Upcoming Events!

FRIDAY 8th MAY – AGM

All players, past and present, are invited to attend the Clubs AGM, to be held on Friday 8th May at the Club. Proceedings start at 7.30pm.

Please make every effort to attend – this is your chance to air your views on how the club is run.

SATURDAY 9th MAY – LADIES NIGHT

Tickets are still available from Neil Evans. Cost only £25 per head. Function to be held at the club and yes, you are expected to dress up nicely!

Shire Hall 27 Farnham Royal 24

Shire Hall finished the season on a high, with a thrilling final fixture win against Farnham Royal. Victory ensured a positive win/loss ratio (played 21, won 11, lost 10) and cemented themselves as worthy mid-table competitors. The gravitas of the last game of the season had not been lost on the Shire Hall team as they hosted visiting Farnham Royal. Farnham were one point ahead in the league table meaning it really was all to play for. The winner would finish the season 5th. History was on the side of Shire Hall though, having won the 2 previous meetings between the teams this season. Both close, physical encounters.  The opening blows went firmly Farnham’s way. A strong wind favoured the visitors and their forwards utilised the short blindside to great effect. The Farnham ball-carriers rumbled along, well supported, and crashed over for 2 very similar tries in the first 10 minutes. 14-0 down. This sparked Shire Hall to shore up the blindside defence and mount a characterful comeback.  Shire Hall were in no way deflated. Rich Clark had made 2 storming runs early in the game only to be denied a glorious try by some last-ditch defending. And it wasn’t long until the first Shire points of the day came. Rory Buckley made the most of a knock-on advantage to race up the field and score under the posts. 14-7 to Farnham Royal, 2 tries to 1. It wasn’t long until Shire were on Farnham’s try line again. Powerful line breaks had gained territory and after drawing in the Farnham defence with forward phases, the ball was spread left. Good hands along the whole back line led to winger Rhys Stewart to dot down in the corner. Simple rugby.

Half time 14-12. 2 tries a piece.

Shortly after the break, Rory made another break as Matt R, his fellow centre, drew in both opposite numbers. A dart downfield, evading the grasping arms of the Farnham defence meant another score under the posts. Shire Hall in front for the first time – 14-19. Great kicking from the Farnham 10 Thomas Boardman, and far too many Shire penalties led to a Farnham line-out deep in the Shire 22. A rolling maul drove over the try line, and Farnham had re-taken the lead. Shire Hall find themselves in the Farnham 22 after the restart, and are awarded a penalty . The kick is good, and it puts Shire Hall back into the lead. 22-21 to Shire. More Shire infringements lead to another penalty within kicking range of the Farnham fly half’s right peg. The kick is good, Farnham re-take the lead. 24-22 With less than 10 minutes on the clock, Shire Hall are awarded a penalty back down in the Farnham 22. Just off to the left, regular Shire Hall kicker, Rhys Stewart had gone off injured, so captain David Lloyd-Williams stepped up to launch Shire Hall into the lead once again. The kick sailed just wide. (Credit to Dave for stepping up as a previous winner of the Kicking Cup bottled it!) The last few minutes were a real arm wrestle, resulting in a now-or-never moment as Shire Hall were camped 5 metres from the Farnham line. Phase after phase were held out as the forwards shifted the ball left to right, setting the ball, recycling and going for the next phase. It seemed fitting to come down to power prop Matt Margot who’s had an excellent season, to steal the win as he barged over and managed to find a patch of grass amongst a jumble of limbs and body parts. Sam Watkins’ attempt to add a further two points just failed.

24-27, Shire Hall lead by 3.

A tense last few minutes saw Shire hall close out the game, bringing an end to a very enjoyable game.

Tries: Rory Buckley (2), Rhys Stewart, Matt Margot

Conversion: Rhys Stewart (2)

Penalty Goal: Rhys Stewart

Man Of The Match: Rory Buckley

Selection for March 28th vs Farnham Royal (Home) (VP Lunch)

Opposition: Farnham Royal
Competition: League
Venue: Home
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Meet Time: 1.00 pm(players that arrive later than the meet time will be asked to donate £5 to our tour fund) 
Dress: Cowboys and Indians
Item: A selfie in your kit after the game (+£1 for everyone who did not take one last weekend)

1. Neil Evans
2. Jack Proctor
3. Matt Margot
4. Tom Birch
5. Adam Bishop
6. Lenny Pitt
7. Richard Clarke
8. David Lloyd-Williams (C)
9. Pat McGuigan
10. Rhys Thomas
11. Rhys Stewart
12. Matt Rowlandson
13. Chris Walker
14. Chris Merrick
15. Alex Webb

16. Tom Smith
17. Stuart Burgess
18. Andrew Carson
19. Tim Holmes
20. Sam Watkins
21. Rory Buckley
22. Luke Barefoot

Berkshire Shirehall 20 – Faringdon 13

Shire labour to win against bottom placed Faringdon

A somewhat depleted Berkshire Shire Hall side made the long trip to Faringdon in their penultimate game of the season. With some relatively new players lining up and some long term injury returns the objective for Shire was clear – win to set-up a mid-table final clash for 5th in the table with Farnham Royal for the last fixture of the season.

Shire kicked off against the wind on an exposed Faringdon pitch. Initial exchanges were tentative as both sides settled into their respective game plans. Once Shire decided to keep the ball in hand they began punching holes around the Faringdon defence with some good ball carrying from the forwards and some direct running from Matt Rowlandson at inside centre. Faringdon’s scramble defence was good and they used the wind effectively to clear their lines. Running back one clearance quick led to the first score of the afternoon. Some quick hands and good tight work from forwards and backs alike drew the penalty from Faringdon as they went off their feet at the ruck. Tim O’Sullivan stepped up to make it 3-0.

Shire kept the pressure up and another kick return led to the first try of the match. Webby took a clean catch and returned before being tackled. From the ensuing ruck Tight head and debutant Dan Neale looked to take a tight carry and ended up bursting through the Faringdon defence to score a superb 50 metre solo try. O’Sullivan missed the conversion. From here Faringdon stormed back into the game benefitting from some overly ambitious play from the shire team and some good carrying from their forwards and inside backs. This led to 3 penalty chances for the Faringdon centre who converted 2 of them with the teams turning around 8 – 6 at the break despite Shire butchering 2 clear cut scoring opportunities on the whistle.

Shire kicked off into the wind in the second half and the kick went straight out from Wing O’Sullivan. Unfortunately this set the tone for the 2nd half where compounded errors led to Faringdon building pressure throughout the half with Shire clearing their lines at every opportunity. From one of these clearances shire mounted pressure with a shift drive at the lineout which led to penalty. Running the penalty led to Dan Neave’s second try from close in. O’Sullivan added the extras to but daylight between the teams.

During the next passage of play Stu Burgess was uncharacteristically knocked out during a breakdown with play being stopped for around 15 minutes. It is worth noting the great sportsmanship and care that the Faringdon players and medic took during this break – excellent to see during the heat of an intense physical battle and thanks should go to Farindgon for this. Tom Smith and Matt Margot came off the bench to add to the forwards.

From here several more transgressions allowed Faringdon to build pressure as they came back into the match quicker than Shire. Utilising a tight game plan a driven maul from an attacking line out led to Faringdon crashing over for another score which their centre converted. From the restart Shire managed to win back possession after a clearing kick deep in their 22. Moving the play up the field led to an attacking scrum from just outside the Faringdon 22. A great strike at the scrum led to quick ball for Rhys Thomas to attack with from Fly half and he dummied and shimmied his way over to put the score at 20-13 with O’Sullivan missing the conversion.

The final minutes of the match were marred by indiscipline from Shire and characterised by attacking momentum from Faringdon. Centre Matt Rowlandson and Wing Tim O’Sullivan finished the match in the sin bin for repeated technical offences but 13 man Shire were able to hold on for the victory.

MOM : Dan Neale

Selection for Saturday 21st March vs Faringdon (Away)

Opposition: Faringdon
Competition: League
Venue: Away
Kick Off: 1.00pm
Meet Time: 10.30 am(players that arrive later than the meet time will be asked to donate £5 to our tour fund)

Meet At Faringdon: 12.00 (SN7 7AQ)
Dress: No 1s
Item: A selfie in your kit after the game (there is a reason for this..)

PLEASE NOTE EARLY KICK OFF TIME

1. Stuart Burgess
2. Jack Proctor
3. Neil Evans
4. Sam Offord
5. Tim O’Sullivan
6. Lenny Pitt
7. Tim Holmes
8. Tom Birch (C)
 
9. Pat McGuigan
10. Rhys Thomas
11. Vinnie Sheehy
12. Matt Rowlandson
13. Luke Barefoot
14. Chris Merrick
15. Alex Webb
 
16. Tom Smith
17. Matt Margot (TBC)

Selection for Saturday 7th March vs Harwell (Away)

Opposition: Harwell
Competition: League
Venue: Away
Kick Off: 2.30pm
Meet Time: 12.15pm (players that arrive later than the meet time will be asked to donate £5 to our tour fund)

Meet At Harwell: 1.15 pm (OX11 0RL)
Dress: No 1s
Item: Something Irish as an early St Paddy’s day celebration

1. Neil Evans
2. Jack Proctor
3. Matt Margot
4. Andrew Carson
5. Mike Jerstice
6. Tim Holmes
7. Richard Clarke
8. David Lloyd-Williams (C)
9. Sam Watkins
10. Rhys Thomas
11. Rhys Stewart
12. Chris Walker
13. Alex Webb
14. Pat McGuigan
15. Chris Holmes
16. Stuart Burgess
17. Sam Offord
18. Gregory King
19. Tom Birch
20. Luke Barefoot
21. Aaron Walters

Berkshire Shire Hall 45 – Aldermaston 20

Shire run out winners against valiant but understrength Aldermaston

After a thrashing the week before at the hands of promotion contenders Crowthorne Shire Hall were looking to right many wrongs in this home fixture against Aldermaston who have been struggling of late. Shire knew it would not be a foregone conclusion though as Aldermaston had the benefit of our previous coach, Ben, and had beaten Didcot narrowly the week before. The Shire team warmed up well and had a late change in at 9 with Sam Watkins falling foul of dreaded Man Flu and Aaron stepping into the gap. With the skipper DLW, Tim Holmes and Chris Holmes returning to the match day squad it was a strong team Shire put out.

With kick off slightly delayed by a late running ref hampered by a flat tyre, Shire started strongly against 14 man Aldermaston. Some excellent, consistent restart work from 2nd Row Andy Carson and some great carrying in the forwards with Matt Margot, Rich Clarke and DLW to the fore Shire played with lots of ambition in the first 25 minutes of the match. Good hands across the field and consistent good offloading in the tackle led to Shire making the extra man count in putting winger Rhys Stewart over for a first half hat-trick. Rhys kicked very well and added another to his tally to equal the club record for 4 tries in one match.(Editor’s note: Harry has the record of 5 – he won’t thank you for trying to take it away!) Shire racing into an over 20 point lead thought contributed to a little complacency in certain areas of the park. Trying to play too complex, too fast contributed to a number of unforced errors which gifted Aldermaston possession which they used to good effect – their fly half and Inside Centre kicking tactically very well to frustrate Shire further and compound these errors. Aldermaston forwards were competing well at the set piece and in the line out and regularly disrupting Shire ball through aggressive counter rucking. Indeed good work from the Aldermaston pack in turning over a Shire attack and moving the ball quickly led to a break away score by the Inside Centre just before half time which combined with a previous penalty meant the half time score turned around at 26 – 13 (I think).

Aldermaston continued their good pressure early in the second half with their Inside Centre going over for his second score after continual pressure and good recycling from the pack and yet more indiscipline from Shire. Using the break to re-group Shire came back into the game, utilising their strong ball carriers to gain good ground against a tiring Aldermaston team. Aaron shepherded the forwards well from the breakdowns and pressure finally told with prop Jack Proctor romping over from close quarters followed up with a try for skipper DLW – showing great strength to wrestle over from a couple of yards through some despairing tackles. Rhys Stewart continued to add to his haul in kicking well and the final gloss was put on the result with Fly Half Tim O’Sullivan skipping over in the corner after good work from Number 8 DLW and Aaron to find space down the blind side. Rhys blew a last minute chance to equal the record for tries in match as he knocked on with open space in front of him but finished the match with 30 points none-the-less.

With 3 matches to go in the season Shire will need to kick on and cut the error count down when we visit Harwell next week if we are to cement our position in the final table.

MOM : David Lloyd-Williams
DOD : Neil Evans
Presentations : Neil Evans (400 caps for the club)

Selection for February 28th vs Aldermaston (Home) (VP Lunch)

 

Opposition: Aldermaston
Competition: League
Venue: Home
Kick Off: 2.15pm
Meet Time: 1.00pm (players that arrive later than the meet time will be asked to donate £5 to our tour fund)

Dress: No 1s
Item: Something Red (Welsh) or Something Blue (French)

1. Neil Evans
2. Jack Proctor
3. Matt Margot
4. Andrew Carson
5. Mike Jerstice
6. Stuart Burgess
7. Richard Clarke
8. David Lloyd-Williams (C)
9. Sam Watkins
10. Tim O’Sullivan
11. Rhys Stewart
12. Matt Rowlandson
13. Alex Webb
14. Chris Merrick
15. Chris Holmes
16. Tom Smith
17. Will Robinson
18. Tim Holmes
19. Tom Birch
20. Pat McGuigan
21. Aaron Walters

Selection for February 21st vs Crowthorne (Away)

Opposition: Crowthorne
Competition: League
Venue: Away
Kick Off: 2.15pm
Meet Time: 12.30 pm (1.15 @ Crowthorne) (players that arrive later than the meet time will be asked to donate £5 to our tour fund)

Dress: No 1s

1. Stuart Burgess (19-0)
2. Jack Proctor (20-20)
3. Tom Smith (29-10)
4. Andrew Carson (182-42)
5. Mike Jerstice (21-0)
6. Matt Margot (15-35)
7. Richard Clarke (11-10)
8. Tom Birch (82-15)
9. Sam Watkins (C) (180-101)
10. Aaron Walters (2-2)
11. Rhys Stewart (19-59)
12. Lenny Pitt (0-0)
13. Tim O’Sullivan (91-110)
14. Chris Merrick (12-10)
15. Alex Webb (45-60)
16. Neil Evans (401-240)
17. Sam Offord (3-0)
18. Adam Bishop (128-78)
19. Gregory King (0-0)
20. Rhys Thomas (25-30)