Old Yardleians RFC: Club News


Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:00

A group of 'retired' players who have followed the Old Yards through thick and thin, entered into another conversation on Saturday in order to offer their collective views on the progress made this season for those who might wish to peruse them

First XV
In similar style to the top football teams, we soon found ourselves able to concentrate on league games and were not going to get bogged down with cup ties. Those of us who travelled over to Coventry to watch the first game of the season at Old Wheats did not honestly believe that we would finish the season as Champions with two games still to play. So what happened ?
The appointment of two very impressive coaches from 'outside' of the Old Ys family started the ball rolling.  The forwards won a lot of possession from both set plays and at the breakdowns. The backs, who always had the potential to succeed, now had the skill and speed to score freely. We now had the ability to play a tight, driving game or a wide, running game depending on what was required.  Possibly the most significant aspect was our defensive organisation which has improved beyond all recognition.
A pride in playing for the club developed, training became a serious part of the set-up and it is very good to see the improvements.

Second/Development XV
Not so very long ago if any of our first teamers got injured it would have created a substantial problem.  The earlier part of the season saw a mix of team performances ranging from exciting to dismal.  Luke lead the team but as many of my front row friends tell me, it is not a very easy position from which to captain a team. In more recent times, Jamie, with his feet firmly on the ground, took over the management of our relatively youthful side and whether it is a coincidence or not, there has been a greater consistency in the way the team has played. A big bonus is that we now have cover for the first team in all positions.

Vandals (Thirds/Vets)
The wealth of experience in this squad of senior club members has again, ensured that winning has been the only way the team know how to play. A special mention for the 'unsung hero' aka Ralph but real name Dave, who has been at our club for nearly a thousand years and still looks like a teenager.  Well done Ralph.

There are very few clubs in this part of the world who can put out four sides on a Saturday,so we are very proud of the fact that not only have we done so but that the blend of last season's talented under 17 team alongside Dave Hanson's collection of willing senior players, has produced some thrilling rugby. They do not shirk from defensive duties and to see them launch attacks from their own line suggests that the future for the club is bright.

Minis and Juniors
I am not sure how it has happened but our little ones on Sunday mornings have multiplied in numbers playing their versions of rugby. Having struggled for numbers not so long ago, there has been an impressive increase in participation. The jury is out as they say, but I think that there are a number of factors.  Excellent management and coaching, school liaision, publicity and communications and an excellent level of support from nearly all the parents of our players.
Recent matches against Camp Hill showed us just how far we have progressed.  The standard of rugby, the number of spectators and amazing car parking organisation from Bobbo were all impressive.  The following week we became even more ambitious hosting two other clubs making a total of 15 teams.  Next season, the fixture sec will see us stretching our horizons in terms of distance travelled as well as strength of opposition. If you don't try these things you will never know how good you are. 

Mick Bloxham
So where does 'Blox' fit into things?  
Last Saturday was a 'big day' for a number of reasons, and Blox seemed to be everywhere. In addition, he persuaded me to write this review and asked very politely if he could be mentioned.  In no particular order, as most of the events tended to overlap, there was the final V. P. gathering of the season, which included a sumptuous buffet and much discussion about how rugby has evolved.  It was good to see the Ullah, Tanky, Martin Cullen, Walking-Stick and, of course, Blox. as well as many others.  Naturally, Mr President and his First Lady were in attendance.
The games went well, with a nail-biting, climax to the First XV game which we clinched by 18-17 over a very good Old Wheats side.  The Hornets played nearby and the 2s and 3s were playing away.  After the match it was really good to see the Wheats join us in colourful beach attire for a selection of activities. Blox thought it was just like the olden days!
Not finished yet.  Eve celebrated a 'special' birthday ( 40th I thought) and it was good to see a young looking resident of Malvern, Keith (Bert) Black who was able to keep an eye on guess who? yes, Mick Bloxham.

Concluding Thoughts
At the moment everything in the garden is rosey, on the pitch and there is a 'feel good factor' evident throughout the club. But we need to remember how it felt to be at the other extreme which is where some of our long standing friends find themselves. So in the words of Bloxham, ask yourself the question, ' What can I do to help to keep the momentum going?' 

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