King's School Macclesfield Tournament - Saturday 1st September 2007

Ellesmere 1st XV made a promising start to the season at the King's Macclesfield tournament. The format for the 'friendly' tournament was two halves of 12 minutes for each match. The forwards provided a very solid base and with so many of the pack returning we proved too powerful up front for most teams. Once the backs received ball going forward, they ran well and created some good scores. We retained possession reasonably well in most games, while still playing enterprising rugby, with forwards and backs offloading out of the tackle and keeping the ball alive. Generally our kicking game was good although we chipped ahead in the opposition 22 once or twice, something to be avoided.

A number of new players including some Year 11 boys all entered into the fray and gained useful experience in the senior set up. An encouraging day - well done.

V Dean Close 25-0








v Rishworth 20-0







v St Josephs 30-0









v Wisbech 25-0








Ellesmere v Old Ellesmerians 8th September


Ellesmere 85 Old Ellesmerians 7


The opening fixture of the season provided a run out for the 1st XV to practice moves and plays in preparation for the season. Although the OEs had a number of full colours back playing for them, they also had some areas of weakness that were soon exploited. As the game wore on the ability of the 1sts to run the ball from anywhere began to tell and some running plays from deep resulted in some excellent tries. The forwards provided an excellent base and began to enter into the free flowing spirit of the running game, linking well and offloading out of the tackle with relative ease. During the second half the OEs had run out of steam and were struggling to make a match of it, and the ref brought the game to an end ten minutes early.



Ellesmere v Old Swinford 12th September 2007


Ellesmere 27 Old Swinford 5


Ellesmere faced a true test in the opening game of the season, against opponents that had narrowly lost to Millfield the previous week. We started well producing good quality ball which we then used intelligently, varying the passing game with forward charges and off-loads. It was our ability to carry the ball forward and then release the ball quickly that led to space for the backs to move the ball for Nat Thomas to score wide out early on. After controlling play for the opening period we fumbled ball back from a lineout outside our 22 and brought a period of sustained pressure upon ourselves. We defended well although we were stretched, and eventually cleared our lines, but only for their team to clear up and run back at us. We were a bit thin in the middle as we chased and a break led to them putting the winger away for a score.


5-5 with fifteen minutes gone and we tore back into them and enjoyed the best twenty minutes of the game. A dummy move in the centre led to space out wide for Nat Thomas to weave his way through for his second try of the game from the first phase ball. This was followed by a series of forward drives and then a deep relay of the ball for Mark Pearson to go over in the corner. The killer score came just before half time when a catch and drive from a lineout was defended by too many of the opposition, and a quick flat release to Rhys Hayes saw him jink through the opposition to score under the posts.


Half time: Ellesmere 22 Old Swinford 5


Following half time Old Swinford had their best fifteen minutes of the game putting our defence through a severe test on our own line for much of the time. They were very solid in both line and scrum although there was not much size to them. As hard as we tried to clear our lines they kept coming back at us, particularly when they began to pinch occasional bits of our lineout. There were many big tackles during this phase of play and we did well to subdue them. A couple stand out, one from James King close to the line and another from Alex Wilcox, covering across to bounce their winger across the floor, leaving him fairly unsteady. The game became a little static from here on and we rarely threatened, apart from towards the end when we camped them in their 22. We had a series of lines out as Old Swinford infringed and from a catch and drive Ben Morris broke free to drive over and score a much deserved try for the forwards.


A very satisfying performance in many ways. In comparison with last season we played a very controlled game and gave very few penalties away. Rhys Hayes from fly half dictated play well choosing and varying the options correctly, while also running very strongly. We managed to offload where appropriate or recycle the ball when it was risky to pass which is something that we can develop further.



Ellesmere v Sandbach 15th September


Ellesmere 22 Sandbach 7


The game opened at a fairly low tempo, being played mainly line out to scrum with very little open play. A loose defensive kick from Sandbach was returned by Nat Thomas who after a neat jinking run found Alex Wilcox with a well timed pass who then managed to run powerfully between two defenders to touch down.


The game became scrappy almost from the outset. A lack of clean ball both from set piece and from the breakdown meant little continuity. A long looping pass into out midfield was picked up by a Sandbach centre to run away and score an interception try. We then put Sandbach under sustained pressure in their 22 to eventually force


We upped the tempo from the start of the second half and narrowly failed to score. The occasional odd refereeing decision was baffling, but we kept Sandbach in their half for all but 5 minutes of the second half. We probed the blind side well and eventually scored out wide through Alex Whittle. We continued to peg Sandbach back and we rewarded towards the end when a deft grubber from Rhys Hayes saw Freddie Nevel gather and score.


A rather flat game lacking vigor and passion, but it was pleasing to record another well deserved victory.




Ellesmere v King Edward Stratford 22nd September


Ellesmere 36 King Edward Stratford 6


We began strongly and took play to the opposition. We moved the ball well and retained possession that resulted in Rhys Hayes kicking an early penalty. KE Stratford had a good flanker sin binned for punching at a scrum and so this brought them under pressure. Midway through the first half our best period of play unfolded and we scored three tries in fairly quick succession. Two from James King and one from Nat Thomas, that all resulted from retaining possession in contact and exposing the defence both through the middle and out wide. With another penalty the half time lead of 24-3 looked very comfortable.


The second half began badly with a steady stream of penalties being given away. We did win ball and mount attacks but let go of the ball in the contact area through getting isolated or making elementary mistakes. Due to the number of penalties we gave away we eventually lost a player for persistent offending and so were down to seven men in the scrum. We then had ten minutes in our own 22 trying to defend 5 metre scrums. This we did courageously with some tremendous tackling, managing to see out the pressure and then take the game to the opposition. Late in the half we finally strung some passes together to score through Mark Pearson which was followed by a fine run through from Rhys Hayes to complete the scoring. Not a vintage performance but another win although still a lot to work on.




North Midlands Selections 26th September


Following the trials at Droitwich the following have been selected from Shropshire:













*First choice


Apart from Madden and Marshall the rest are all from Ellesmere. At one point last night with Sam Lewis, Nat Thomas and Jim Lloyd on the pitch there were 11 Ellesmere players on the pitch representing Shropshire. Shropshire beat Hereford 4 tries to 1 and in the final drew with Worcester 12-12 so a good night for Shropshire and Ellesmere Rugby.



Paul Goodwin

2nd October 2007  Back to News