12:46pm Thursday 13th March 2014
TEAM manager Simon Hussey believes Old Halesonians are now entering a season defining period.
Third-placed Hales could take a big step towards securing a National League 3 Midlands play-off place when they take on their fourth-placed promotion rivals Sutton Coldfield in Saturday's rearranged fixture (3pm ko). They will then do battle with current leaders Broadstreet just a week later.
Hussey said: "Sutton Coldfield is a big game. They beat us earlier in the season so we will be looking to put that right and to put ourselves in a strong play-off position.
"They are very strong at the front and back so we must look to match that.
"We will then travel to Broadstreet for another big game. This next set of games really is going to be season defining for us," he added.
Hales got back on track following a few recent lacklustre performances as they beat Bournville at Wassell Grove last Saturday.
In front of a big crowd, Hales took the game to rivals Bournville from the kick off. Bournville seemed confident after a shock victory over Nuneaton the previous week, while Hales had last minute changes due to illness. However, the much welcomed return of second row Rich Sawyer was a breath of fresh air to the home team.
Full back Chris Hooper also returned after knee surgery and reminded the crowd of his ability, experience and organisation in the backs.
After only four minutes, Hales won a scrum which player/coach Mark Evans took from the base. Supported by his pack Hales worked through eight phases. Scrum half Nathan Jones fed the backs with Hooper finding the gap to score. Steve Powell converted to make it 7-0.
The intention of Hales was obvious, the forward and back combinations were too much for the visitors to contain. Pressure up front was a deciding factor, both in ruck and mauls.
In particular skipper Rich Taylor, Tom Jordan, Rich Sawyer and flanker Loz Breese were totally dominant in forward driving power and yards made.
Bournville fought back to earn a penalty to make the score 7-3. Continued pressure by Hales in all departments produced clean ball for centre Andy Robinson to slice through the visitors defence for a copy book score which made it 12-3.
The visitors fought back in short periods and looked to exert some pressure in the backs. However, a loose pass saw Rich Sawyer intercept to sprint 30 metres to score a crucial try, converted by Powell for 19-3.
In the second half things were much the same, Bournville struggling to find a way through the Hales defence and the total dominance of the home side. The visitors seemed shell shocked at the power of Hales in all departments.
A 20 metre drive saw Sawyer feed the ever present Tom Jordan who sprinted for the try of the match, converted by Hooper to make it 26-3.
On 80 minutes, Hales again took possession in the middle of the field, Powell filling in at scrum half for injured Nathan Jones slipped the ball to wing Luke Smith.
Using his pace, he set off from his own 22 for a fine try to seal the victory at 36-3.
After the game, Hussey said: "It was great to get back on track after a dip in our levels of performance.We can now look forward to two very important games."
© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group