an elusive fly-half from South Wales and Richard, the chairman of a club from the Wirral demanded to take a look at the rejuvenated Yards first XV.

Having enjoyed a pleasant drive through the Warwickshire countryside with a little moisture in the air, we arrived at the small but friendly club in a 'Miss Marple' sounding place called Kings Coughton, or something very similar to that. On arrival we could see both teams going through the mandatory warm-up routines.  Entering the clubhouse, we were faced with the good folk of Alcester enjoying what looked like a Christmas dinner.  In their midst I noticed our President and Chairman scoffing away with the local dignitaries while the true supporters such as Brian and Drew were waiting patiently in the stand/smokers shed for the action to begin.

On a very heavy pitch (I am sure that all pitches were the same), the Ys produced an impressive performance.  The pack were very much on top in both set and loose play, depriving Alcester of any worthwhile possession. A special mention here for long-serving number 8 turned prop, Gary Robinson who was again immense in scoring tries, scrumaging and close support play.  With our regular half-backs being rested the back up pair had excellent games.  On a day when handling as well as running with the ball were going to be difficult, it was great to see the Ys backs attacking at speed from all positions with our support play of the highest order being too much for the hosts to handle.  In fact,the whole team played very well as did the replacements when they were given their opportunity. .

In fairness to Alcester they continued to defend with determination but had so little possession that any attacking opportunities were scarce.  With the clock ticking it was difficult to spot which players were which as both sets of shirts were now a brownish-grey.  The final score saw another large win for the Yards.  Eleven tries and two conversions (blame the mud) gave us a winning score of 59 - 3.  This puts us in a strong league position but this coming weekend sees a slight distraction coming our way.

RFU Junior Vase
This coming saturday, 1st December, sees us travelling to Uttoxeter for the next round of the competition.  As the final is played on the turf of HQ at Twickers, it should be the case that motivation is not a real issue.  I cannot tell you much about the host club other than the fact that they are in a parallel league to us.  Support would be appreciated and Jan Collins is organising the fleet of coaches.
A win would ,I think, put us in the final four of the Midlands region, but I feel we should take it in Harry Redknapp terminology, 'one game at a time'.

Other club games
The Development team played at home against Veseyans 2s.  With Luke Clements, again in good form, scoring 2 tries the Yards went on to win by 45 - 0

The Vandals had a tricky looking game against Birmingham Wyvern 1sts, but two tries from the 'Evergreen' Arkell, one for Simon S. and a kick from Ralph, took us through to a victory by 18 - 12.

Vandals vs Birmingham Wyvern 1sts - full match report

Last Saturday saw us in what we thought was the top of the table clash with last year's Greater Birmingham Merit League champions Wyvern 1sts at Tilehouse Lane but after chatting with a few of our "old boys" it turned out Harborne 2nds had beaten them 24-14 in a close encounter the previous week so we were already sitting pretty on top as the league's only remaining unbeaten side.
Without a league table to refer to, and going purely on other Clubs' website results I'm pretty confident the top of the table looks like this Vandals, Wyvern 1sts, Harborne 2nds & probably AOE 3rds in that order.
Quite horrible conditions this week, bitterly cold, with squawly rain and a pitch barely holding its own for drainage, in fact Simmers apologised to me before the game for being unable to mark the pitch as the marking machine was behaving more like a plough!
Our referee this week, obviously recognising the importance of the fixture, the GB Merit League co-organiser himself, Jim Looney.
The starting eight this week Shannon "Steps" Killarney, Rick "Swing" Lowe &  Peter "Fudge" Butler in the front row, Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney partnering  Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn in the boiler room; with a back row of  Marcus "Shark" Hope ,  Chris "Golfball" Rowe & Alan "the Colt" Arkell at No .8.
The Girls this week , at scrum half  Phil "the General" Evans  alongside Max "Gimo" Gimson at fly half, in midfield  Jace "the Ace" Goodwin &  Simon "Sideways" Singleton  with  a back three of Sean "Squealer" Byrne, Lee "Coatsey" Coates and Dave "Ralph" Rollins at full back.      
On the bench this week and trying to keep as warm as possible John "Casper" Lonie, Mike "Nearly" Neary, Ian "Nev" Neville, Tony "Fitz" Fitzgerald & Nick "the Assassin" Levey.
Wyvern being young & keen go about doing their drills, and while Slow paces up & down sweating over the whereabouts of his two props, Fitzy assures me we too had a good warm up session, running through our extensive playbook!
Stunt skipper Shark wins the toss and opts to kick with Wyvern defending the Clubhouse end in the first half; interesting match up at outside centre with our PE teacher Symes lining up against their PE teacher and former Yards winger Seymour.
Fitz must've been telling the truth as for once as we came out of the blocks like old men posessed.
It's a slightly delayed & deep kick off and despite a couple of bounces it's fielded cleanly by Wyvern and it's returned with interest the ball going out just inside our half. Bit of an obvious height advantage in the line with big Phil being almost a head taller than any of the opposition forwards, and it tells as Rick hits his man first time and the General barks "drive!!" which we do, five metres, ten metres, fifteen, twenty and then we spin: General to Max, Jase comes in on the dummy scissors, Max to Sideways, he goes then grubbers ahead and gasses the defender to dot it down wide out 5-0 with just 66 seconds on the clock, the difficult conversion is missed but best start of the season so far.
We increase our lead a couple of minutes later following an attacking lineout midway between their twenty two & ten metre lines; big Phil takes the catch at four and we drive before Shark takes the first short pop, he goes to ground and we recycle, Phil ships it to Max, the Ace comes in on the scissors and breaks into the twenty two. He goes to ground and everybody piles in, Jim Looney signals penalty advantage to Yards for hands in, but we keep pressing, big Phil acts as scrum half pops it to Shannon, he sells one but they're not buying so has to stand it up. then we spin right and Max  grubbers it towards the corner, but no real advantage so we come back for the penalty. Under Slow's new dispensation for merit games we opt for the kick at goal and Ralph slots the three points 8-0
Wyvern opt for a quick restart and it's the General who has to field the kick inside our twenty two and he puts in a great clearance the ball going out just in front of their ten metre line. They take at two despite Shark's best efforts but merely kick a low trajectory ball back to us which Shannon takes and they get pinged for being in front of the kicker. Max kicks for touch, the ball going out just inside their twenty two. Rick goes for big Phil but a Wyvern hand gets in the mix and Sir deems it's a double knock on, one each way, and gives the game's first scrum to Wyvern; no matter as our Eight put on the squeeze and the Wyvern hooker makes like an astronaut, penalty Yards. Max bangs it into the corner. Rick hits Shark at two and we drive to the line and Wyvern are forced to pull it down, penalty Yards. We opt for an attacking scrum, ball comes in, nice & steady and with the General giving directions off we go towards the line and there is little the Wyvern pack can do as Arks goes over for his ninth of the season 13-0 after twelve minutes and Casper rues making a rash opening season bet with Arkell on tries scored between them. Ralph's conversion goes just wide.
We continue to dominate the first half, as Wyvern continue to rack up the penalties and kick away possession. Ralph is unlucky not to score after a good bit of interplay between him & Coatesy, but Lee's foot is judged just in touch. But our third try is not long in coming, following a scrum just outside their ten metre line, rock steady ball, Phil to Max who fires one cross field for Sean & Simon to chase onto, a Wyvern defender manages to get to it first but he's driven into touch by our pursuit team a metre or so inside their twenty two for a lineout to Yards. This time it's BMT who takes it at four and off to the races we go again, and again they try to collapse the maul as we head inexorably towards the line, but we have sufficient numbers & organisation as the Colt goes over for his second try of the game 18-0. Conversion missed.
We continue to dominate in the tight and we first take one against the head, and shortly after we simply drive them off their own ball, but get pinged as Phil's judged to have come round off side. Wyvern do get a chance to open their account after the half hour when they opt to take a pot at goal from a penalty five or so metres outside our twenty two but the kick lacks both height & direction and goes through harmlessly for touch in goal. We are thwarted again some minutes later as our juggernaut drives for the line and we are pinged for truck & trailer with the line seemingly at our mercy, and to to add insult to injury Jim sends us back a further ten metres for back chat. The closing moments of the half sees some good strong runs from Coatesy, Simon & Jason and some light relief when one of their backs has a hissy fit, takes off his shirt & heads towards the showers, only to be reminded by his mates that it's a team game and he puts his shirt back on.
Halftime 18-0 We've been at this long enough, to know what needs saying, and it's too bloody cold for drinks! Slow opts for no immediate changes at half time.
We expect Wyvern to come out strongly in the second half but they don't have the best of starts as the restart fails to go ten and we come back for the scrum centre field. But gradually Wyvern do come more & more into the game persisting with their largely quick kick & rush game, and the game becomes largely stuck between the two twenty two's as the kickers both go for position. Slow rings the first change about five minutes in as the Golfball comes off and Nick Levey comes on to the flank, followed shortly after when the General comes off Squealer moves to nine & Mike Neary comes onto the wing. The conditions continue to deteriorate as the temperature drops and the pitch becomes increasingly heavy underfoot, ideal conditions then for sun loving Casper as he comes on at eight to relieve his mucca Arkell.
Wyvern finally get on to the scoreboard a few minutes later when one of their players recovers a loose clearance kick a few metres outside our twenty two and he runs through a broken & static defence unmolested (not like the BBC then) to score what was from our point of view a really soft try 18-5 conversion missed. Slow spits on some feathers.
A mud splattered Jase comes off and Tony Fitz goes on at inside centre.
Wyvern continue to apply pressure as we look as if we're tiring and after two or three penalties, a chat between the ref & Marcus and a five minute spell of balls to the wall defence a quickly taken close range penalty sees their No.8 crash over to score close to the posts, which they go on to convert 18-12 and it's squeaky bum time!
But with just under fifteen minutes to go we begin to dip into that stuff other sides don't have in abundance...experience, as we gradually get back on top to both slow & close the game down and starve Wyvern of any more meaningful possession and the final whistle goes.
Final Score 18-12 final age 676.
The changing room despite the win is deathly quiet as I think we'd given our all against a side generally half our age in conditions reminiscent of the Somme.
Man in the dirtiest shirt this week Swing Lowe mainly for his moustache!
Saturday off this week, and for some a beer bus trip to watch the Ones in the fourth round of the National Vase over at Uttoxeter.
Finally apologies in writing to Nev for not getting him on.
Minis and  Juniors
 With the pitches getting a hammering on saturday and with rain continuing through the night, the blanket cancellation came as no real surprise.  However, with a bit of luck the following games are scheduled for this coming sunday (2nd Dec)

Under 7    v  Kings Norton   away   10.30 kick off
Under 8      Home  v  Sutton   11.00
Under 9      Home  v  Sutton   v  Bromsgrove  (triangular kick off 10.30)
Under 10    Away   v   Bromsgrove  11.00
Under  17   v   Yardley and District  (league)  at Old Yards  11.00 kick off

Guess who
Going back in time to the days when Sid had hair, this week's celebrity was a scrum- half who had dreams of playing for Moseley.  He also considered himself to be a star cricketer but his mate Guy Shears(of TV fame but not on Watchdog) suggests that was also a dream.  Anyway, he was a good bloke to have at the club and if any of you approach him in Kavanagh's Bar in Moseley on a friday night with the phrase, 'Good day Mate, tell us how good a scrum half you were',  he will surely buy you a pint while you listen.

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