Old Yardleians RFC: Club News


Mon, 11 Mar 2013 07:42

Unless we get docked points for anything, our First team cannot be caught and with three games to play, first place and promotion are the reward for the commitment and enthusiastic efforts shown by the club as a whole and that includes a good many people. Players, coaches, commitee, groundsmen, bar and kitchen staff, car parking volunteers, sponsors, supporters and, especially, website writers and anybody I have forgotten are all part of the reason for our club being so successful.  Well Done Everyone.
Now what do we turn our attention to ?

First XV
We played host to Alcester, not the largest club in terms of numbers of players to select from, but they are always up for it and you know that you have been in a game when they are in opposittion.  The referee, Mr Collins of the N. Mids Society, falls into the same category as Fridge, arriving somewhat late by which time the Alcester team had been going through their warm-up drills for about an hour. Well, just as we expected, the visitors were a mix of very experienced and very inexperienced players who gave us a difficult time for the first stage of the game. Their rucking was effective and they worked hard in the mauls but scrum and line out were dominated by the Ys. The backs were a little anxious or maybe cold, as the final pass was either poorly directed or the receiver out of position.  Bobo was heard to gently remind them as to what was required once or twice.
Eventually, cracks appeared in the visitors defence and tries were being scored as they began to tire under relentless pressure. Four tries in each half gave a symetrical look to the scoreboard with scorers being Steve Grainger x3, Tom G. x2, Andy x1, Phil.P x1 and Dino x1, plus the usual kicks from Jake.
Next game, over to Harbury for the Midlands Final of the RFU National Vase.  You probably know about this game!

The Development XV, just for a change, saw their scheduled opponents cry off, so were able to watch Wales send the Scots home 'to think again'

The Vandals
made the fairly short trip to Hopwood to play the side one place below us in the merit table, Birmingham Wyvern, on paper a tricky game but as Arkel informed me, we don't play on paper we play on grass and a 24-3 victory should, subject to confirmation, make us the champions of the Merit Table.  Well done to all of you involved in the team. Full match report below.

On sunday we sent two of our teams to Claverdon and played host to two more of their teams.  I hear that all four of our teams won and I look forward to reading details on the mini section of our website.

Under 17s
we faced a very good outfit in the National Competition with Walsall coming out on top but we made them work very hard for their win.  I get the feeling that we play at our best on firm pitches in mild weather as again the only real difference between the teams was the speed of thought and selecting the right options.  Thanks to referee, Martin Crutchley of N. Mids Society and good luck to Walsall as they approach the Midlands Final.

Next weekends Fixtures.
Saturday      First XV   v    Harbury   away    Midlands cup final.  ( seats on the supporters coaches available from Mark Baldwin at £5 return)

Sunday      Under 7,8,9,10, all training
                 Under 17   v  Ledbury  away  League.    (HR8 2LP   approx. 50 miles / 1 hour)

Birmingham Wyvern 1sts vs Vandals - full match report

Back to GBML action this week after a couple of weeks in the Pool with the return game against the reigning GBML champions Birmingham Wyvern over at Five Ways Old Eds' Hopwoood ground. With the continued absence of a current league table since November from league organisers Greater Birmingham, some small amount of homework from myself and the Welsh Intelligence Service (yes I know an oxymoron) led us to suspect that this fixture brought together the top two sides in the league, with us unbeaten & Wyvern we believe having lost three times plus a possible cry off against Birmingham Exiles. From our investigations we are also pretty confident the chasing pack of Harborne, Aston Old Eds & Camp Hill have all lost four league fixtures with only two maybe three fixtures remaining.
So the forwards this week at loosehead Shannon "Stepmeister" Killarney, Mark "who threw all the pies" Baldwin & Pete "Fudge" Butler at tight, John "Casper" Lonie  alongside Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn in the boiler room, with a back row of  Marcus "Shark" Hope,  Nick "the Assassin" Levey & Alan "the Colt" Arkell at No.8.
The glory boys this week at scrum half Phil "the General" Evans partnering Max "Gimo" Gimson at ten, Tony "Fitz" Fitgerald & Dave "Blade" McGill in midfield with a back three of Lee "Coatesy" Coates, Chris "Golfball" Rowe & Dave "Ralph" Rollins at full back.          
A large sofa this week in Bill "Bilbo" Burrows, Nick "Barrel" Palmer, Mike "PFI" Neary, Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney, Rupert "the Major" Young & Ali "G" Gouldbourn fresh from girlie netball umpiring!
For me this was the first time back at Five Ways since their fire in 2006 and I'm sure they had more than four changing rooms back then; anyway with all three co-habiting "home" sides playing in Eds, Wyvern & Griffs this meant the Vandals & Spartans two of history's bad boys were forced to room together, and if you're reading Sideways, they were good enough to ask after your health.
Now very unusually it was us who were out on the park first in our nice nearly new training tops with no sign of the opposition, so we set about warming up & running through our vast repertoire of moves. Eventually Wyvern did begin to appear in ones & twos and proceeded to prep the very soggy pitch that was at best only partially visible having just been marked out for soccer. The man in the middle this week Mr Les Smith and when he called us all to order whilst we could see Fudge in the distance the man was not to be hurried, so Slow opted to start the game with fourteen, rather than sacrifice an interchange, and knowing that we usually weigh more with seven than most do with eight!
Having lost the toss (some say again) we kick off, and it's fielded cleanly by one of their big units only to be felled by the General and the ball squirts forward for a scrum to us inside their twenty two and central to the posts. Now with Fudge still ambling to the pitch, Casper mans up and props for the first one, they turn us over but are pinged in the act and we opt for a pot at goal. Normally this would be meat & drink for Ralph, but he's on a diet as it goes wide of the posts for a twenty two drop out to Wyvern, but Pete does finally make it onto the pitch.
The drop out ricochets off Pie Chucker, technically a charge down as the ball cannons back all the way to the Wyvern goal line, where they bang it back down field, where it's taken by Max, he steps a couple before offloading to Chris, he ducks the first tackle and Shannon's to him and we go to ground. The General digs it out spins to Max and he dinks one over for the fullback to chase, he knocks it on but ref deems it's gone backwards, Max hits him just as he gathers a metre or so in front of their line and Casper's next to it & then the rest of the Massive join in. The ball disappears for a moment, but Wyvern do finally come away with it and kick it to Coatesy who replies in kind with a raking touchfinder, the ball going out about two or three metres inside their twenty two.
Shark gets a hand to it but the tap down evades both Mark & Phil, and it bobbles over the twenty two, Wyvern are first to it and their tattooed No.8 goes on the charge, he's held up by Casper, BMT & the Assassin, so they have to recycle again. Fridge goes through the gate and their hurried clearance as a result takes a deflection, the kick still finds Ralph who's then clotheslined for his trouble, penalty Yards on their ten metre line. The kick doesn't make touch but one of their three big lads instead and he sets off, but whilst he's tackled in short order by Casper, he can't prevent the offload to their No.8 but Nick's lined him up. Looks like they've blown us away at the ruck but the General cheekily steps through and pinches it, he offloads to Coatesy, great offload back to Phil, to Fridge, but he's on his own, Coatesy gets to him, short pop to Arks, he makes a couple before going into contact, BMT is next to have a go, we're almost on their line but the ball is knocked on. No matter, ref playing advantage for offside about ten metres out, this time we opt for one of our clever penalty moves known as scrum and with a full compliment of 144 stones we march them backwards, crabbing towards the posts, the General giving directions and Arks goes over for his eleventh of the season 5-0 Ralph makes no mistake with this one 7-0
Wyvern come back strongly and after a bit of aerial ping pong their slender fly half makes a clean break up the middle, crosses our twenty two only to succumb to the Magoo Triangle and trip up with the line at his mercy, Coatesy then does enough to hold him up long enough for the cavalry to arrive, before they infringe and we get the penalty from which Max clears the danger. Both sides then continue to pepper each other with kicks, most of which don't make touch with the heavy pitch removing any possibility of a friendly bounce.
It's from one of these arial encounters we score our second try, one of their kicks is skillfully kept in by Fitz inside our twenty two, he finds Coatesy in support who hoofs it back where it's taken by their No.8 on their twenty two, he makes a yard before he succumbs to kicking fever and he belts it back down the pitch. This time it's well taken by Blade on our twenty two, he cunningly picks out their hooker and kicks it to him, the hooker all excited forgets where he is and kicks it direct into touch for a lineout to Yards six or seven metres outside their twenty two. Shark takes at two and we spin, Phil to Max, scissors or DSP in midfield but the ball goes loose and Golfball has to drop on it, but Wyvern are pinged for hands in at the subsequent ruck.
We kick for position, the ball going out about ten metres from their line. Pie Chucker makes big Phil work for it at four as he has to pluck it from over their side, we spin, Fitz on the dummy scissors, Max to Chris in off his wing, he makes the initial penetration, but then is dumped, we recycle, Phil to Max, miss pass to Ralphy in the line, to Coatesy, he gasses his man & cuts back inside, offloads back to Ralph who goes over wide out 12-0 & he converts his own work virtually from the touchline 14-0.
We're unlucky not to increase our tally further a few minutes later following a great individual effort from Coatesy taking a pass in midfield he gasses a couple before chipping ahead, he gets to his own kick and grubbers it ahead on the half volley and then it becomes a foot race between him & a defender. Coatsey is adamant he's grounded it in goal, but the ref, way off in the distance is having none of it and Wyvern get the drop out instead....and Lee is not a happy father to be.
Lee is instrumental however, in the build up to our next score, when he magnificently keeps a penalty from going into touch inside our twenty two; he then puts it up, makes the follow up tackle on the catcher and the Massive pile in, & Wyvern are pinged for hanging on. Max drills the penalty into touch about fifteen metres from their line. Big Phil takes at four and we drive, ball comes back to Mark, his bum cleavage resplendent in the Spring sunshine, Coatesy obviously still irked joins the maul, and then comes away with it as we send a diversionary pod over the line. Meanwhile Lee gets held up on the line, we recycle and the ball comes back through Mark, Phil zips it away far side to Ralph and he muscles his way over from a few metres 19-0 and once again improves his tally further 21-0 and the game begins to take on a similar scoring pattern to our previous encounter.
Our Eight gradually get on top in the set pieces, and Shark & BMT begin dominating the lineouts on both throws, and we also manage to get our maul going a couple of times in the difficult conditions; but despite this it's Wyvern who score the last points of the first half with a well struck penalty from just outside our twenty two with a couple of minutes left in the half 21-3.
Halftime 21-3 and Ali G comes on for Arks at No.8, the huddle is full of steely determination & Slow leaves Marcus to it.
Quite honestly I'm not going to bore you with the second half, which became a very attritional affair on an increasingly deteriorating playing surface, other than to say we won it 3-0 with another penalty from Ralph and despite Mr Smith seemingly taking a dislike to everything we did in the second half & pinging us every other minute, not to mention Max's hilarious "mark" that never was! Those other guys on the bench who came on in the second half at various intervals, Mike, Andy, Nick, Rupe & Bill all playing their part in the difficult conditions & keeping our try line intact for the first time this season...I kid you not we have leaked at least one try in every other game.
Final Score 24-3 and with it the league title on 52 points, 68 if you add the four walkovers (something that still remains unlear), final age for the second week in a row 672 our youngster Coatesy at 33 bringing the average age down yet again.
Man in the Dirtiest Shirt this week Ralph for his personal haul of two tries, three conversions & a penalty, however, physically the dirtiest shirt actually belonged to Levey, who at one lineout literally blended in with the fence on the far side.....my washing machine having washed all twenty shirts.....twice....will never quite be the same again!
For those of you who don't know we got a mention in this months Rugby World (attached) but the original piece was about five times as long and was about the Club as a whole, the editor taking rather his own slant in the end, still nice to get a mention.
A well earned week off this week to go watch the Ones in the National Vase Midlands Final over at Harbury
Well done, who'd have thought it at our age!!

ps In the lost property office this week a pair of black extra extra large waterproof trousers, any takers??
Also the pair of large navy Umbro tracksuit bottoms remain unclaimed.

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