Old Hales looking to progress after impressive season

11:21am Thursday 3rd April 2014

OLD Halesonians' team manager Simon Hussey says the club will soon be putting plans in place to improve the side for next season.

With only two games remaining of the current campaign, it is unlikely Hales will make a National League Three Midlands play-off place.

However, Hussey has been delighted with the way his side have acquitted themselves at national level this season and is keen to build on that.

He said: "This has been our first season at national level and I am really pleased with how we have performed. To currently be in fourth position is a good achievement.

"We can still finish in the play-offs but it needs an unlikely set of results. Realistically we are just going to be focussed on finishing the season as strongly as possible.

"Then, once that is done, we will put a plan in place to strengthen the squad. A big part of that will be increased young members of the club with an eye on the future."

The Hales first team bounced back from a heavy loss to top of the league Broadstreet by earning a hard-fought victory against Hinckley last Saturday.

The earlier meeting at Hinckley saw Hales totally in command in the first half before Hinckley used forward strength to win the spoils.

This game was the opposite, despite initial pressure by the home side Hales putting some useful phases together, the Hinckley defence stood strong.

After several attempts by Hales forwards to force their way over the line, it was wing Simon Sabel who collected from the base and scored the first try of the game.

The running power of the Hinckley left winger gave the visitors their first try following loose play by Hales backs. The winger intercepted to score unopposed to give them a 7-5 lead.

It was Hinckley with the upper hand for the rest of the half and without some resolute defence by Hales the game could have been over at half time. Again the visitors fed their winger who scored under the posts for a half time lead of 14-5.

The second half saw Hales camped in the Hinckley 22. Driving runs by Pete Fitzgerald, Mark Evans, Tom Jordan and Loz Breese maintained the pressure on the visitors.

Phase after phase, rucking and support play from Tom Dempsey and the ever improving Tom King gave the home crowd hope. But, despite Hinckley being reduced to 13 men through two yellow cards, the home side could not breech the line.

After 65 minutes Hales won a line out, the ball found it's way to stalwart Tom Jordan who smashed his way from 20 yards out to score, converted by Stephen Powell to bring the scores close. Continued pressure from kick off forced a penalty for Hales which Powell slotted to lead 15-14.

Hooker Pete Fitzgerald made a break past the visitors' defence to feed centre Andy Holloway. Powell took the difficult conversion to give Hales a 22-14 lead. They then held on despite a late Hinckley try to win 22-18.

Hales will be without skipper Rich Taylor until next season after he received a multiple fracture of his cheekbone.

They will now travel to Longton this Saturday for the penultimate game of the season.

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