Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Match Report - 1st XV vs Willenhall (League)

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 12:00

Old Yardleians 1st XV 12 - 15 Willenhall

Old Yardleians 1st team came unstuck in the final 15 minutes of a heavily competitive match on Saturday, with Willenhall slotting home a penalty in the final five minutes to take all the points. The Yardleian team dominated the majority of the game, with fitness and poor tackling for both Willenhall tries being their undoing. The Old Yards pack continued to dominate the Willenhall pack, especially at the scrumming, with Jack Horton, Billy Bucknall and Peter Bucknall dominating the scrum and winning some good ball for the Yards back row of Ben Honey, Steve Cunningham and Steve Grainger to make efficient runs through the Willenhall defence. With a wayward lineout, Michael Brennen struggled to give good line out ball, with many line outs being overturned. Old Yards started the first 20 minutes very strongly, even without the influential Rich Withey, who was dropped to the bench for this Saturday's encounter. Free flowing rugby entailed, with Seymour Seaton ending a fine backs display of handling with Lee Purdy, Ian Walker, Dean Brain, forever young Dave Hansen and Jo Patrick all giving good passes for Seaton to score in the corner. The try was converted by Ben Honey, who has taken over the kicking duty for the last few games. The Yards defence was tested on the wing on many occasions, only to be prevented by hard tackling of Colin Jones, who is enjoying his first full season in the first team, keeping out an impressive Andy Powrie, who had to settle for a bench position. Willenhall's first try came from a frustrating 10 minutes from Yards, as they were matched back 20 yards for consistently questioning of the ref, who warned them before the game that it would not be tolerated. Being marched 20 yards from the original offence gave Willenhall a chance to kick for a lineout chance deep into the Yard's 22. Willenhall won the line out and their back row ran past three or four tacklers to score in the corner, the conversion was missed. Yards regrouped through Steve Cunningham's leadership who ordered a more defensive display, which Phil Painter, Ben Honey and Steve Grainger duly answered with hard hits in the loose, with Peter Butler and Jack Horton making efficient tackles around the ruck area. Willenhall were again camped in the Yards half due to a mis-kick, and Steve Grainger was yellow carded for killing the ball under the Yards' posts, which they decided to take a scrum. The Yards pack pushed Willenhall off the ball and cleared their lines. During the first half Ben Honey missed two difficult penalty chances which would have increased their lead so Yards went into the interval only 7-5 up. The second half started with a bang, with Jo Patrick finishing a wonderful running back move from Brain, Hansen and Seaton. Patrick took the ball at the Willenhall's 22 to finish strongly in the corner, taking Yards to 12 points, as the conversion was missed. The Yards players continued to run efficient lines, but to no avail or last ditched tackles preventing another score. With 15 minutes to go, Willenhall broke down the line after stealing another line out and their winger went through more desperate tackles and scored under the posts. The conversion made the score 12-12. With the Yards team needing fresh legs, Richard Withey, Davey Langley and Andy Powrie were brought into action, causing fear in the Willenhall pack, as they knew scrums would be difficult to maintain with the strength and pure talent of Withey. The next 10 minutes was frantic running, tackling and rucking, with Yards squandering a penalty kick chance, by running the ball instead of going for goal. Then a decision against Yards when Davey Langley was penalised for holding onto the ball lead to a lineout where Yards gave away another penalty for offside. This gave Willenhall an opportunity to kick for goal, which they took, putting them into the lead 15-12 in the last four minutes. This was enough for the away victory. The only light at the end of the tunnel was the impending return of Adam Walker next weekend, after his hamstring injury. Yards continue their difficult fixture list with a visit to Burntwood next weekend.

You'll be surprised to know the above report was written by Rich "The Wig" Withey

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