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OLD OTLIENSIANS A 18 – HUDDERSFIELD B 18

After suffering an early-season defeat in the away match, ‘Ensians knew they would be up against a strong side with a big, experienced pack. From the start, the visiting forwards dominated the scrums giving their backs plenty of opportunities and causing problems with untidy ball for home half backs Pete Boultby and Kristian Keinhorst. A good move gave Huddersfield a try after only 4 minutes, but ‘Ensians hit back almost at once with centres Andy Hayward and John Ratahi finding gaps in the opposition defence. Slick passing put winger Nick Keinhorst away for his first try on 8 minutes.

With the score at 5 apiece play remained fairly even with both sides having chances, but it was Nick Keinhorst who beat two defenders and used his pace to score his second try on 23 minutes. In the difficult wind, the conversion attempt failed, but the home side had a slender lead at 10 – 5. With Huddersfield dominating possession, they used their plentiful supply of ball to drive over as half time approached to level the scores at 10 – 10.

After the break, Huddersfield struggled to make headway against the elements, but the supply of quality ball meant they were always a threat. Good drives by locks Andy Wood and James Duggan and props Chris Myers and Tom Twist took play into the visitors’ half and slick handling put winger Nick Keinhorst into space to round the cover for his hat trick on 56 minutes to take the lead at 15 - 10. Fortunately for the home side, the Huddersfield backs failed to make good use of the plentiful supply of ball from their powerful pack and several promising moves came unstuck due to poor handling. With ‘Ensians working hard to stifle attacks, a penalty was conceded and this was followed soon afterwards by a try from Huddersfield on 66 minutes. Although the conversion failed, this gave the visitors an 18 – 15 lead as the end of the match drew closer.

In the final minutes, the visitors battled valiantly to defend their line as the ‘Ensians backs launched attack after attack to try and snatch back the lead. With the final whistle imminent, Huddersfield offended and full back Matt Tenniswood slotted over the penalty on 80 minutes to draw the match. This close-fought enthralling game was dominated by the ageing but experienced visiting pack and the lively ‘Ensians backs did well to make the most of a limited amount of possession
 

OLD OTLIENSIANS B 27 - WHARFEDALE 5ths 15

On a sunny afternoon with a brisk cross-field wind, ‘Ensians faced up to a strong, experienced Wharfedale pack which dominated the scrums from the start. Fortunately for the home side, 1st XV flanker Tom O’Donnell, making a rare appearance after a long spell of injury, had an outstanding game and troubled the opposition throughout with some powerful runs and crunching tackles. Both sides tried to spread the ball wide and centres Graham Bentley and Lee O’Donnell managed to find gaps in the Wharfedale defence only to be thwarted by the cover. On 15 minutes, good interplay between forwards and backs saw lock Sam Gray make a strong diagonal run from the visitors’ 22 to score halfway out, the conversion failed.

Wharfedale responded with some robust forward play and set up camp in ‘Ensians half. With untidy ball; from the scrums, home half backs Brett Tenniswood and Jonathan Woods had their work cut out to clear the line and a good counter-attack by Wharfedale produced a try under the posts. The conversion gave them a slender 7 – 5 lead on 22 minutes. Otliensians responded at once with a telling break by Bentley who offloaded to fellow centre Lee O’Donnell who carved his way through on 24 minutes. With good lineout ball from Alan Garnett and Sam Gray, the home backs continued to mount a series of attacks and young winger Ben Harlow used his pace to round the cover and score out wide on 32 minutes. This gave ‘Ensians a 15 – 7 lead coming up to the break.

In the second half, prop Rob Grey suffered a further injury and had to leave the field. With no ‘Ensian front row replacement, uncontested scrums were beckoning, but Wharfedale sportingly loaned a prop from their bench to fill the gap. The early exchanges favoured Wharfedale and their strong pack tested the home defence. The back row of Mike Ferandino, Alan Garnett and Tom O’Donnell had to work hard to keep the line clear. An infringement gave the visitors a penalty on 68 minutes and, with the score at 15 – 10, Wharfedale threw everything into attack for the next five minutes, trying to snatch the lead. Good defence by the back three of Richard Cuff, Sean Flesher and Ben Harlow snuffed out several dangerous moves, but the home side was under the cosh. Relief came in the form of Tom O’Donnnell who scooped up a loose ball on half way and blasted his way past several defenders to score under the posts. The conversion by Ben Newall took the score to a more comfortable 22- 10 on 73 minutes.

With their confidence restored, ‘Ensians began to move the ball wide and a thrusting run from Woods set up Lee O’Donnell for his second try. The visitors came straight back with a clever blind-side move to score in the corner to take the final score to 27 – 15. In a game where both sides played lively rugby, the outcome of this entertaining encounter was in doubt until ten minutes from the end when tries from the O’Donnell brothers clinched a hard-earned victory.

The 1st XV did not have a match last Saturday, but resume League action at home to local rivals Roundhegians next Saturday in a crucial "relegation-zone" encounter.
 

Reports supplied by John Harrison

 

appleyr@bigfoot.com