26/11/16 Tigers 1st XV 24 - 47 Hinckley

Tigers went to Hinckley to face a side on run of recent successes. A side strengthened by support from a couple of local clubs and virtually unrecognisable from last years team that got them promotion. The majority of that team are, according to one of their committee, now playing as the second team!  
Tigers, as is usual this year, set off well putting pressure on the home side. Hinckley counterattacked but from a breakdown in the Tigers 22 Peter Swatkins made one of his typical jinxing runs to head towards the try line. He was accompanied by Henri Packard step for step. Swatkins was caught a couple of metres out but Packard was there to pick up the loose ball and go over for the opening try. Tom Outram converted and Tigers were on the board at 0 – 7. Hinckley responded almost immediately with some powerful forward charges and some darting back play. Tigers were dropping off the tackles and allowing the home side to build up momentum. It finally paid off with a try by Jason Umaga (look him up on Google) and a conversion to make it 7 – 7. Hinckley now went on the attack but Tigers held them off with some solid work being done in the forwards. Swatkins was replace by Angus Bowyer and Hinckley started launching a few high kicks. Jamie Broadley gathered one of these and attacked from his own 22. He was brought down and Tigers were again on the defensive. From good play by the Tigers back row of Frank Wragg, Steve Walker and Alan Symcox the ball was stripped from Hinckley and found its way into the hands of Packard who sprinted down the wing to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try to give Tigers the lead 7 - 12. This spurred the home side into action and their forwards began to pressure Tigers line and within two minutes of conceding a try their full-back went over to make it 14 – 12 after the successful conversion. From the restart, Tigers had the option of a scrum and then found themselves penalised for pushing early. From the resultant kick, they found themselves defending the rolling maul. They defended it well but, eventually, the No8 went over for another unconverted try to make it 19 -12 to the home side after 23 minutes of play. Tigers suffered another setback as Symcox left the field to be replaced by Lee Monks.Things got worse just 5 minutes later when another forward drive resulted in the Hinckley 2nd row crossing the line with the kick, on this occasion, sailing between the posts. 26 – 12 with 28 minutes played. Tigers were dropping off and missing a number of tackles and the home side were beginning to find gaps to exploit. Some Tigers players were defending well with Jon Buchanan doing some sterling work. Ashley Holland was replaced by Frank Tufail–Smith and the Tigers pack began to show that they were not going to be pushed around all afternoon. Tigers restricted the chances for their opponents and made the occasional foray into the Hinckley half. With half time beckoning and the chance to regroup the Hinckley No7 scored another well worked try which was converted to make it 33 - 12 at half-time.
The second half was a totally different game. Tigers came out showing the spirit and fight that we know they have. The forwards and backs were working together. Charlie Wright was replaced by Ross Thornton after 56 minutes but, following a series of penalties in front of the posts, he got a “team” yellow card and was missing the next 10 minutes. Wright had to come back on as prop and Monks had to have a rest. Against a strong pack Tigers could not hold out and their scrum-half went over for a converted try.  40 - 12 with 20 minutes left.  Tigers responded almost immediately with their own pressure and a good move rounded off by Tufail-Smith to score in the corner to make it 40 - 17. The conversion went wide but it did mean that Tigers could still go away with a point if they could score one more try. They now began to attack and pressure the home side. They were beginning to throw the ball around as we know they can and disaster struck. The Hinckley winger, who was no slouch, intercepted a pass on his own 22 and set off. It was a foot race and he eventually touched down for a try which was converted to make it 47 - 17. It left just 4 minutes for Tigers to score. They piled on the pressure and a good break by Broadley down the wing saw him brought down jut metres from the line. Tigers now launched wave after wave of attacks which eventually paid off with the hard-working Liam Wallace going over for a converted try to make the final score 47 - 24.  A point for Tigers and well-earned on the second half performance. If the first half had been as spirited who knows what the outcome might have been.
All credit to Hinckley who, with an influx of players from senior clubs, have now got themselves a strong squad. To those who win go the spoils. What they might need to learn is how to accept victory gracefully rather than gloat.

Scorers: Tries: Packard (2), Tufail-Smith (1), Wallace (1)
Conversions: Outram (2)

Team: Simmons, Bennett, Wright (Thornton), Holland (Tufail-Smith), Orton, Wragg, Walker, Symcox (Monks), Holmes, Outram, Wallace, Buchanan, Broadley, Packard, Swatkins (Bowyer)

Replacements:  Hopkins, Thornton, Monks, Tufail-Smith, Bowyer

Report by: Graham Cockshutt

19/11/16 Tigers 1st XV 13 - 17 Otley

On a cold day at Dore Moor, Otley chose to have the wind behind them and let Tigers kick off.  After receiving the ball the visitors moved up the pitch and, following a penalty by Tigers gained a line out on the home sides 5m line. The now familiar rolling maul ensued but Tigers held them out and launched their own attack. As they moved up the pitch Peter Swatkins made a break supported by Henri Packard. They interchanged passes with the ball ending up in the hands of Jamie Broadley who went over for a try. This was converted by Tom Outram to make it 7 – 0 to Tigers. Six minutes gone, and 7 points up Tigers went on the attack again. The forwards were making some powerful runs with Will Bennett, Ed Simmons and Al Symcox prominent. Another scrum penalty allowed Otley to move up the pitch but Tigers cleared and chased the ball into the opponents 22. Liam Wallace put in a crunching tackle on the Otley wing but as the ball rolled free the Otley 9, Max Johnson, picked it up and danced passed several Tigers players to feed the ball to a couple of forwards who with a neat interplay freed the fullback who went over under the posts. He then kicked the conversion to make it 7 - 7 after thirteen minutes. Disaster struck five minutes later when Tigers were again pressing on the Otley 22 when a pass was intercepted and the Otley 13 ran three-quarters of the pitch to score. Good chasing by Frank Tufail-Smith ensured it was in the corner and the missed conversion made it 7 – 12 to Otley. Tigers now began to exert some serious pressure on Otley with good runs by Jon Buchanan, Symcox, Packard, Bennett and Wallace.  The Otley defence stood firm and, aided by Tigers giving away possession at crucial stage, the half-ended Tigers 7 – 12 Otley.
The second half started like the first ended with the home side trying to apply the pressure. Swatkins gathered the ball and, as he ran across the back of the pack to find space he actually found Bennett coming back at him having been knocked back by an Otley player. The collision was big and Swatkins was helped from the field to be replaced by new boy Mike Aspinall. His first contribution was to launch a long kick up to the Otley 22. The resultant late tackle, it looked like an Otley player had an old score to settle, resulted in a kickable penalty which Outram duly converted to make it 10 - 12 with all to play for. Both sides now had periods of pressure and the tension seemed to show as players knocked on or dropped the ball. The ice-cold wind did not help. Charlie Wright replaced Ross Thornton as a succession of scrums for minor infringements ensued. Louis Townsend was involved in a number of breaks and Tigers seemed to be getting the upper hand although it is fair to say that neither set of backs seemed to have a real cutting edge. Finally, from a scrum in the Otley 22, Tigers got a penalty and the reliable Outram duly converted it to put Tigers ahead 13 - 12 with ten minutes left to play. Otley now began to apply some pressure with both the backs and the forwards. Following a strong run from second row, ex Tiger Sam Cook,  which split the defence,  the Otley left wing, Wood was driven over the line. The kick was missed but, with two minutes left, the vistors now had the lead at 13 – 17. Tigers needed to attack but the visitors were happy to try and kill the game and managed to do so to hold on for the victory.
Another tight game with the result going against Tigers. Credit to Otley for playing right through to the end and to Tigers for fighting every inch of the way.  As the season progresses sooner or later some of the breaks will go our way.

Scorers: Tries: Broadley (1)
Conversions: Outram (1)
Penalties: Outram (2)

Team: Bennett, Thornton (Wright), Simmons, Wragg, Holland, Tufail-Smith, Townsend (Monks), Symcox, Holmes, Outram, Wallace, Buchanan, Broadley, Packard, Swatkins (Aspinall)

Replacements:  Gelsthorpe, Wright, Monks, Aspinall, Keetley

Man of the match  - Alan Symcox

Match Report: Graham Cockshutt

12/11/16 Tigers 1st XV 21- 32 Preston Grasshoppers

No match report.

Scorers: Tries: Packard (1), Penalty Try (1)
Conversions: Bowyer (1)
Penalties: Bowyer (3)

Team: Gelsthorpe (Bennett), Thornton (Wright), Simmons, Wragg, Holland,  Monks, Calladine, Symcox (Townsend), Holmes, Bowyer (Aspinall), Kelly, Wallace, Broadley, Packard, Swatkins

Replacements:  Wright, Bennett, Townsend, Pond, Aspinall

05/11/16 Tigers 1st XV 10 - 34 Caldy

Tigers fail to derail league leaders

A familiar nip in the air returned to Dore Moor in Saturday as Tigers welcomed table topping Caldy. Cheshire is a hotbed of rugby talent and the men from the Wirral have made an impressive start to the campaign claiming eight wins from ten matches thus far. A large contingent had made the trip over the Pennines and they would have been hopeful of securing their ninth victory against an injury ravaged Tigers team currently sitting in mid table. The home fans were optimistic of repeat of the Sedgley game where the men from Dore Moor stole the game despite having little ball. Injuries in the pack allowed the promising Louis Townsend a start in the back row, while in the three quarters a shortage of fullbacks saw Jamie Broadley move to the unfamiliar position while Captain Tom Outram moved out to 13 to accommodate Angus Bowyer at standoff.
Tigers were well aware of the task in hand and right from the off it was the visitors on the attack as they exerted early pressure on the Tigers set piece. The home side were falling off tackles as the league leaders punched holes through the midfield with the impressive Jack Lavin leading the charge, but handling errors let Tigers off the hook. However, it only took until the 6th minute to break the deadlock when from a 5m scrum and simple 8, 9 15 saw Ben Jones coast in unopposed to touch down. More pressure was to follow as the visitors were soon back on the attack, but the game was error strewn and despite chances for Tigers to build an attacking field positon, a misfiring lineout saw the sizeable Caldy pack on the rampage again and following several drives in the tight, Thomas Sanders bulldozed over the line. Extras were hard to come by in a swirling wind and with both conversions missed, Caldy had a commanding lead and the lion’s share of the possession. Tigers did have their chances and were intent on playing high paced rugby, a quick tap from Ryan Holmes saw a deliberate knock on by the Caldy centre, the result was a 10 minute rest for him and a great attacking position for Tigers deep in the 22m. However, a turnover in close quarters with the try line in striking distance saw them come away empty handed. What followed was a period of poor quality rugby, littered with errors and penalties as both sides struggled to maintain possession for any period of time. A knock on brought the half to a close as the crowd retreated to the warmth of the clubhouse (Tigers 0 - 10 Caldy).
The second half started much like the first with the visitors on the attack, but the Tigers defence was holding firm as they continued to live off scraps thrown to them by the men from the Wirral. A poor kick receipt at the back by Caldy saw Henri Packard seize on the ball and feed Outram for a canter down the left. A quick recycle saw the ball moved to the opposite winger where man of the match Liam Wallace stepped the last defender to touch down wide on the right. The conversion sailed wide but surprisingly Tigers found themselves very much still in the game and only 5 points adrift after 50 minutes. This deficit was short lived after Ashley Holland saw yellow and from the resulting penalty the Caldy pack rumbled over the line following a successful catch and drive, Louis McGowan the man at the bottom of the pile and a successful conversion. The home side came bouncing back and with an ever improving set piece offering the three quarters a more reliable source of ball, Tigers were able to keep possession and build phases deep into the Caldy half. From a ruck on the left, Lee Monks bounced through the middle with the ball in hand and made a mad dash for the line for a superb individual effort. At 10 - 17, Tigers were back in bonus point territory and thoughts turned to a repeat of the Sedgley Park game. Alas it was not be and Tigers will be keen to forget an awful last 10 minutes in which the visitors ran in three unanswered tries to produce a score line that flattered the visitors. Firstly, Rhys Hayes found a gap and released Tom Banks wide on the left for a touch down, then a minute later an error at the back by Tigers allowed Nick Royle an easy stroll to the line. The disappointment was compounded for the home side when as the game opened up, a break by JJ Dickinson allowed a cute offload to Lavin who went over for the try of the game. That was the last of the action as the whistle blew for full time, final score Tigers 10 – 34 Caldy.
Next week Tigers travel to struggling Preston Grasshoppers where they will be looking to get their campaign back on track with a win.

Scorers: Tries: Monks (1), Wallace (1)

Team: Gelsthorpe (Wright (Thornton)), Bennett, Simmons, Wragg, Holland (Wade),  Monks, Townsend, Symcox, Holmes, Bowyer, Wallace, Buchanan, Outram (C),  Packard, Broadley (Pond)

Replacements:  Wright, Thornton, Wade, Finn, Pond

Man of the match  - Liam Wallace

Match Report: Andy Barnes