Hales safe after bonus point win against Derby
Old Halesonians 33 Derby 24
Old Halesonians Presidents' Day lunch was the curtain raiser for this must win penultimate league fixture. The Hales team saw a couple of changes with Coach Ben Hughes in the second row and Callum Young brought into the back row.
Also Colts Tom Warrington at scrum half Ben Homer on the wing started with Josh Woodward and Harrison Plumb on the bench. Early exchanges favoured Hales with some dominant forward set piece. Warrington adapted well to the speed of the game giving Steve Powell at fly half regular ball to feed the backs.
A move up the right wing involving Ben Barkley and Carl Robinson resulted in support by Callum Young and a well worked unconverted try in
the corner to lead 5 - 0.
Within 10 minutes Hales again on the attack, Warrington, Powell to Barkley who broke through the defence. Smith supported and sprinted for a try, converted by Chris Hooper 12 - 0.
Derby as expected would always be in this game, constantly putting pressure on Hales whose defence was very good.
The visitors forced a penalty to pull back to 12 - 3 at half time. From the restart Hales again pushed forward with the backs making ground through Barkley, Hooper, Smith and Robinson. Hales camped in the Derby 22 with dominant scrums. A lineout chosen from a collapsed scrum.
Young found Hughes as the pack gathered and drove for a deserved pushover try by number 8 Jay Martin, converted by Hooper to lead 19 - 3. After the restart Derby found their feet and returned the pressure. Hales missed few tackles but the visitors were determined.
A charge down kick by Hooper gifted a try to the visitors 19 - 8. This was followed by a penalty for Derby for a high tackle to pull back to 19 - 11. For a period Hales were on the back foot and conceded another try and penalty, a well deserved fight back to 19 - 19.
Hales made changes, Matt Young on at prop for Matt Probert, Plumb on for Rich Sawyer. Hales regrouped and put some phases together, always looking dangerous. Again forward pressure and a driving maul saw Hooker Sam Jones over for a try, converted by Hooper 26 - 19.
Derby again came back to test Hales defence, the ball moved along the backs close to Hales line, Smith intercepted and sprinted the length of the field for a breakaway try 33 - 19.
Derby again would not give up, they regrouped and finished the game with a try for a final score 33 - 24.
Hales last league game is away to Lichfield on Saturday 22 April kick off 3 pm.