Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

A game of two halves?

Tue, 12 Oct 2010 07:59

Yards fightback shows  character

After last week’s disappointing defeat at Redditch, this Saturday’s tricky looking encounter with previously unbeaten Shipston could be seen as an indicator of the home side’s mental strength as well as their rugby ability.

Yards made a disappointing start and Shipston capitalized on defensive errors to score two first half tries both of which were well converted.  Poor tactical kicking allowed the visitors to look the more dangerous of the two sides.  Although the set pieces were suited to the bigger Yards pack of forwards, Shipston competed well at the breakdown spoiling much of Yards possession.

Although the away side added a penalty goal to take them up to 20 points, that was to be the end of their scoring for the day.  The expression ‘a game of two halves’  might have been created with this game in mind.  Home number 10, Max Gimson, suddenly found his kicking boots  after a miserable first half  and with the strong breeze behind him he started to kick the Yards into positions close to the Shipston line.  The rest was almost inevitable as lineout was secured and the powerful pack drove over three times with tries being claimed by back row stalwart Steve Grainger (twice) and scrum half Lee Purdy.  Gimson converted all three and added a penalty to take the home team into a 24 points to 20 lead. 

Predictably the last few minutes saw Shipston  attacking  fiercely but the Yards defence stood firm.  With last season’s meeting between these two sides having to be abandoned by the referee after a number of unsavoury incidents it was good to see both teams accepting their responsibilities in a competitive but clean game that was very competently refereed.

Under 15s

With a management team of two Daves and Sam, the young Ys visited Handsworth on Sunday.  Straight from the kick off hesitation in Ys defence (Chicken's coaching?) resulted in a try to Handsworth converted for a 0-7 deficit.  The crowd predicted more of the same, but no, our boys showed character and greater alertness which combined with pace from the backs saw us score 10 tries.  Handsworth were physically strong up front but lacked the pace to stop Tre'rail, Jack and the support players.  A big thank you to the Handsworth management team for their hospitality.

The Vandals day out in the countryside

Saturday 9th October found us in Wyre Piddle against Pershore 3rds, with the weather contrary to all predictions cloudy & overcast.

Not the best of preparations this week with a couple of injuries & late unavailabilities, plus having to provide some "experience" for the Development side in the General & Lonie and two no shows (you know who you are) meant we travelled with a bare bones fifteen and one walking wounded.

In the front row Shannon "Sidestep" Killarney, Club President Steve "Sid" Sidwell & Mark "Dai" Baldwin, we had a unit with combined age of 158! In the engine room this week Andy "Fred" Killarney & Phil "Tiger" Gouldbourn, back row Marcus "Shark" Hope, Nick "the Assassin" Levey and tying the bums together at the base Roger "the Dodger" Lazenby.

In the backs Barry-John "Baz" Cole at 9, Ian "Nev" Neville at fly half, some interesting casting then with Rob "Barstool" Bastock at inside centre, replacing a barrel with a tanker, another back row forward in Simon "Snapper" Singleton at outside centre, Captain Slow actually starting for a change on one wing, Phil "Horse" Watson on the other and at fullback this week's under thirty Kevin "Bolt" Coles. Just one on the bench then Nick "Barrel" Palmer still nursing a tweaked hamstring from last week.

With Slow losing the toss Pershore opted to play into the wind in the first half, and as the two sides lined up they looked on paper, well grass a pretty useful set of lads, with some youth sprinkled throughout. They also had a guy in the second row who at 72 is certainly the oldest player I've ever encountered and who I understand had been recently recognised by The Times' sports columnist with a bottle of bubbly. Steve Painter please note 12 more years. Also with Slow actually having to start & being full of cold this week's match report thankfully will be a bit briefer than of late.

Now contrary to popular belief most of my playing career has been at inside centre and a couple of years ago I played in an invitational fixture against Five Ways Old Eds and was unfortunate enough to have Barstool running at me in midfield; so with Barrel struggling with his hamstring I thought it would be a good wheeze to play Rob at inside centre, especially as he shares both inside centre attributes, good looks (bet you Barrel smiled then) and an inability to run other than in straight lines. So you can imagine how smug I feel when after just ten minutes Rob's got a brace the second of which he bish bash boshes under the posts and is converted by Baz for a healthy 12-0 lead.

Not long after we spin it again but the speed of Simon is too much for Slow first having to try and stay up with him and then then having to deploy his airbrake to actually try and catch his dodgy pass and off he goes with a very sore hamstring. Barrel now in uniform comes on and Snapper moves out onto the wing.

The Wyre Piddlers hurl lots of good attacks at us bringing in their young fullback on all manner of angles, but our tackling is resolute.

Eventually Horse gets in on the action on the far side of the park swatting off defenders before rounding the corner and bringing it in under the posts to increase our lead to 17-0. Baz slots his second conversion 19-0.

Super fit (it's all relative) Simon scores our fourth just before half time holding the ball way out in front for most of his run, mesmerising the opposition to score close to the sticks and Baz adds a third conversion.

Half time 26-0 Isotonics left in the car, and Slow's quietly confident we can defend that lead even with the elements in their favour.

But you know what they say attack is the best form of defence and we go up a gear and score six more unanswered tries with our half back pairing Baz & Nev pulling all the strings sending Pershore in all directions. Horse after letting a couple get away adds a second and third to complete his hat-trick, his final try taking the pass off Shannon, who popping up in midfield like a good prop should, resisted the temptation to get in his mandatory sidestep and gave the perfectly timed pass instead, for Phil to go over in the corner.

Bigger Phil also scores a great solo try taking the ball just outside their twenty two, dead centre and all on his own and he just kept going and going and going accumulating defenders to go in under the posts, for a really popular try for the big man.

A nice individual try too for Bolt, who when we're awarded a penalty inside our half he's right on it, takes it quickly in front of the referee who like Pershore seemed a little perplexed and races up the touchline to go over.

And despite his fitness doubts Barrel also weighs in for one in the second half, as did Snapper who's fast becoming a bit of a deadly finisher wherever I stick him.

Amongst that lot another three conversions for Baz bring his tally to six, and capping a great all round performance.

I think Dai, Sid, Shannon & the lads took at least three against the head in the game, in fact great work by our eight throughout, Andy, Phil, Marcus, Nick & Rog who worked tirelessly making the hard yards & tough tackles, and whilst the Attendants scored nine of our ten it was not possible without the quality possession that they provided.

One special mention though for Nick and his corner flagging last ditch tackle in the corner when the try seemed certain ensuring our first shut out of the season, not bad for a fifty year old!

Anyway final score 62-0 Final age (even with the youthful Bolt) 643

From our independent adjudicator man of the match went to Baz for keeping the Vandals machine ticking at all times & assists goes to Barstool for a great game "out of position".

Thanks to Tom Power for providing the communal transport and also for driving it!

And great to see Ed "Ronald" McDonald on the touchline and even contemplating the use of borrowed kit!

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