Old Hales overcome errors to win thriller

OLD Halesonians RFC recorded another bonus point win as they sneaked a 36-34 thriller at Camp Hill.

This game is always a hard fought encounter but at times it seemed the visitors were determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Both sides started equally, trading blows in the middle of the park until the ninth minute when Camp Hill took a 7-0 lead through full-back Ian Briggs.

This seemed to galvanise Old Hales who retaliated with a well-worked backs move passing through the hands for right wing Simon Sabel to score. This was quickly followed with a try by flank Tom Jordan, who was in his usual combative mood following a week away from the action.

Full back Chris Hooper converted both tries to take the visitors into a 14-7 lead.

Camp Hill kept themselves in touch with a penalty but Hales reinforced their lead with a break through from skipper Rich Taylor, who managed to dot down despite the defending teams efforts.

But the awkward conversion was missed and OH’s made the mistake of thinking they could see the half out, conceding a sloppy late try to go in 19-17 up at the break.

Two early tries in the second half then seemed to have put them in command. The first came from Hooper, who converted his own score. The second arrived from loose head prop Mark Head having come on as replacement for Thomas Dempsey who had certainly put in a shift at the coal face.

But the 31-17 lead only seemed to breed complacency and the hosts responded with two tries of their own to close the gap once more.

Young Ollie Kealey managed a fine individual effort for what proved to be the winning score to put Hales up 36-29.

Even then, Camp Hill were not dead and buried with an opportunist interception try taking them within two points. Thankfully for OH’s the conversion was missed and they finally ran out 36-34 winners.

Afterwards, skipper Taylor acknowledged the efforts of both sides, adding: “We are obviously pleased with our attacking performance after six tries but we cannot afford not to finish off sides when we get ahead, as this could be our downfall.”

Old Halesonians are fourth in Midlands One West and host Lichfield this Saturday.

n Old Halesonians Colts celebrated derby delight as they edged a 25-18 thriller against Stourbridge.

Both teams combined to make this an exciting, enthralling and absorbing game of rugby at Wassell Grove as the hosts came from behind to win.

It was Stour who drew first blood from a penalty after Hales were guilty of basic infringements. Winger Mike Wilkinson was then denied the first try of the game thanks to a superb saving tackle and the visitors took advantage as they scored first to go 8-0 up.

Billy Taylor reduced the arrears following a penalty infringement and that seemed to wake the home side up, as Wilkinson went over before the break to level things up at 8-8.

Back came Stourbridge, as they notched the opening score of the second half to take the lead once more. Both sides exchanged penalties to make the score 18-11 to the visitors.

Then came the turning point, as centre Adam Gillett’s yellow card seemed to inspire rather than hinder the hosts.

Prop Jack Hardwick crashed over for a try following loose play and Taylor’s conversion levelled things up, before Jack Welch went over late on for what proved to be the winning score.

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