Old Yardleians RFC: Club News


Mon, 03 Sep 2012 07:28

A satisfying start to the season
With the weather being unusually nice and with the club looking more inviting than ever, the stage was set for the opening games of the season.  Would the effort of players, coaches and club members be enough to begin the process of turning things round.?

First XV
Our opponents at Tilehouse Lane were a Handsworth side that put 50 points up us in our previous meeting and who play in a league division one higher than us. The visitors started strongly with their powerfull pack driving us back but there was no way through our determined defence.  As the game went on the Yards superior fitness became a key factor and getting to the breakdown with speed and numbers ensured that we got plenty of possession to work with.  Our backs enjoyed this chance to shine and they displayed pace and some good handling and as Handsworth tired the final result was not too difficult to guess.  A try count of 4-2 and two conversions by the Yards, one of which was from the touchline by the usually erratic Adam Walker, gave a final score of 24-10 to the Yards.  Credit should be given to Handsworth, a more than decent side, who played with spirit right to the final whistle and thanks also to referee Mike Jones.  If all our refs adopt his style and if the Societies can produce consistency in their officials then we will be more than happy.

Development XV and Vandals
Both teams travelled to Handsworth to take on their 2nds and 3rds, who usually give us a real testing time.
It was probably not the cleverest time to ask the managers/ captains of these teams for match reports when I did but a rough guide to these games  suggests that the Dev XV played with a good deal of enthusiasm and much better organisation than their hosts.  A winning score of 29-24 to the Yards was pleasing but could have been even more if the bounce of the ball was even.  (not my choice of words).

The Vandals, looking as young as ever (just like their mug shots on their free travel cards) wore down their opponents to gain an impressive win by 34-19.  Our hon. fixture sec. thought he might have scored all of our points but the rest of the team recall the tries coming from Barry-Jon x3, Lonie, Mark Baldwin and a try plus two conversions from that evergreen full-back Ralph.

Next Weekend
Saturday sees the following mouth-watering fixtures.
First XV    v     Civil Service       at home  in the league
Development XV    v   Woodrush    away
Vandal  Xv       v   Camp Hill   home  in merit table

Sunday  is training for all our Mini and Junior players.  Newcomers are warmly invited to join in.  All you need to do is arrive by 10.00 and make yourself known.

Guess Who?
He is 50 but doesn't look it, plays 2nd row or back row, got married recently, his brother plays in the Vandals and his nephew in our firsts, he tells me he never gets a mention which could be because he never does anything (joke) and he actually is a good bloke.  His first name rhymes with 'Bandy' and if you identify him first, then he has a pint waitting for you.

to Maria, Kim and all those who run the bar at social functions with two more successful bookings last weekend.

And Finally
Mr Wenger knew all along that his defence would not concede again.  Also that two of his new signings would score against Liverpool in a game that we totally controlled.
Interesting to see VP in action but he can't score from 12 yards.  Shame! 

Handsworth 3rds vs Vandals - full match report

The first Saturday of the new season saw us on the road over at Handsworth, against a side we'd despatched twice albeit narrowly last season away from home and whom I'd been led to believe were rather big in stature. So after probably the longest pre-game chat with a referee I'd ever had, resplendent in our new stripey shirts we trekked the fifteen or so minutes to their second pitch.

With the Autumnal sunshine and brisk walk having to serve as a warm up, and whilst we waited for Fridge to arrive by Cedric Cabs the referee managed to squeeze in several more chats on a distinctly forward nature, and also advising that for health and safety purposes we would be having water breaks throughout the course of the game. Quite honestly the Handsworth eight weren't as big as I expected with the exception of their one lad, unusual these days to find someone as tall as big Phil but four or five stones heavier, but after having tapped him up quite early and discovering he was not starting (recovering from a dislocated shoulder...props please take note for future) I was feeling quietly confident.
The starting Eight for this week then: all sumos up front with Shannon "Stepmeister" Killarney, Mark "Gethin" Baldwin & Peter "Fridge" Butler, engine room of Phil "BMT" Gouldbourn, birthday boy Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney, and back row of Nick "Assassin" Levey, Marcus "Shark" Hope (recently back from hiding his light under a pre-season bushel) and Rupert "the Major" Young holding it all together at No.8.

Out in the backs scrum half Phil "the General" Evans, Ian "Nev" Neville, with Nick "Barrel" Palmer, Tony "Fitz" Fitzgerald in midfield and "pace" aplenty (it's all relative) on the wings in Max "Gimo" Gimson & Barry-John "Baz" Cole, with Dave "Ralph" Rollins sweeping up the leaves at the back. A heavyweight bench in Alan "the Colt" Arkell, John "Casper" Lonie returning after a serious footballing injury, Mike "Nearly" Neary, Roger "the Dodger" Lazenby and Captain Slow bringing up the rear.

Having won the toss the Handsworth skipper rather surprisingly opts to play down the considerable slope in the first half and we get to kick off which gets knocked on immediately by a Handsworth hand and we get the scrum, which we promptly lose and the season's first tackle is made by the Assassin on their scrum half. But not for the last time in the game the ref blows up adjudging Nick wasn't bound on at the scrum. Handsworth take it quickly setting the pattern for the whole game, Harry Hill & Fridge make the combined tackle, but Handsworth recycle and go wide but are forced to kick over and Gimo takes the catch cleanly, steps the would be tackler and offloads to Big Phil, who goes to ground, we set, ball comes back and the General sends the box kick over. Handsworth fail to take it cleanly and Shark's on to the loose ball and pops it up to Phil, who finds Max who cuts back inside and passes to Barrel who stands it up, but keeps the legs pumping and we spin wide, Ralph comes into the line, pops it to Fitz to Baz who gasses his man to go over in the corner for the opening score 5-0. Great kick from wide out by Ralph to increase our lead to 7-0 and Handsworth are looking a little shell shocked.

Fridge takes the restart and sets off on a trundle and makes halfway, we set and spin the ball out, Barrel does well to pick up a scrappy pass, but we have to set, ball comes out to Nev and he kicks ahead but ball goes straight in to touch for a Handsworth lineout on their ten metres line. They take and their scrum half snipes down the blind, but they're forced to spin back wide and a good crash ball cleaves through the middle and it's Nick Levey with the tackle just outside our twenty two. One of their lads takes the offload and its Shannon who holds him up and we all pile in. The ball goes to ground, becomes messy & ref calls no hands, but it's stuck in there and the ref blows and gives the attacking side the ball. Good scrum by Handsworth and they make a yard or two before the No.8 picks up and they spin wide, miss pass, and another bulldozing run is stopped by Tony Fitz, but ref blows again and brings it back for a Handsworth penalty adjudging the Major was not bound on at the scrum (go figure).The Handsworth skipper & fly half opts to kick for the corner. Lineout to Handsworth then on our five metre line which big Phil takes, goes to ground, but it's secure and the General finds Max who clears to touch midway between our twenty two and ten metre lines.They throw short and pop it back to the hooker and big Phil lines him up and knocks him over, they recycle and spin it out and the fly half brings the inside centre in on a flat pass who breaks the first couple of tackles but then spills it, advantage Vandals, Baz kicks to clear, but no real advantage and ref brings it back for a scrum to us a couple of yards inside our twenty two. Steady scrum, General to Ralph and he kicks to clear far side, ball going out about five metres beyond our twenty two. Despites Shark's attentions they manage to secure their ball and spin, but the fly half drops it between his knees and he's set upon by Nev & Nick and then the rest of the massive join in, the ball goes to ground, and they recycle, but knock it on, ref gives us the advantage, Nev kicks ahead, taking a deflection en route, ball bounces loose, it's chased down by big Phil & Ralph, Phil pops it to Max in support, who finds Nev who puts Baz in a bit of space, he still has a bit to do and has to sell some double glazing to go over wide out 12-0 Ralph's conversion is unsuccessful, but a useful uphill lead.

Business as usual as Shannon catches the restart, offloads to Rupert who makes good yards, he finds big Phil, to Shannon, his trademark two-step with Fridge on his shoulder. We go to ground, recycle, General whips it out to Nev, to Barrel, Ralph's come into the line but the ref deems pass marginally forward so scrum to Handsworth on the ten metre line. No matter as our Eight rather casually drive them off their own ball and the Major picks up at the base, ref looks like he's playing advantage to us, so Rupe makes a yard or two, ball finds Nev who spirals one over the top, the ball going out a metre or two inside their twenty two. Clean catch by Handsworth at four, we stand off and let them take a yard before Shark drags it down, they spin and it's an unconvincing touch finder from the fly half, but he's taken it back into his twenty two so we come back for a lineout just inside their twenty two. Big Phil takes it one handed and drops it down to Shannon, we set then spin, Nev shows the dummy to Barrel, they buy it and Nev slices through the gap sends a wide one out to Baz who has Ralph in support and our fullback goes over in the corner 17-0. Kick unsuccessful but everything in the uphill garden looking rosy, and the ref calls a water break.

Now I don't know whether it's me here, but I feel the game changed at this point; but anyway the kick off doesn't make ten and we go back for a scrum on the halfway line. First one goes down, and the second attempt is just as messy so Sir separates the two packs and begins a talk on the origins of the       species or some such; anyway our three wise men are happily smiling & nodding at whatever he's saying. The ball flies out the back of our scrum, Phil scoops it up feeds Nev, Ralph's in the line, he finds Max who cuts back inside looking for support, he finds it in the shape of Harry Hill, who takes it on before going to ground. Mark's first to him, the General whips it out to Nev, good dummy to Marcus coming back against the grain, too good in fact as Barrel spills the real pass. Ref plays the advantage, and Handsworth come down the short side, Shark makes two tackles in quick succession, and Handsworth go back the other way spinning it wide before one of their second rows takes it down the middle and our two half backs work in concert to bring him down; they go again this time it's Barrel who makes the tackle, the move is kept going with a good pass out of the back of the hand but Max is quickly in on his man and big Phil takes the loose pass but is driven into touch about ten metres from our goal line. Lots of pressure now coming from Handsworth, finally beginning to utilise gravity.

They go to four, catch and drive, we give them a metre or two head start before really getting stuck in, their hooker pops out blind and it's Mark drives his opposite number into touch about five metres out from our line. Not the straightest of throws from our Mark as big Phil has to reach over our side to       pluck it back and the ref has a word. Throw now to Handsworth, Marcus gets his hands in at two and deflects the ball down and big Phil sweeps it up and we drive over, the General sends it back to Max who fires one ahead, doesn't make touch but it does find their young winger who brings it back down the hill, evades the first tackle, before offloading to a big unit and Nick gets bounced (that one looked painful), Fitz gets the next one and we pile in and it's either Harry or Rupe who clears it out, but Handsworth come over and they get pinged, and the grumbling starts. So penalty just inside our twenty two and Nev clears to touch a metre or two inside our ten metre. Phil takes but the throw's deemed not straight, so scrum to Handsworth, then it's a free kick for something. They take it quickly, Nick makes the tackle and we fan out as they look to spin it wide, one of the centres cuts back in but the ref deems Barrel's tackle is high. They opt to put the kick into the corner, ball actually going out about fifteen metres from our line. Shortened line big Phil steals it, but the bounce down is cruel between the Major's legs and the ref decides he's knocked it on. Scrum to Handsworth about ten metres out,       great drive by our Eight and one of their front row pops up, ref decides Fridge has forced him up illegally and it's another penalty to Handsworth. They take it quickly, we're not ten, penalty advantage Handsworth, it's balls to the wall defence now as we absorb a battering on the line, finally they spin to the short side, Max is outnumbered and they go over about five metres in from touch....but no..final pass is forward, scrum Yards five metres out. Another penalty for Handsworth at the scrum, again they go quickly and through the forwards, they recycle several times and continue to bludgeon our line for nearly three minutes before they finally work a gap to go over 17-5 Kick missed.  

It's a deep restart which finds their winger again and who brings it back down the slope before chipping it over, it's taken cleanly by Max who feeds the General, who's caught, but his namesake comes to his rescue, ball goes to ground but we're pinged for handling on the deck. Again they take it quickly and again we're pinged for not being ten but this time they opt to kick for touch, it's a streaky low level affair the ball going out a metre inside our twenty two. They catch and drive at four and roll it all the way to about  five yards out, where they peel but Nick makes the tackle, they go wide Nev makes the tackle and Shannon's in support, but we're pinged I think for not releasing. But you can take too many quick penalties as the ball carrier knocks it on in the process of taking it :o) So it's five minutes to halftime and a scrum about six metres out, steady scrum and the General takes responsibility to clear it's a high one but again we don't find touch but the young winger instead, who true to form makes his third clean catch and comes storming back down the slope, evading our best efforts, but finally Nick brings him down eventually (mental note don't kick it to their only good player) we pinch it and Phil box kicks it clear a metre or so inside our twenty two. Pressure's all red & white at the minute. They throw to two, and Marcus disrupts and they knock on, scrum Yards. Ball comes whizzing out the back of our scrum, and their nine manages to get a toe to it and it ricochets between Barrel's legs and rather harshly the ref decides he's knocked it on, and gives a scrum to Handsworth about seven metres from our line. Scrum half picks up from the base and Rupe & Nick are onto him, they recycle, and one of their big lads takes it on and goes to ground and ref decides he's holding on and much against the current trend awards us a penalty which Ralph clears to our twenty two. The lad who was pinged now decides to continue a conversation with the ref protesting his innocence, saying the ball was trapped against his head and his hands were away, but Sir decides he's having none of it and gives us another penalty for back chat which Nev despatches to the halfway line. At which point the continuing conversation walking to the lineout between player & ref results in a yellow card and Handsworth are down to fourteen with a couple of minutes to go.

We manage to give a penalty away at the lineout, and the Handsworth fly half bangs it back down to our twenty two (Slow groans). But all is not lost as big Phil pinches their ball and Nev sets off uphill and finds Baz who gets stopped just on our ten, he's a bit isolated, they come over and pinch it, they try to spin but ball goes loose, before one of their big lads takes it on and Andy makes the tackle just outside our twenty two. They recycle, the catcher takes a tumble and Nev is onto him, they go again, they kick,       ball takes a couple of deflections, but ref's seen something and gives them another penalty just to keep up their momentum. Another big unit takes it quickly, he's tackled by Nick well inside our twenty two, and the ball disappears amongst the bodies, but no it's yet another penalty as they edge ever closer to our line. This time they give it a bit of air and it's Shannon who stops them in their tracks, only a couple of metres from the line, but we simply will not budge, they go close again through the forwards but we hold this one up, and drive him back, Shannon adds his weight to it & we turn it over, Nev playing scrum half finds Max who clears to touch and that's it, but big Phil sustains a nasty cut above the eye in the last action of the half and has a little lie down.

Halftime 17-5, oranges all round. Skipper for the half Andy goes off to set up for his party replaced       by Casper, Barrel nursing a tweaked back comes off Mike Neary replacing him, Nurse Slow can't staunch the blood flow on Phil's eye, so the Colt Arkell comes on for a rather longer than expected ten minutes, and big Rog comes on for the Major at No.8. 

We fail to deal with the restart and the ball goes out about twenty metres from our line. The lineout's a bit streaky and Roger comes away with it sees the General in support, he sells a couple and darts through the gap, he spins to Fitz, to max, to Ralph, we're up (technically down) to halfway but a forward pass (my ar5e) at the end of the move gives a scrum to Handsworth just inside their ten metre. We put the nudge on and the scrum wheels and we get the put in. Roger picks up from the base and feeds Phil in support, he's tackled and we set, then pop one over the top to our friend the young winger & Baz gives chase as he tries to run out of his twenty two. He's hauled down just outside his twenty two and the       Vandal massive pile in, but whistle goes again, penalty, no idea what for but it gives them the chance to clear. No matter as we take their ball in the line, put it up the jumper and drive back down the slope, they drag us down as we hit their twenty two, so we spin, Phil to Nev, dummy Fitz, to Max to Ralph to Baz who's tap tackled on the line, ball comes loose and its' grounded in goal and they get the drop out twenty two.

Baz takes the catch and sets off inside, beats the first man, the second gets a tap and down he goes,       in we go and it gets messy and Rog gets pinged for over exuberance. They take it quickly, and Marcus makes the tackle and they end up going back a few metres, but they come again showing no signs of rolling over just yet; they kick over the just too high for Mike so he turns, fields and clears to touch midway between our twenty two and our ten. First line is a shambles so ref opts for another water break, not that we've got any left! And their disgruntled player comes back on after his extended water       break. And we restart with a scrum to Yards, good steady ball out it comes, Rog, to Phil to Nev who puts one over the top and Max & Baz give chase, the winger caught in two minds lets it bounce and our two ex Solihull boys play catch in a nice bit of interplay before putting Casper (I kid you not) who's come from nowhere, close to the posts, despite a valiant attempt to balls it up by side stepping a defender! 22-5 Easy one for Ralph 24-5 (and as our more experienced readers know 22 is the Vandals point of no return).

Nev traps the restart (just) passes to Phil who punts one downhill, it's fielded by another of their better players, the hooker, who runs it back up the slope a good twenty, twenty fives metres before his pass is judged to have been deliberately knocked down and ref awards them a penalty...no surprise there then! They kick to touch for an attacking lineout on our five metre line. It's tapped down we go rush defence, their scrum half feeds their young winger who's been sneakily been brought into fly half, It's Arks who makes the tackle, more a loving hug from one of the Bears but it's deemed high, penalty       Handsworth fifteen or so metres from our line. They go through the forwards (you any idea how tedious this is) and Roger makes the first up tackle, it goes to ground we pile in and whistle goes and this time Casper gets a yellow for lashing out with/attempting to extricate his boot (depending on who you are) so off he trots for a ten minute sabbatical, and Handsworth get a penalty just on our five metre line. They take it quickly and the General makes the tackle, and then the Massive joins in.They recycle, our cover defence comes out, Ralph makes the tackle, but we're pinged for offside. They take it quickly and give it a bit of width and their younger winger/fly half skips through our stretched defence to score under the posts for an easily converted try 24-12.

From the restart we kick deep into their twenty two, they bring it out but it's held up & in and we get the scrum, and it's seven against eight for this one but we're rock steady and Marcus picks up, pops it to Phil, to Nev, Fitz on the scissors, he scythes through & makes good yards before offloading to Nick in support, in turn to Arks who bulldozes his way to the line where weight of numbers finally halt his progress but the ball is spilled forward; and with about a quarter of the game to go the ref decides it's an ideal opportunity for another water break. When play restarts from the scrum, Handsworth opt to clear their lines the ball going out about fifteen metres from their line. At the lineout Mark hits Shark at four and the Major tidies up and we drive for the line, Mark persuades the Major to relinquish the pill and it's he who dots it down as we cross the line.

29-12 Ralph's conversion comes back off the post, and we're back up to a full compliment as John comes back on, and hard working Nick Levey comes off and the Major comes back on to the flank.

Barry John completes his hat trick not long after, when a good steady scrum saw the ball flow through the hands of the backs, with Ralph coming into the line and with the defender having lost his compass & standing behind the try line Baz dots the ball down in front of him and it's 34-12 And post magnet Ralph manages to hit the upright again!

With  about ten minutes to go Shannon suddenly realises he's left his lungs behind and Rog moves to loosehead, Slow comes onto the flank, Shark goes off then comes back again, Slow finally realising we're a man short and Rupe switches back to No.8.

Handsworth never giving up manage one more converted try through their second row under posts 34-19 and the game finishes shortly afterwards with the final play of the game seeing Gimo being denied in at the corner.

Final score 34-19 Final age a spritely680! 

Small piece of trivia, following the warm down in the Plough afterwards we calculate the pack had a combined weight of 924kgs which as it happened turned out to be 22kgs heavier than the All Black pack in the RWC final 2011, I am led to believe however, they were marginally fitter.

Man with the dirtiest shirt this week (actually was too, all that diving for the line) goes to Baz for his hat trick playing out of position on the wing. Thanks also to Jack for running touch, and keeping our kickers supplied with tee!


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