Hales looking to stay in play-off race

First published in Old Halesonians

OLD HALESONIANS will be looking to keep themselves in the hunt for a play-off place when they travel to league leaders Broadstreet this Saturday.

They are aiming to bounce back from a home defeat to National League 3 Midlands promotion rivals Sutton Coldfield last weekend.

In the vital game, both teams went at each other right from the off. Hales backs looked dominant for a large part of the first half and the team deserved more in the first 40 minutes.

On 25 minutes, Hales hooker Pete Fitzgerald was sin binned for an alleged high tackle. A penalty to Sutton put them in front on the half hour mark.

Hales then showed some excellent phases of play, most notably when scrum half Greg Smith fed skipper Rich Taylor who in-turn passed to the supporting Andy Robinson to score out wide.

The home side were then penalised again with prop Cliff Tomkinson receiving a yellow card and sent from the field.

Down to 14 men, Hales were on the defensive and Sutton broke through for a try on 40 minutes, which was converted to give them a 10-8 lead. Sutton then went over on 55 minutes to extend their advantage.

A Hales fight back led to a controversial moment when the referee failed to play an advantage that would have led to a try for the home side.

He awarded a penalty to Hales when winger Luke Smith was tripped when chasing his own kick, but failed to let play go on despite centre Carl Robinson collecting and heading for the line. The penalty was taken but the resulting line out came to nothing.

Hales continued to apply pressure and prop Tom Dempsey went over on 70 minutes.

However, the conversion was missed which left Sutton with a lead of 15-13 which they saw out in the closing stages.

Team manager Simon Hussey said: "We deserved more from the game after having the better play and the majority of possession. We missed our kicks and didn't get some big decisions.

"Saturday's game against Broadstreet will not be easy but we need something to keep ourselves in the race. It is a very important game for our season."

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