Old Yardleians RFC: Club News


Tue, 08 Jan 2013 12:14

Greetings to you all, Old Yardleians, players and supporters and followers of rugby whether local, national or even international.  I hope that the remainder of the season is enjoyable and successful.On a personal basis my son gave us a very interesting christmas present in the shape of tickets to watch Wasps against Bath last sunday afternoon. Wasps play their premiership home games at Wycombe Wanderers football clubs stadium, Adams Park. Well it was quite a shock to the system. In brief, you exit the M40, drive to a 'park and ride' area and climb aboard a double decker bus.  This drops you in an industrial estate which you then walk through for about 3/4 of a mile.  The stadium greets you with a selection of food and drink areas but being mid-winter it is all outside in the fresh air.  Well, as kick off time approaches we find our seats which were in a very good part of the ground.  In terms of comfort I would suggest that Fridge and Luke might find the seats to be rather a tight squeeze. The game itself was good with Wasps ending up as winners.  In my view Bath were a little unlucky with the officials not working very well together and the man with the whistle being a touch inconsistent especially in the case of scrums collapsing.
More grumbles to come.  She who needs the 'Ladies' at the end of the game was not very happy as only two cubicles were provided for the gals. This put us a long way back in the bus queue which enabled us to admire the industrial area of town.  The bus only took an hour to arrive and another 20 mins to drop us at the car park.
Overall, good rugby, good present, good social gathering and I won't detail the negatives again.

First XV

Saturday afternoon saw a drive into the Warwickshire countryside where you find (if you use your satnav) Claverdon RFC.  The home team had the North side of the Matterhorn in their favour in the first half and the home supporters were surprisingly optimistic as half time arrived with the scores very close.  Claverdon had played very well and with 'local pitch knowledge' they could feel pleased with themselves.
This did not really worry the Yards too much as the second half followed a pattern we had seen in previous games this season.  Whereas the hosts had a plan A, when that didn't work they were in trouble.  However, the Yards were able to play a wide expansive style of rugby but were also able to play a tight, driving game which sapped the energy of the opposition pack. Furthermore, as replacements came off the bench, the depth of ability of the Yards newcomers was evident for all to see. 
I will not attempt to single out individual performances but yet again the whole squad played very well.  The fitness and support play was too much for Claverdon to handle as the game progressed, and as a result gaps appeared which the Yards exploited and the final score of 47 - 19 is probably a fair reflection of the game. 
The referee did quite well although the son of our president got another 10 minute breather followed by a try.  The home side's photographer was busy and I feel sure you can see the pics somewhere or other. The home supporters were a friendly bunch of chaps with a good understanding of the game and it was good to see ex-Tommies Rugby coach Mr Haydn Rees at the game.

Development XV
Our up and coming boys had a potentially difficult game against Stourport First XV.  Apparently we won convinsingly by 19 - 5 but we are still looking for one of the team to master the art of communication, but we are working at it.  A good result nevertheless.

Vandals XV
Can anyone stop this 'Mean Machine'?  A more than usefull Evesham side were the guests at Tilehouse Lane but again, our more senior performers ran out winners by 34 - 19.  Try scorers were Lee Coates x2, Peter Butler (aka Fridge), Chicken and Ralph who also got some kicks over.

Vandals vs Evesham - full match report

With Birmingham Civil Service doing the GBML cry-off double on us for the season we were forced to go swimming in the Pool again last Saturday, with Gethin at the second attempt finding us a home fixture against Evesham 4ths. Now Gethin & I were a bit surprised that they had a 4ths, given as today demonstrated, a lot of clubs are struggling to run two sides these days, so we set about doing a small amount of research to confirm that all their other three teams were in fact in gainful employment...wonderful thing this interweb. With the Hereford & Worcester Merit league website finally confirming that all three sides were indeed in action the only real cause for concern looking at their team photograph was their abundance of youth!
The pack this week Shannon "Steps" Killarney, Rick "Swing" Lowe" & Mark " Pie Chucker " Baldwin starting in the front row, John "Casper" Loniepartnering Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn in the boiler room, with a back row of Marcus "Shark" Hope,  Rupert "the Major" Young & Roger "the Dodger" Lazenby gluing it all together at No.8. 
In the backs at scrum half Phil "the General" Evans alongside Barry-John "Baz" Cole in his first game since injuring his knee over at Stourport in September, Tony "Fitz" Fitzgerald & Lee "Coatsey" Coates in midfield with a back three of Chris "Golfball" Rowe, Dave "Chicken" Hanson and Dave "Ralph" Rollins at full back.
Another full bench this week, although somewhat lopsided in terms of forwards, in Ali "Spasm" Gouldbourn, Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney, Peter "Fudge" Butler, Iain "Johnno" Johnson, Alan "the Colt" Arkell and surprise package Bill "Bilbo" Burrows putting his boots on for the first time since May 2011!
With the first team pitch being held back for "better things" an unseasonably mild January afternoon found us on the tundra of the top pitch, though now thankfully clear of surface water. The referee this week the vocal Mr Graham Daly who officiated in the recent & sometimes ill-tempered GBML game against Yardley & District 2nds.
As anticipated it is a fairly young & fit looking Evesham side that takes to the park, with the exception of three players their hooker, his 50th birthday incidentally, the fly half and their skipper Nutty on the touchline.
Stunt skipper Shark wins the toss and opts to give Evesham the low Winter sun, with us playing towards the Highgate end in the first half.
The Evesham kick off doesn't go ten so we come back for a scrum midfield, steady ball but the Major is unlucky to be pinged as the ball appears to come out, but goes back in and he's deemed to have broken early or some such combination of events. They kick deep to touch but it's fielded by Golfball five metres inside our twenty two and he sets off and gains a few yards before going to ground and the boys gather round, General spins to Baz, to Fitz, to Coatsey, he's tackled we recycle and Phil box kicks it out, the ball going into touch close to our ten metre line. They take cleanly at two, spin and their fly half goes right through us, sells the odd dummy and goes over virtually unmolested to score under the posts with barely ninety seconds on the clock, simple conversion 0-7. Slow idly wonders if the Evesham youngsters are thinking a nice afternoon of running round the elderly is on the cards.
However, it does take us five or so minutes to get into our stride and shrug some off the Christmas cobwebs and open our account. Following our first real incursion into Evesham territory, with little else on a good touch finder by Tony Fitz sees the ball going out fifteen or so metres from their line. We put their jumper under pressure and and turn it over and Shannon gets to within five metres of their line before going to ground, we look to go again but the Evesham scrum half is pinged for interfering with the General. We take it quickly and the ball is spun out to Coatsey who resists Golfball's numerous loud pleas for the pass and bludgeons his way over to score 5-7 Ralph's conversion attempt from about five metres in is close but not close enough.
This week's comic moment follows shortly after when just as the Stourbridge Express is about to make a critical tackle inside our twenty two he decides to get on his hands & knees, presumably praying to Mecca or Merthyr, though he assures me he simply tripped, probably on one of our numerous mole holes and it's left to Ralph to save Chris' blushes & make the try saving tackle instead. But we're pinged for not releasing just in front of our goal line and Evesham fancying their chances opt for an attacking scrum, but the Massive is not having any of it & simply drive them off their own ball; the aftermath of which is a bit fractious as we kick down field. The ball doesn't make touch and is returned with interest, big Phil takes a good catch narrowly avoiding Shannon in the process, and takes it into contact and we all pile in, recycle & spin and Coatesy sends one down deep. The playing surface on another day would have seen this bouncing over the try line but not today as it stops obligingly short and the fly half is forced to play it and gets both Chicken & Coatsey for his trouble and he's pinged for not releasing and Chicken vents his frustration and the two skippers are called together for the first chat of the day. After which Ralph calmly steps up and slots the penalty to take the lead 8-7.
We continue to rack up the penalty count as the half continues, as more & more niggle begins to creep in and I get the impression that we're beginning to think the world if not just the referee is against us.
About five minutes later following a good clearance from Chicken, big Phil pinches their lineout ball and we drive it on only to spill it and they come away with it, they spin and the fly half brings the inside centre in on the crash; big Phil makes the tackle and Rog does the dirty work & strips the ball and the General ships it out to Baz, to Fitz, to Coatsey who hands one off then lights 'em up to go in under the posts 13-7, simple one for Ralph 15-7.
We knock on at the restart, scrum to Evesham, but that mysteriously goes ninety & we get the put in, but then the Major's pinged for impeding the scrum half's progress with his legs...now when was the last time you saw that one given?!
Following a good spell of pressure we get the opportunity with a couple of minutes left in the half to increase our lead further when we are awarded a penalty following one of our few driving mauls of the day being illegally infiltrated, now nine times out of ten Ralph would have nailed this, this was number ten obviously as he undercooks it, I was so confident I'd even said this makes it 18-7 on the recorder! 
They come short side with the restart with a cheeky chip, but Golfball's in there and they get themselves into bother and concede the penalty for not releasing. We take it quickly and Coatsey ghosts past his man, but he's eventually brought down, and the ball goes loose but Shark's onto it, and we gather round and chip one over the top for Golfball to chase; he gets the catcher, but is unable to prevent him getting the pass away and the ball is punted back down into our half where Ralph takes it and wellies it back down into the corner where again the ball obligingly stops dead in front of their try line & again they thump it back down field. This time it's Coatsey who picks it up and backs himself and a powerful run gets him to within fifteen metres of their line before he's stopped, and the forwards pile in. Phil finds Shannon, and we go again as a bit of a fight erupts close to the touchline, and using this as cover Baz finds Ralph in a little bit of space and over he goes to score 20-7. Conversion unsuccessful and with that the whistle goes.
Halftime 20-7 and a flattering lead in all honesty given a fairly unconvincing first forty. Rick comes off, Mark moves to hooker and Fridge comes on at tighthead, & Ali G 
swaps with Roger at No.8. Slow has a few choice words and we go back to work. 
It's all a bit nip & tuck for the first ten or so minutes as we turn the ball over a couple of times, drive them off their own ball a couple of times & concede a penalty a couple of times. Five or six minutes in, his bowels now settled (don't ask)  Andy comes on for John, and Johnno for Phil at scrum half. Evesham obviously have decided on a new tactic at half time as the half backs start to box kick over the top in order to turn us round. 
About ten minutes in Evesham now in the ascendency are unlucky not to score following a lineout about ten metres from our line, luckily the ref brings them back and gives them a penalty instead, they go quickly through the hooker, but he's held by Shannon and it goes to ground, we drive over the top and look to have turned it over just as Johnno's pinged for use of the foot trying to dig the pill out. They go again through the forwards using a rehearsed pivot move & again we stand firm so they spin, but the ball goes over the head of the fly half and it's left to the centre with the haircut to pick up the pieces and a couple of missed tackles sees him go clean through and get to about five metres from our line where we concede yet another penalty. They take it quickly and look to have got over the line but the whistle's gone again and they have to come back for yet another penalty, now Slow begins thinking we're in the realms of a yellow card for persistent infringement but get away with it and when the next set of passes breaks down Johnno & Baz combine to clear our lines, Baz whether by luck or design faking touch in goal before passing to Johnno to kick it clear.
But it's only a temporary respite when about twenty minutes in, following another if unusual penalty decision, where having tried to run it out of defence, the ball is knocked on in midfield and the loose ball hits somebody in front of the original ball carrier for an offside (I think). Evesham then put it into the corner for an attacking lineout on our five, it looks at first as if we've stolen it but Evesham retain possession and spin, their accomplished fly half does well to hang onto it and creates a bit of space in doing so, and it goes quickly through the hands out wide where they have numbers to go over in the corner 20-12. Conversion is missed.
It's a deep restart, the ball being caught a few metres in front of their twenty two, they set, then opt to run it out from defence, but Chicken makes a good tackle out wide just as the guy was being looped, and we turn it over, Johnno goes a yard and offloads to Rupe in midfield, he takes the tackle and we spin inside to Ralph, to Marcus & into contact, but we're pinged for handling in the ruck as the Massive pile in. They take it quickly, goes through a couple of pairs of hands before I think it's the centre who goes route one to score under the posts and with the conversion 20-19 & squeaky bum time with just over a quarter of an hour to go. At which point Big Arks comes onto the flank in place of the Major for his first outing in six weeks.
With just under ten minutes to go following a strong bish bosh run out from deep inside our twenty two by Golfball we're awarded a penalty for not rolling away after the tackle, from which Ralph despatches it down the touchline, the ball going out a few metres in front of their twenty two. Big Phil takes Mark's pie at four and we drive, Johnno directs operations before Arks breaks free and boshes a couple before going to ground; we recycle Gareth Baldwin at nine finds Baz, inside to Fitz, he makes another couple, before offloading to Fridge, then Shannon who finds Chicken in support & he wriggles over to score 25-19. Pressure kick for Ralph, as still just a converted try in it, but he coolly bisects the uprights 27-19. 
But within a minute or so with our dander well & truly up we're back down in their red zone and Fridge puts us out of sight when he takes the pass off Alistair and crashes over to score 32-19 Ralph steps up and converts 34-19. At which point Bilbo comes on in place of Shannon.
With about five minutes to go Swing Lowe comes back on at hooker and Mark takes a breather.
But Evesham's youngsters refuse to lie down and they are only thwarted from scoring a fourth try by some good last ditch defence on the blind side by BMT, Chicken & Coatesy who still has time to fit in some handbags as he's driven into touch, but that's moreorless it for today.
Final Score 34-19 final age 690 taking us to 10,000 years for the season so far...I kid you not!! 
And another landmark as our pack weight hits 146 stones during the game surpassing our previous highest against Handsworth as Christmas takes its toll & averaging 18.25 stones a man with Shark gaining nearly five stones in the process!!
Man in the Dirtiest Shirt this week goes to the old fella in midfield Fitz, who's still quietly making the hard yards & big hits.

Forthcoming Games
Saturday12th January          First XV            v       Manor Park      League   Home  2.15
                                           Dev XV             v      Kings Norton                  Away   2.15
                                           Vandals              v      Old Salts           Merit      Home  2.15

Sunday 13th  January        Under 7,8,10      all at Redditch.  
                                           Under 9                 at woodrush
                                            Under17               v   Five Ways   (details to follow)

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