THE RUGBY Returners programme at Pershore RFC is paying off, with many ‘old boys’ returning to play social rugby for fun at the club.
As part of this, 35 veterans of the club came together for their annual tour, which took them to Wakefield in West Yorkshire.
Pershore’s opposition on the Saturday afternoon was Ossett RFC but the visiting veterans had the usual disadvantages of being considerably older than their opponents and also had the handicap of not playing together in any games so far this season.
Meanwhile, Ossett had the luxury of fielding a team that play most Saturdays.
Pershore kicked off but within a few minutes Ossett had scored a breakaway try between the posts which allowed for a simple conversion.
Pershore struggled to maintain possession of the ball to allow any momentum in their play and Ossett’s defence was so well drilled that they were controlling the game totally in the first half.
The hosts’ backs continued to spread the ball and, with their superior pace and exceptional lines of running, completely stretched Pershore’s defence.
When Pershore did attack, Ossett’s defence was solid which denied Pershore many scoring opportunities, although Ben Pullen did cross the whitewash after 25 minutes and Pershore went into the break 36-5 down.
The half time team talk, which included a bottle of port, woke Pershore up with a brief to play the game tighter, with the pack driving the ball up the centre of the pitch and dominant rucks and mauls allowing the backs to have more opportunity of running at Ossett’s defence from the 22m line.
The Pershore pack seemed to gather themselves right from the first whistle and Ossett were caught napping early on when, after several strong drives, the ball was passed out to the backs which saw Lewis Dolphin crash over for a converted try.
Rob Haines was controlling play from fly half and scored a sublime try from 25 metres out when he ran out of options in attack so chipped Ossett’s defence, caught the bouncing ball and sprinted the last 15 metres. Haines converted his try.
Pershore’s confidence grew and they continued to attack at every opportunity, but this exposed their defence and Ossett exploited the gaps with two breakaway tries which were converted.
Towards the end, Pershore’s Kevin Harrison chased a kick which Ossett’s defence failed to clear and he pounced on the ball as it went over the try line.
The final minute saw Pershore’s pack punch the ball up the field through several phases and finally the ball was moved across the backs to allow Pullen to cross for his second try of the game.
Pershore had enjoyed much the better of the second half and were eventually beaten 51-34.