Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Rugby Round-up 26th April 2014 - The season closes

Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:00

With the Midlands West 3 (South) title already won and Gloucester side Cheltenham North declining to play the season's final league game last Saturday's weather postponed game away to Pershore in the picturesque village of Wyre Piddle was to be Old Yardleians final competitive game of the 2013/14 season. And with at least half a dozen players missing from the title decider two weeks ago Old Yards' strength in depth was tested to breaking point with the side being forced to travel with only two replacements on the bench.

From the start the large home pack decided to take it directly to Yards with plenty of direct but largely unimaginative rugby giving Yards' back row containing both a centre and a fly half plenty to do in the opening quarter. However, it was Yards who opened the scoring largely against the run of play it has to be said with virtually their first foray into the Pershore twenty two when scrum half Lee Purdy sniped over from a ruck. The try being converted by fly half Jake White for a 7-0 lead.

A mark of a good side though is to take their opportunities when they arrive and following another prolonged period of pressure from the home side a long penalty kick from White found the Yards forwards again camped five metres out from the Pershore line, only this time it was former fly half Ian Walker playing on the flank who picked up from the ruck following a good catch and drive, pirouetting his way over to increase the lead to twelve points with White's conversion attempt just drifting wide. That was the final meaningful action of the first half and the two sides had the chance to regroup.

The third quarter was largely all Pershore with their forwards continuing to batter the Yards pack with route one rugby before finally shipping the ball out wide to score their first try of the afternoon, with the conversion bringing them right back into the match at 12-7. This was followed by a second converted try shortly after, taking the home side into the lead for the first time 14-12 and looking good for the win as Yards began to tire.

With twenty minutes to go a special mention must go to replacement prop Peter "the Fridge" Butler coming on and making his season's debut for the first team at the ripe old age of 46, and showing that he is still a wily practitioner in the dark arts of scrummaging.

The final ten minutes were frenetic with bullish skipper Phil Painter exhorting his side on looking for a deciding score while Midlands Senior Vase finalists Pershore defended to a man, and with about five minutes to go, with Yards pressing, the Shirley side were awarded a kickable penalty just outside the Pershore twenty two, however, fly half Jake White pushed his attempt just wide and the large travelling support began to sense that their side's moment had passed.

But with the clock ticking down and pressure building the home side infringed again around their twenty two and North Mids Society referee Damian Hampton awarded another penalty with only seconds remaining and this time White held his nerve to bisect the uprights with what turned out to be the last kick of the match to pinch the win 15-14 thereby increasing Yards' final league winning margin to six points over second placed Pinley. The side now look forward to a few months off before starting life in Midlands West 2 (South) next term.

The Club's second string also brought their winning season to a close when they overcame higher ranked Old Saltleians 2nds at Tilehouse Lane in their final fixture of the season. Yards four tries were scored by prop Luke Griffiths, flanker Glenn O'Reilly, and one each from wingers Paddy Waldron-Healy and Cameron Powell with skipper & fly half Jamie Walton adding two penalties and two conversions in the 30-14 win.

See below for a team photo from the first team game, Old Yards in Maroon.

Martyn Cartwright
Hon. Sec.

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