Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Can our boys sustain their good form?

Tue, 15 Jan 2013 01:43


This sunday 20th January, all our games are cancelled.

Information about next week will be given nearer the time.

A visit to The Wirral (o.k. Birkenhead) at the weekend meant that I had to prepare my Junior Journalists for action and with regular phone contact a smooth flow of information was just what I expected.  The Highlight of my weekend was a visit to Prenton Park to watch Tranmere Rovers defeat the mighty Crawley by 2 goals to nil.  A crowd of 5011 in bitterly cold weather seemed happy enough to win and stay top of League one but on a personal basis a seat behind the goal in the Kop at £17.50 would have got me into the Old Yards for a month.  Interestingly, some of the home supporters were suggesting that their team could be visiting our part of the world next season to play the Claret and Blues in a Championship game.  Food for thought there.

First XV

Top of the league Old Yardleians played hosts to second placed club, Manor Park of Nuneaton in a potentially challenging game at Tilehouse Lane last Saturday.

For the first half it looked as if the home side had their thoughts on this weekends cup tie as both teams played cautiously and the only scores as half time arrived were a solitary penalty to each team.

The Nuneaton based club who had approached the game with quiet optimism soon found out in the second half why the Shirley club were clear leaders in the league. As the visitors began to tire the speed of the Yard’s attacks and the quality of the support play resulted in tries for Rob Bastock, Ben Honey, Steve Grainger and James Hughes with three conversions from Jake White. The final score of 29 – 3 against one of the better teams faced this season gave coach Richard McCrainor a good deal of satisfaction as he prepares his squad for the coming Saturday and the visit of Bedford Swifts.

A win against the East Midlands club would leave the Yards two victories away from appearing at Twickenham in the final of the RFU Junior Vase competition but McCrainor with his vast experience is taking one game at a time and refuses to be drawn on how he plans to bring victory to his side.

A large crowd is expected for the game on Saturday which kicks off at 2.00 and spectators are advised to arrive early for the game.

Other weekend action

A club XV   will be playing Atherstone   away

Other Club Results
The Development XV slipped to a narrow defeat at Kings Norton by 14 - 15
The Vandals beat Old Salts 29 - 7 - see full match report below.
The Under 17s beat Five ways 17 - 5.

Vandals vs Old Salts 3rds (Merit League fixture)

Last Saturday found us back in GBML action at Tilehouse Lane against Old Saltleians 3rds in the second of our return fixtures on a bitterly cold January afternoon., so cold in fact having temporaily mislaid my gizmo it was too bloody cold to hold my biro so just the essentials this week.
The pack this week Shannon "Steps" Killarney, Mark " Pie Chucker " Baldwin & Shane "Shazza" Rowland starting in the front row, John "Casper" Lonie partnering  Andy "Harry Hill" Killarney in steerage, with a back row of Marcus "Shark" Hope, Nick "the Assassin" Levey & Old Yards leg end Paul "Goose" Gower at No.8.
In the backs at scrum half Phil "the General" Evans alongside Ian "NASDAQ" Neville , Tony "Fitz" Fitzgerald alongside Barry-John "Baz" Cole in midfield with a back three of Chris "Golfball" Rowe, late addition to the squad Phil "Horse" Watson and Dave "Ralph" Rollins at full back.
Another full bench this week Iain "Johnno" Johnson,  Mike "PFI" Neary, Alan "the Colt" Arkell, Bill "Bilbo" Burrows, Dave "Chicken" Hanson & one of his Under 17's in what would be his first senior game Alister James-Parkes.
With the Ones busy despatching Manor Park on the second team pitch & the first team pitch still off limits for the second week running the game was played on the  undulating slopes of our beloved top pitch, which whilst damp underfoot was still holding its own against the elements. The referee this week and by the look of it an old mate of Baz's, Les Smith from Nuneaton.
Given the shortages in the previous game Slow was pleasantly surprised to be told Salts had fifteen possibly sixteen players, however, just ten or so initially took the field and when kick off time came & went the referee sent them back into the changing room to try and chivvy up a few more with an ultimatum of kick off at 2.30 or forfeit the game. In the meantime we did like the youngsters often do, running drills, practicing lineouts and thinking about our Winter Fuel Allowance, by which time the rumour had filtered through that the game was also to be played with uncontested scrums again (groan).
Eventually the game kicked off at 2.31 (but who's counting) with twelve players, with two more in the changing room, not that they needed them as they proceeded, just like Evesham the week before to score a converted try under the posts within the opening couple of minutes, and as they jogged back to the centre spot their two reinforcements took the field bring their numbers up to fourteen. 
Now I would like to say here that we have lent players to four or five teams teams this season including a referee in three away games, the moral being that if you don't ask you don't get! 
Anyway despite our extended warm up & swift kick up the ar*se by Salts, it still takes best part of twenty minutes for us to open our account with a crisply struck penalty by Ralph 3-7.
That is followed shortly after by what I would describe as a typical Horse try following some good hands in the backs, that whilst going unconverted put us into the lead 8-7. Our lead is increased further in the half when Fitz takes a pass off Goose & picks the perfect angle inside their twenty two to carve his way through to the line to score close to the posts, which Ralph duly converts 15-7.
Halftime 15-7 Nick still troubled by his Boxing Day crash dive comes off, Golfball comes on to the flank and Chicken comes on to the wing.
Not long into the second half Horse adds a second try following another strong gallop, though he admits this time with a little help from his friends as he is driven over the line wide out 20-7 Ralph adds the extras to give us a healthy 22-7 lead.
Salts to their credit keep plugging away and it's only with our fourth try of the day do heads finally start to drop following one of our catch & drive specials, Casper takes the catch, we all pile in and ultimately it's young Shane who gets to dot it down 27-7 and it's a great kick by Ralph (though much to his disgust I did have to check it went over with the ref after the game) to put us out of sight at 29-7.
For the closing thirty minutes the luxury of some fresh legs, as on come Johnno, Mike, Bilbo & Arks for Phil, Fitz, Shannon & Goose. Shannon finishing up playing for Salts when one of their forwards comes off injured, and whilst he looked nice in white I thought, this was still too confusing for Golfball, who pleads to the referee for a change of shirt.
Onto the wing for the last fifteen comes young Alister for his senior debut, showing some good touches & a fair turn of pace on a couple of occasions.
Final Score 29-7 final age 622 and the youngest side this season at 41.47, mind the combined age of young Shane & Alister still being less than TEN of the remaining players on the pitch!!!!
In his final game before being put out to stud Man in the Dirtiest Shirt this week goes to the Horse, probably the scariest three-quarter I have ever played alongside or against!
Saturday off this week, I know we are beginning to accumulate some knocks on our aging limbs, so please come and watch the Ones in the National Vase Midlands Semi-Final against Bedford Swifts k.o. 2pm.
If you can, to ease congestion in the car park can you leave your wheels at home & get a lift, or car share, or like me walk!



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