29/10/16 Tigers 1st XV 14 - 30 Chester

Scorers: Tries: Packard (1), Townsend (1)
Conversions: Outram (2)

Team: Gelsthorpe (Wright), Bennett, Simmons, Orton (Symcox), Holland, Wragg, Monks, Walker (Townsend), Holmes, Outram (C), Wallace, Buchanan, Broadley, Packard (Finn), Graham (Bowyer)

Replacements:  Wright, Townsend, Symcox, Bowyer, Finn

22/10/16 Tigers 1st XV 20 - 14 Sedgley Park

The taming of the Tigers

An autumnal Dore Moor welcomed visitors Sedgley Park, a familiar breed of Tiger who on their last visit in 2014 were edged out 15-12 by a Tigers team destined for relegation. The visitors were sitting third in the table following an unbeaten start to the season and would have been in confident mood given Tigers mixed form over the early part of the season. Following an impressive away win at Wharfedale last week Tigers were back on familiar turf and looking to register their second home win of the campaign. The home side were without the flying Henri Packard who was replaced on the wing by the versatile Liam Wallace with Dan Kelly starting on the other wing and some much needed bulk in the form of Alan Symcox added to the forward options as he took his place on a newly reinforced bench.

The visitors opened proceedings and despite an early foray into the opposition half the pressure was soon on the home side, the first scrum of the game saw the lighter Tigers pack concede ground resulting in a Sedgley penalty. The decision to kick for the corner was justified when following a clean catch at the lineout a well marshalled pack trooped over the line to allow Jonathon Mathews to touch down. With the extras added the signs looked ominous for the home side, but Tigers had other ideas and from the restart were able to regain possession and make inroads into the Sedgley half. Steve Walker was leading the charge and following some hard yards from the pack over multiple phases, the ball was moved wide to Pete Swatkins who stood up the would-be tackler with some agile footwork and slipped through the 13 channel to touch down to the right of the sticks. Captain Tom Outram obliged with the conversion and we were all square with 15 minutes gone (7-7). Sedgley were soon on the attack again with their route one approach making significant inroads into the Tigers half. What followed was a 20 minute period of prolonged pressure from the visitors which saw Tigers unable to get out of their half. While the hard running ball carriers kept on coming, the bone crunching tackles from the Tigers defence were equal to the task with the midfield of Jamie Broadley and Jon Buchanan leading the way. However, the sustained pressure eventually told as shortly before the interval a penalty to Sedgley was kicked to the corner and the well-oiled machine that was the visitors driving maul trundled over in the corner for Mathews to get his second of the day. As the teams retreated to the dressing room coach Thiu Barnard would have been pleased that the superb defensive character shown by his team meant they were still firmly in the game and only seven points adrift (7-14).
If the Sedgley fanciers on the terraces had been expecting more of the same in the second half they were in for a shock as this game was turned on its head with two Tigers tries in quick succession shortly after the interval. A ruck turnover in midfield saw a kick through and a race for the line, although narrowly edge out by the Sedgley fullback, a free kick from the ensuing 5m scrum saw quick reactions from number eight Walker who showed immense strength carrying two tacklers over the line to touch down. The second must be up there as an early contender for try of the season when following a midfield canter from Will Bennett, a change of direction saw Swatkins enter the line at pace on an arcing run to round the defence. The covering tackler stood little chance as another display of majestic footwork set the fullback on a clear coast to the line for his second of the match. With both conversions sailing agonisingly wide, Tigers held a slender 17-14 lead. It was fresh legs all round with a host of changes as both sides looked to seize the initiative in this seesawing encounter. It was the visitors who looked favourite to score next and with an ever increasing penalty count and a misfiring lineout causing concern in the home ranks, the pressure was building. A penalty for the visitors saw a lineout 5 metres out and the crowd could be forgiven for being worried that replica of the first two tries was on the cards. The men from Dore Moor had other ideas and with the driving maul repelled, some heroic defending as Sedgley pounded the line eventually lead to them conceding a penalty for holding on and a deep sigh of relief all round. Back in possession, a rare venture into the visitors half following strong running by man of the match Buchanan lead to a penalty on the opposition 10 metre line. Up stepped captain Outram and as silence fell on a sun kissed Dore Moor, a glorious contact with the boot saw the ball bisect the uprights, much to the delight of the home spectators to extend the lead to 20-14. A nervous two minutes followed for all concerned but the final whistle brought cheers of the delight as the visiting Tigers were tamed.

This was an excellent team performance by the men from Dore Moor and despite enduring prolonged periods with little possession, the tremendous defensive effort made them well deserved victors on the day. The four points to add to their tally will give Tigers some much needed confidence, but there will be no room for complacency as a run of tough games awaits with Chester and Caldy up next.

Scorers: Tries: Swatkins (2), Walker (1)
Conversions: Outram (1)
Penalties: Outram (1)

Team: Gelsthorpe (Bennett), Simmons, Wright, Orton (Symcox), Wragg, Monks, Tufail Smith (Townsend), Walker, Holmes,Outram (C), Wallace (Bowyer), Buchanan, Broadley, Kelly, Swatkins (Graham)

Replacements:  Bennett, Townsend, Symcox, Bowyer, Graham

Men of the match  - Jon Buchanan & Peter Swatkins

Match Report: Andy Barnes

15/10/16 Tigers 1st XV 29 - 19 Wharfedale

No match report.

Scorers: Tries: Packard (1), Swatkins (2), Walker (1)
Conversions: Outram (3)
Penalties: Outram (1)

Team: Gelsthorpe, Bennett, Simmons (Wright), Orton, Leeming, Monks (Townsend), Tufail Smith, Walker, Holmes,
Outram (C), Packard, Buchanan, Broadley, Graham, Swatkins

Replacements:  Townsend,  Wright, Bowyer, Kelly, Wallace


08/10/16 Tigers 1st XV 27 - 47 Sale

On a bright but brisk Saturday afternoon, Tigers welcomed Sale FC Rugby to Dore Moor for the friendly affair it has been on the last 2 occasions that the teams have met. Tigers had a full squad out apart from the long term absentees and with Sale sitting 1 point off top position with reports on the grape vine of strong recruitment in the summer, they knew this would be another really hard game.
Tigers started in a fashion not accustomed to by the Dore Moor faithful, coming out of the blocks quickly. From early possession, with a quick back line move Henri Packard raced past the Sale 13 like he was stood still and kicked ahead for Jamie Broadley to win the sprint for the line, Tom Outram added the extras, 7 - 0 Tigers with 2 minutes on the clock. The next set of phases and possession came from Sale, which resulted in an attacking scrum 5m out. Tigers scrum held up well but after the Sale no. 8 broke away and a couple of phases of pressure they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which was duly converted, 7 - 3 Tigers. Both sides had periods of pressure with Tigers back line playing well and the Sale pack also doing there job. The Sale no. 8 again broke from the back of a scrum in his own 22 only to be caught by the chasing back Steve Walker on halfway, but a subsequent infringement resulted in a Sale penalty. They kicked for the corner, lineout catch, drive, try, missed conversion, 7 - 8 Sale. Tigers were daunted and although Sale had most of the ball, every time Tigers managed to get their hands on it they looked to attack. Jon Buchanan broke from his own 22 with a fantastic move, off-loaded to Packard who sprinted free and fed Peter Swatkins. He rounded the Sale fullback to touch down and Outram added the extras, 14 - 8 Tigers. Sale had had most of the possession and there was no let up as they attacked again and again. Tigers defence finally broke leaving a 3 man overlap on the outside allowing Liam McGovern to score and then convert, taking him over 1000 points for Sale, 14 - 15 Sale. The Sale openside had been a handful all game and was showing good skills when he broke free putting in an audacious chip through that any flyhalf would have been happy with, collected by Jack Moorhouse who ran in under the posts, 14 - 22 Sale. At this point Sale may have thought they would break free but a determined Tigers set about working their way up the pitch resulting in a penalty just inside the vistors half. A good kick from Outram to take the 3 points, 17 - 22 Sale. Prop Ed Simmons then came of with a broken nose with Junior Gelsthorpe taking the field. Both teams at this point had pressure around the halfway mark before a moment of brillance. Packard collected the ball and ran sideways left to right, then right to left. The cry came from the terraces ....... don't panic he will score from here, which he duly did. Spotting a small gap in the defence, he broke free with just the fullback to beat, backed himself and sped over in the corner for a great individual try leaving Sale flabbergasted. Outram again added the extras, 24 - 22 Tigers at half-time.
The second half started with Sale coming out fired up and immediately on the offensive. Some great defence by Tigers kept them out but eventually Sale were awarded a  penalty, and their fullback kicked it, 24 - 27 Sale. Tigers then seemed to wake up and after 2 penalties in the Sale half the second was taken by Outram resulting in 27 - 27. Sale were now beginning to dominate the game and from pressure in the Tigers 22 a poor clearing kick let them run the ball back resulting in a penalty in front of the posts, 27 - 30 Sale. Sale kept the ball for long periods and applied pressure in the right places and they were gaining momentum with 10 minutes left. At this point the Tigers faithful still believed a win was capable, but Sale had other ideas. Wave after wave of Sale pressure resulted in an overlap on the left with them  going over with ease near the posts, 27 - 37 Sale. Tigers rallied again but to no avail and with 5 minutes to go Sale kicked another penalty in the Tigers half after sustained pressure, 27 - 40 Sale. Tigers were now very much on the back foot but still looking for that break for the 4th try for a losing  and try bonus points. Alas Sale had other ideas and after again pressurising in the Tigers 22, resulting in another overlap, they scored in the corner. The game was brought to an end with a great conversion from the touch line making the final score 27 - 47 Sale.

Tigers were in the game from start to finish ..... well 70 minutes, and made a great showing of themselves. Sale were worthy winners at the end, but Tigers deserved something from the game and a losing bonus point or 2 would have been good. Sale are a team on the up with this result putting them top of National 2 North. Tigers competed well, showing what we can do when we have some ball.

We knew it would be hard going back up to National 2 North and need to put things into perspective. We have now played 4 of the top 6 in our first 6 games back in the league. We have made a good showing of ourselves and although coach Thiu will be licking his wounds, I feel like we have a lot to look forward to when teams around us come up on the fixture list. We need to keep showing that Tigers spirit as we have the skill, talent and team spirit to give anyone a game. I personally am proud of each and every one of you.
Thanks for a great game of rugby, both Sale FC and Tigers rugby.

Scorers:     Tries: Broadley (1), Packard (1), Swatkins (1)
Conversions: Outram (3)
Penalties: Outram (2)

Team: Simmons (Gelsthorpe), Bennett, Wright, Orton, Leeming, Monks (Townsend), Tufail Smith, Walker, Holmes,
Outram (C) (Kelly), Packard, Buchanan (Bowyer), Broadley, Graham (Wallace), Swatkins

Replacements: Gelsthorpe, Townsend,  Bowyer, Kelly, Wallace,

Report: Paul Walker

01/10/16 Tigers 1st XV 24 - 17 Harrogate

No match report.

Scorers:     Tries: Broadley (2), Graham (1)
Conversions: Outram (3)
Penalties: Outram (1)

Team: Hopkins (Cone), Bennett, Simmons, Orton, Leeming, Monks (Townsend), Tufail Smith, Carter, Holmes,
Outram (C), Packard, Buchanan, Broadley (Wallace), Graham, Swatkins

Replacements: Cone, Townsend, Pearson, Bowyer, Wallace