Summer sessions have sparked Old Hales
Old Halesonians are reaping the reward for putting in the hard yards over the summer, writes Nick Elwell.
A hard-fought 26-19 derby success against Stourbridge Lions made it five wins from six games and left Old Hales sitting pretty in third place in Midlands 1 West.
The club are looking to bounce back from last season’s relegation and a new-look squad has hit the ground running with director of rugby Dan Grant believing the decision to do away with a summer break is playing a part.
“All the work the players and coaches put in during the summer is paying off,” said Grant.
“We carried on training throughout the summer following last season’s relegation.
“We have revamped the squad and there are a lot of new faces. But the players are committed to training and to what we want to do.
“We played well on Saturday and perhaps could have been a bit more clinical at times.
“But it was a good local derby and a good day for the club. We had our sponsors here watching and a few other new people who saw what we are all about.”
Grant isn’t setting any targets for this season but admits the long-term aim is to get back to the Midlands Premier.
“We spent a number of years at the level above and we are well aware of what is needed to compete in the division above,” he said.
“We have got a good squad and as a club you always want to play as high a level as possible.
“I don’t think we are a million miles away but we have got to get there.
“This division has a few local derbies and it’s providing a good platform for our younger players who are gaining more experience.”
We have got a free weekend and we have given the players a night off training so that they can recover a bit.
Then we will come back next week ready to prepare for the next few games.
We have three hard games coming up against xxxx
Burntwood coach James Davies believes his squad are showing a bit more maturity this season as they chase promotion from Midlands 3 West (North).
Davies saw his men chalk up a fourth straight league success on Saturday when they battled to a 31-19 victory at home to Eccleshall.
The win left them sitting third, level on points with Shrewsbury and one behind leaders Old Saltleians, in what already looks a three-way battle for the two promotion places.
“We played really well on Saturday,” said Davies, whose men missed out on promotion on the last day of last season.
“We scored first and then fell behind to two tries but we showed good character to come back and win.
“There is a bit more maturity about the squad this season.
They are taking things on board and sticking to the gameplan. Things just seem to be flowing a bit better this season.”
Burntwood crossed for five tries with Billy Fisher, Jordan Pincombe, Matt Wood, Josh Canning and Neil Holden touching down. Wood added three conversions.