Barney's Bulletin ~ Saturday 31st August
Our season started with a bang on Saturday with the first team squad recording a 20 points to 12 win over a competitive Helsby team in the first round of the Cheshire Plate competition. On what turned out to be a sunny but blustery afternoon the game was played in good spirit on a wonderful surface with the grounds looking magnificent, thanks to the ongoing efforts of our volunteer group.
From the kick off Parks forwards were dynamic against a very big pack and put the Helsby side under pressure resulting in a charge down of their clearing kick and resulted in Joe Coop winning the race to touchdown within a couple of minutes of the start. Indeed the forwards soon recorded another memorable small victory taking the Helsby ball with a first strike against the head in the first scrum for Luke Hillan, in his first adult game as a hooker, demonstrating that the Hillans legendary swing has not been lost.
Once the backs started to receive the ball won by the forwards following several catch and drives by Danny Blythe, who seemed to attract and catch most of the kick off ball and the ensuing bullocking runs by Terry and Alan Williams and Barry Owen the positive play resulted in two wonderful tries. Our ever industrious winger Eric Nixon going in first and then Fletcher Handley getting in on the scoring action with his first touch of the ball on his first team debut and recording his first, first team try, well done Fletch.
So 15 unanswered points against a determined Helsby team who had a lot of pace in the backs and some big forwards who started to make some ground. Following a few infringements that saw a number of penalties awarded against us Helsby got to within 5 or 6 yards of our line and this resulted in a barging try by one of their big forwards. The half finished with a 15-5 scoreline and perhaps just about reflected the share of the game.
The second half against the wind was a more defence dominated affair with brave tackling all over the ground with one tackle seeing the withdrawal of Joe Coop after he felled the biggest player in the Helsby team. Joe was a big loss as he had disrupted or stolen about 80% of the Helsby ball at the lineout denying them much possession.
Helsby though started to use their pace in the backs to eventually close the gap with a try wide out that was converted to bring the score to 15-12. This seemed to wake us up as a team and despite a number of changes in personnel to ensure game time for all of the squad the pressure eventually told on Helsby with the ever energetic Eric Nixon bursting over for a try in the clubhouse corner much to the delight of the large crowd watching and enjoying the game and once again putting us two scores ahead.
Helsby were determined to try to salvage something from the game and launched a number of dangerous attacks which were all repelled through strong defence and indeed one tackle sticks in the mind from that man Eric who tackled the Helsby man so hard he almost cut him in half and the guy was holding his ribs for a while afterwards. He was assisted in this tackle by Mark Barum, who continues to make every effort to cover the field and his support prevented a quick recycle of the ball by Helsby in a dangerous position on the field.
All in all a very good first outing for the season with a lot of positives and some areas to work on in training for the start of the league season.
Chairman of Rugby
2020 International Tickets
Members wishing to apply for tickets for England Homes Games in the 2020 February Internationals, please email P. Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 27th September 2019 stating Name, No. and Price of tickets applying for.
The tickets prices have not yet been confirmed, however, if members use as a guide £115, £100, £82 & £55, the applying member will be informed of actual prices if successful.
Please note in the case of tickets being oversubscribed, the Rugby Club Committee will decide on who is successful and who is not at the October Committee Meeting.
Pre Season Update
I am pleased to announce that in May, at the AGM of the Liverpool and District Referees Society, we won the much coveted award as the Most Hospitable Club Of The Year for the season 2018-19. This is given to the club which looks after referees the best before, during and after matches. This is a fantastic accolade for the Club, in what was a very testing season for us on the pitch! It is a testament to the hard work of the several Committee members involved in this. So well done everyone!!
Pre-season has now started with training/coaching sessions taking place on Wednesdays at 7pm and on Saturdays at 1.15pm. We are delighted to welcome back Duncan Meehan as Head Coach.
Mike Byrne continues as Club / 1st Team captain and Martyn Sharkey continues to lead the 2nds. 1st team league fixtures are available on the RFU Nortth website and the 2nd team fixtures are on the NOWIRUL website and both will be uploaded to our own website before the season commences.
Looking forward to seeing you all very shortly. Best regards,
President, Oxton Parkonians RUFC.