Hayes leaves Orrell in the wilderness

Orrell 7 Worcester 15
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The Independent Online

Orrell, Orrell, where art thou Orrell? Or perhaps that should be: Where hast thou been Orrell? Cast into the wilderness seven years ago is the answer.

Orrell were the North's most popular club when Sammy Southern, Simon Langford, Bob Kimmins and Peter Williams helped rule the roost here. Those times may have long gone, with a clubhouse destroyed by fire, a period in administration and even, perish the memory, a season in National League Two having passed since the famous Lancashire club were in the top flight.

This was the day of all days to catapult them back to the Premiership by defeating the league leaders and perennial promotion hunters, Worcester.

Orrell should have been ahead within two minutes, but Leigh Hinton's penalty from 45 metres did not make the required distance. From shorter range Tommy Hayes was on target with his first sight of goal to kick a penalty, giving Worcester the lead.

With a second chance of putting some daylight between themselves and Worcester, who were growing in confidence by the minute, Wade Kelly's clever chip was gathered by Andy Craig, but the Scotland centre ran out of gas and Chris Garrard got across from the other wing to make a try-saving tackle.

Orrell had their moments, but so did Hayes. Two more penalties by the Cook Islander, the first when Nick Easter fell offside, the second when Wade Kelly was penalised for not releasing, and Worcester had their tails up at 9-0.

Whenever Orrell managed to find themselves in a decent field position they squandered the opportunity it presented. Worcester were winning most of the 50-50 ball, the line-out was being dominated by Craig Gillies and the home side were looking for inspiration. They never found it.

James Brown, who had replaced Hayes, banged over Worcester's fourth penalty within three minutes of the restart and Orrell were all but gone; though not entirely.

The Lancastrians spent a long time camped in Worcester's half without suggesting they were capable of scoring a try, then came one good enough to grace any game. Hinton set the move in motion close to the home line and Rod Penney raced 80 metres, leaving a trail of defenders in his slipstream. Hinton converted and Orrell were briefly back in business.

But, like so much else they had attempted, it was not to last and Brown's second penalty has probably consigned them to yet another year in rugby's wilderness.

Orrell: L Hinton; R Wilding, R Penney (D Slemen, 77), W Kelly, A Craig; S Barrow (Penney, 82), S So'oialo (G Cattle, 56); S Emms (A Livesey, 82), N McCarthy, S Barretto, D Cook, O Palepoi (A Bennet, 77), A Too'ala, B Hewitt, N Easter.

Worcester: T Hayes (W Davies, 42); D O'Leary, B Hinshelwood, G Trueman, C Garrard; J Brown, W Swanepoel (M Powell, 48); T Windo (C Fortey, 82), B Daly, N Lyman, M Gabey (D Zaltzman, 85), C Gillies, C Evans (R Earnshaw 52), G Pfister, D Hickey.

Referee: A Rowden (Thatcham, Berks).