28/01/17 Tigers 1st XV 15 - 35 Sale

Sale were determined not to make the mistake of the previous game and they set off with purpose. After just 2 minutes a converted try by the Sale hooker saw them into a 7- 0 lead. Both sides were being penalised and, after 10 minutes, Mark Ireland slotted over the first points for Tigers to make it 7 -3 . It got even better when after applying pressure on Tigers the home side conceded possession and Peter Swatkins made a great run. He found Jamie Broadley outside him and fed the ball on for Broadley to score a try in the corner. This was unconverted but Tigers were now in the lead by 5 – 7. Shortly after this Tigers lost the first of a number of players to injury as Frank Wragg departed with an elbow injury to be replaced by Lee Monks at wing forward. Sale kept up the pressure but the Tigers defenders stood strong with try saving tackles by Swatkins and Monks keeping the home side at bay. From a lineout near the Tigers line Sale took clean ball which allowed them to drive over for a converted try to restore their lead at 14 - 8 after 25 minutes. Tigers were finding life difficult in both the lineout and the pack and found themselves being penalised for silly mistakes. This finally resulted in one within kicking distance as Sale stretched their lead to 17 - 8 with 5 minutes left of the first half. An injury to Robert Lapeyre, the new Tigers 2nd row, saw him replaced by Lee Orton as Tigers fought to stay in touch. On the stroke of half-time the home side got another kickable penalty which gave them a 20 – 8 lead at the interval.
Sale came out and picked up where they had left off with pressure on the Tigers defence. Jon Buchanan went down but bravely got up to carry on playing. The pressure told and Sale went over for another converted try to make it 27 - 8. Broadley was the next injury and he was replaced by Tom Farrell who slotted in at No 10 with Ireland moving to inside centre. Charlie Wright was replaced by Nick Bingham at prop and Tigers resumed the fight. It was not one way traffic and a great break by Chris Pond was stopped just short as he was forced into touch. As the game progressed Tigers continued to try and get back into it. A great up field kick by Ryan Holmes was chased by the indomitable Swatkins who touched down to give  Ireland a kickable conversion and make it 27 – 15 with 20 minutes left to play. Just 4 minutes later Sale kicked another penalty to make it 30 - 15 and, with just 2 minutes left the Sale prop went over for an unconverted try to make the final score 35 - 15.
Another game slips away but a creditable performance against a side determined to get promotion. The players are giving everything they have but results are just not going for us. We need a win so that players just get that lift and realise their potential.  Let’s look forward to Wharfedale at Dore Moor next Saturday and give the Tigers lads the support and noise they deserve to carry them on to a victory!

Scorers: Tries: Broadley (1), Swatkins (1)
Conversions: Ireland (1)
Penalties: Ireland (1)

Team: Bennett, Coates, Wright (Bingham),  Lapeyre T (Orton), Symcox, Wragg (Monks), Sullivan, Walker,  Holmes, Ireland, Pond, Wallace, Buchanan, Broadley (Farrell), Swatkins

Replacements:  Bingham, Simmons, Orton, Monks, Farrell

Match Report: Graham Cockshutt

21/01/17 Tigers 1st XV 14 - 19 Harrogate

In what was an important game for Tigers they welcomed back two players who have been out with long term injuries - Mark Ireland and Ben Sullivan. Additionally they introduced another new player in loose head prop Nicholas Bingham formerly of Bury St Edmunds (Nat 2 South).
In a game that both sides were desperate to win Tigers began well attacking the Harrogate line. They moved into the visitors 22 only to give away a penalty which allowed Harrogate to relieve the pressure. Both sides were passing the ball through the backs but progress in either direction was slow. The returning Ben Sullivan was making some powerful runs and a good Tigers move was only halted by the referee – not for the last time in the match - deciding that a player was not rolling away. On this occasion Tigers benefitted and Mark Ireland stepped up to take the points and make it 3 – 0 to Tigers after 8 minutes. Harrogate now tried to attack but the game was largely played in the middle of the pitch. They eventually made it into the Tigers 22 and from a penalty went for the corner. Tigers defended well with the forwards and backs making good tackles. From a scrum in front of their own posts Tigers were penalised for not binding and Harrogate took an easy 3 points to tie the score at 3 - 3. It was now Tigers turn to attack and good runs by Liam Wallace, Chris Pond, Steve Walker, Jamie Broadley and Tom Farrell kept the pressure on. From a good driving maul 10m out Tigers looked to have gone over in the corner only to have the referee decide that Steve Walker had been held up. He did, however, award a penalty to Tigers for offside and Mark Ireland slotted it over to give Tigers a 6 - 3 lead. The game now settled into a war of attrition with both sides defending well but the game was being broken up by penalties. Eventually one was in range and it was Harrogate who benefitted as they equalised to make it 6 - 6 after 25 minutes. The remaining 15 minutes were played out with both sides attacking but not really making much headway. The penalties kept coming, for both sides, but never in kickable positions. Harrogate attempted a long range shot but it fell short. On the stroke of half time the visitors found themselves down to 14 men following a high tackle and both teams headed for the changing rooms.
Tigers went onto the attack at the start of the second half and from a solid lineout, a good drive resulted in prop Ed Simmons crossing the line. From wide out the kick was missed and the score was 11 – 6 to Tigers. Harrogate hit back quickly when Tigers were penalised for, yes you’ve guessed it, not rolling away and Harrogate reduced the deficit to 2 points, 11 - 9. Both sides were trying to play rugby but the game kept being broken up by penalties. Tigers were eventually the beneficiaries of this when Harrogate gave away a succession of penalties culminating in a simple kick for Mark Ireland to make it 14 – 9. The visitors now began to pressure the Tigers line and it took some good defending to keep them out. Eventually from an attack down the middle, they forced their way over under the posts and Tigers found themselves behind for the first time in the match by 14 – 16. From the kick-off Tigers pressured but penalties allowed Harrogate to clear their line. Good runs by Will Bennett, Tom Coates and Broadley kept the pressure on but penalties were proving a problem for both sides. Tigers, with 8 minutes remaining, were eventually penalised in a kickable position and Harrogate stretched their lead to 14 – 19. This was to be the last score and Tigers had to settle for the 1 point losing bonus.
This was a game that never really got going. It was punctuated by penalties that prevented it from ever becoming a real contest and a nervousness by both sides who knew what was at stake. The returning players did well and should improve with a game in their legs. The new prop, Nick Bingham, looked a useful addition to the side putting in some good tackles and solid scrummaging. A final word for young Tom Farrell playing at fullback who had a solid game and made an excellent try saving tackle.

Scorers: Tries: Simmons (1)
Penalties: Ireland (3)

Team: Simmons (Bingham), Thornton (Coates), Wright (Bennett),  Orton, Symcox (Townsend), Wragg, Sullivan, Walker,  Holmes, Ireland, Pond, Wallace, Broadley, Keetley, Farrell

Replacements:  Bennett, Coates, Townsend, Bingham, Bowyer

Man of the match  - Ben Sullivan

Match Report: Graham Cockshutt


14/01/17 Tigers 1st XV 17 - 32 Leicester Lions

Tigers took on high flying Leicester Lions on Saturday and, according to those supporters who travelled, outplayed their opponents for the majority of the game. With Chris Keetley starting on the wing and young Tom Farrell starting his first game at fly half Tigers showed the potential for the future.
After conceding an early penalty Tigers responded with a try by Tom Farrell after 21 minutes, converted by Tainne Finn, and 3 minutes later an unconverted try by Jamie Broadley to give Tigers a 3 - 12 advantage. Lions immediately responded with an unconverted try of their own to make it 8 - 12 after 30 minutes. As half time approached Tigers Steve Walker went over to make the score Lions 8 - 17 Tigers at half-time.
The home side came out with all guns blazing and pulled a try back after just 2 minutes of the second half. This was converted  to make it 15 - 17. Both sides now showed their defence qualities as well as their attacking flair. Tigers had chances to score but, at times, seemed to lack the confidence to take on the opposition and back their own abilities. The stalemate persisted to the 70th minute when the Lions winger went over for an unconverted try to give the home side a narrow  20 - 17 lead. Tigers responded but, as we all know, attacking can leave openings and the Lions winger went in again with just 3 minutes left of the game. This was converted to make it 27 - 17. To get two  points from the game Tigers now needed a  4th try (1 bonus point)  and a conversion (a losing bonus point). With Tigers trying to attack the inevitable happened and in the 80th minute the Lions outside centre went in to make the final score 32 - 17.
It was a good performance by the Tigers team and, although they were up against a bigger pack (as usual), the forwards were by far the better unit. Two or three missed chances and a couple of mistakes again cost us the game but make no mistake the side has real potential to win games. It needs to start this weekend against Harrogate and they need plenty of support to roar them on. It promises to be  dry, warm and sunny at Tigers this weekend (well pick any one of the three!) so get up there and shout for the team.

Scorers: Tries: Broadley (1), Farrell (1), Walker (1)
Conversions: Finn (1)

Team: Simmons, Thornton (Coates), Wright (Bennett),  Orton, Symcox (Townsend), Wragg, Tufail-Smith (Monks), Walker,  Holmes, Farrell, Finn, Wallace, Kelly, Keetley (Pond), Broadley

Replacements:  Bennett, Coates, Townsend, Monks, Pond

Match Report:

07/01/17 Tigers 1st XV 17 - 40 Stourbridge

The Christmas and New year break gave Tigers players a chance to recover and, hopefully, be refreshed. It was not going to be an easy return with the first match being against Stourbridge who were riding high at 4th in the league. They brought with them an impressive side with size being a noticeable feature. They looked a side 2 stone a man heavier than most of the Tigers players.
Tigers began and found themselves immediately under pressure. They held on and began to look to attack and with the chance of a quick break by Henri Packard available the ball was passed to him. Unfortunately, the pass was intercepted by the Stourbridge left wing who ran through the gap to touch down. With the conversion going over it made the score 0 - 7 after only 2 minutes. It was unlucky but one of those things that can happen. Tigers captain, Ryan Holmes, rallied his team and, although they were under pressure, the pack and lineout were holding their own. The visitors were a powerful set of runners and they continued to use this physical dominance to try and batter their way through. One problem seemed to be that Tigers were being penalised a lot for either not releasing the tackler, going over the ball or holding on to the ball. This was giving easy yards to the opposition and nullifying any Tigers attack. From one such penalty Stourbridge moved up field and from the set piece the Stourbridge No8 went over for another converted try to make it 0 – 14. Tigers were not being outplayed but, unlike last year, every mistake seems to be punished by giving away points. Tigers made some good attacks through Peter Swatkins, Packard, Liam Wallace and Jon Buchanan. At the same time the pack were putting in the work and holding the bigger Stourbridge forwards. After another penalty the visitors move up the field and, again from the set piece, the No8 went over for a converted try to make it 0 - 21. Tigers restarted and immediately began to attack the Stourbridge line with some good tactical kicking by Wallace, Holmes and Swatkins they managed to have a period of sustained pressure and a good move between Swatkins and Packard was stopped just short of the line. Another attack, from a grubber kick through by Jamie Broadley, found Frank Wragg in a foot race to touch the ball down but the referee decided that a Stourbridge hand got there first. The pressure continued but the whistle went for half time with the score 0 - 21.
The 2nd half started with Stourbridge putting on the pressure but Tigers defending well with Buchanan putting in good work in both defence and attack. Eventually the visitors pressure paid off and a missed tackle allowed their winger to score another converted try making it 0 – 28. Tigers were still having to defend which they were doing well but they were also launching attacks of their own with good breaks by Swatkins, Frank Tufail-Smith, Steve Walker and Louis Townsend. The pack was also beginning to push the larger Stourbridge forwards around and the team seemed to realise that they could make inroads into the score. A good run by the three quarters found Broadley on the wing who danced his way over in the corner to get the first try on the board. The conversion went wide and the score was now 5 - 28. Tigers continued to pressure but another mistake allowed the visitors winger to score another converted try which restored the 30-point lead at 5 - 35. Tigers now played some of their best attacking rugby and with the pack on the ascendancy it was only fitting that the tight head prop, Will Bennett, should go over for the home side’s second try. With the score at 10 - 35, and less than 10 minutes to play, Tigers decided to try and get a bonus point by scoring 4 tries. They launched into the attack with the increasingly vocal crowd roaring them on. A good break down the middle by Lee Monks kept the crowd shouting and the roar got louder as Buchanan broke with the ball, chipped it through and Broadley following up went over for his second try which was converted by Wallace to make it 17 - 35. With two minutes remaining Tigers went for broke and were passing the ball around looking for the gap. They were well in to the Stourbridge half when a dropped ball was picked up by the Stourbridge outside centre who ran in for a try to make it 17 – 40. Tigers launched one final attack but the whistle beat them and they ended the game on 17 - 40.
Ignore the score. Two interception tries and a missed tackle gifted the opposition 21 points and without them it would have been a tight game. The team played well under the new captain Ryan Holmes and showed the spirit, camaraderie and determination that we have all been waiting for. Make no mistake, if they play like this every game we will still be around in this league next season.


Scorers: Tries: Broadley (2), Bennett (1)
Conversions: Wallace (1)

Team: Simmons, Thornton (Coates), Wright (Bennett),  Orton, Symcox (Townsend), Wragg, Tufail-Smith (Monks), Walker,  Holmes, Wallace, Finn (Dunn), Buchanan, Broadley, Packard, Swatkins

Replacements:  Bennett, Coates, Townsend, Monks, Dunn

Man of the match  - Ross Thornton

Match Report: Graham Cockshutt