OORUFC 1stXV 15 pts vs Barnsley 22
In comparison to last weeks whirlwind this
match was more akin to a very light squall, with both sides struggling to
produce rugby of the highest quality in the difficult windy conditions, but
in the final analysis it was again two Otliensians mistakes, coupled with
poor decision making that proved to be the key difference.
Otliensians played against the elements in the first half and for the first
ten minutes produced the rugby they are capable of, with all fifteen players
contributing to excellent controlled phases from which the desperate
Barnsley defence were fortunate to escape until the 7th minute, when Bower
made a midfield surge, there followed a series of interpassing with Nick
Keinhorst and Foster prominent before second row Hill charged over on the
left for the 5-0 lead.
Barnsley countered immediately and following aggressive driving by their
outstanding No8, they switched the ball from left to right and swept in at
the right hand corner, the conversion building the 7-5 lead which they were
never to relinquish.
After some uninspiring midfield exchanges Otliensians were awarded a
defensive scrum after 25 minutes on their right some 30 metres from the
line, inexplicable Barnsley took this against the head, the No8 picked,
shrugged off the ineffective tackle and stormed to the line on the left, da
ja vue from the last home game against West Park.
The half was coming to its conclusion, with the home side only trailing by
12-5 with the gale force wind to their backs in the 2nd half, another scrum
was awarded to Otliensians in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, all that was
required was a clean heal, which is what ensued, a pick up and kick to
touch, which somehow failed to materialise, Barnsley turned the ball over
and after more effective hands scored on the right, the successful
conversion gaining a more comfortable 19-5 half time lead, another mistake
The omens were not good when straight from the kick off Otliensians were
brought back to the centre as the wind assisted kick sailed dead, but
learning from that experience did not seem to be the order of the day, the
home side managing the same trick on two more occasions. But all was not
lost as Barnsley pressed a little too hard and after 47 minutes Jon Woods
intercepted to race 75 metres to the posts for Foster to convert and bring
the score to 19-12. However, a ten point margin was restored as Barnsley hit
a successful penalty in to the wind only two minutes later.
What followed can only be described as a comedy of errors from Otliensians,
where the structures and organisation that had been the hallmark last season
seemed to break down under the Barnsley pressure and the need to chase the
game. Simple execution was lost as tapped penalties were taken close to the
home line, instead of 80 metre relieving kicks, scrums near the Barnsley
line were shunned, even though the away side were reduced to 6 in the pack,
following two sin binnings. The litany of errors compounded with only a
penalty after 61 minutes closing the gap to 22-15.
Once again Otliensians had shown they can compete in this division, but once
again the two points slipped through their fingers, when all that was
required was patience, composure and a more defined will to win, based on
the simple playing structures that have been embedded in to the psyche over
the past two seasons - the best is yet to come.
OORUFC 2ndXV 41 pts vs Old Modernians 7
For this Merit Table encounter, ‘Ensians had
newcomer Alex Bearpark in the centre after returning from his 1100 mile
charity bike ride from Barcelona to Leeds and former first XV skipper
Richard Smith stepped in at lock. The diagonal gale force wind made handling
difficult, but ‘Ensians got off to a brisk start with half backs Adrian Carr
and Sean Kennedy getting the backs off the mark in style. After only 3
minutes, winger Darren Cooley found himself with space and scorched 60 yards
down the touchline for a superb try. Matt Tenniswood did well with the
difficult conversion and he landed a penalty two minutes later to take the
score to 10 – 0 to the home side.
The ‘Ensians front row of Scott Child, Steve Robinson and Ben Newall had the
nudge in the scrums and the plentiful supply of ball and quick hands by
centres Bearpark and Mike Fernandino brought another try for Cooley after 20
minutes, Tenniswood converting from wide out. Mods made a dreadful defensive
error with a clearance kick two minutes later and winger Tom Broadbent
gratefully touched down to lift the score to 22 – 0 to the home side.
Mods continued to struggle in the pack and with locks Richard Smith and
Chris Howell putting in some strong drives, play took place for long periods
in the visitors’ half. However, against the run of play, Mods put a good
move together and fine support play produced a converted try on 30 minutes
to make the score 22 – 7. This stirred ‘Ensians into action again and good
inter-passing by the speedy home backs put Cooley in for his hat trick on 32
minutes with Tenniswood converting. Just on half time, No.8 Andy Hayward
showed his pace to go over in the corner taking the score at the break to 34
– 7 to the home side.
With the elements in their favour, Mods set about reducing the deficit with
some lively play by forwards and backs, but the home defence held out with
good tackling by the back row of Dale Kennedy, Hayward and Peter Boultby.
The latter moved to scrum half following an injury to Aiden Carr and Richard
Gill came on to fill the gap. The visitors continued to press and good
defence by wingers Tom Broadbent and Darren Cooley along with full back
Tenniswood kept the line clear. On 60 minutes, after good backing up,
Richard Gill went over and Tenniswood converted to take the score to 41 – 7
to ‘Ensians. For the last 20 minutes, Modernians mounted numerous attacks,
but good defence by the home forwards and backs prevailed.
In difficult conditions, this was an all round competent display by ‘Ensians
against a Mods side who never gave up.
THIRSK 5 - OLD OTLIENSIANS B 17
For their first visit to Thirsk, the ‘Ensians
front row was strengthened by former 1st XV hooker Andy Rockett, but there
was disappointment as the referee announced that Thirsk could not raise a
front row and that there would be uncontested scrums from the outset. The
visitors elected to play into a strong wind and as Thirsk launched a series
of arracks, wingers Liam Copping, Sam Tetley and full back Sean Flesher were
called on to make tackles galore and to field long kicks down the field. As
‘Ensians steadied themselves, a loose pass was snapped up by the opposition
flanker who raced over from 20 yards after 8 minutes.
Although the conversion failed, ‘Ensians had to buckle down to some resolute
defence with half backs Peter Tempest and Will Haines working hard alongside
centres Hugh Gumbs and Tom O’Donnell. At this stage, the visiting pack began
to assert itself with strong drives from the front row of Lee Paley, Rockett
and Dave Beardsley and locks Andy Wood and Ray Drake were there in support.
In the middle of the field, Gumbs was creating havoc with his driving runs
taking several defenders to pull him down. Winger Liam Copping was pulled
down a yard short and with the wind making handling difficult, spilled ball
spoiled two other opportunities.
The stalemate was broken when Gumbs made one of his trademark drives fifteen
yards out and offloaded to O’Donnell who went over under the posts on 30
minutes. The conversion by Haines gave the visitors a slender 7 – 5 lead.
Thirsk continued to attack using the gale-force wind to good effect, but
stout defence kept them out until half time.
After the break it was ‘Ensians turn to use the elements and as they camped
in the opposition 22, quick ball from Tempest and Haines put Gumbs away on
one of his rampaging runs to force his way over half way out. Haines’
conversion lifted the score to 14 – 5 in ‘Ensians’ favour after 49 minutes.
This was followed by a long-range Haines penalty 5 minutes later to take the
score to 17 – 5. Things looked set for a higher score with Alan Garnett
producing good lineout ball, but the lively home pack began to exploit the
referee’s tolerance of strange things in and around the rucks. The result
was that promising ‘Ensian attacks were stifled when play broke down and
Thirsk were always quick to counter attack.
As the visitors found themselves defending their line, winger Sam Tetley had
to leave the field with a shoulder injury on 62 minutes and with no
replacement, ‘Ensians faced the last period with fourteen men against a
Thirsk side growing in confidence. The back row of Mark Copping, Alan
Garnett and Ben Tetley put in some stirring defensive work and the whole
side got stuck in as Thirsk mounted attack after attack. The line was not
breached and the final score of 17 – 5 to ‘Ensians was just reward for a
spirited performance against a lively young side which never gave up.