OLD OTLIENSIANS A 19 – AIREBOROUGH A 31
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On a day when few games
were played locally due to frost, grounds man Roger Whitworth’s
well-grassed pitch provided a sound playing surface for a very
entertaining afternoon. With Aireborough fielding Indonesian international
fly half, Kirk Arundale, recently arrived from Ilkley, the visiting backs
attacked at tremendous pace from the off. The home defence was struggling
and panicky and on 5 minutes, the Aireborough backs broke through to score
Sloppy passing by ‘Ensians in mid-field saw loose ball moved swiftly by
the visiting backs to set up the second try near the posts and the
conversion put the hosts 12 – 0 after 10 minutes. ‘Ensians were having
problems coping with the pace of the game and their scrum was having hard
time against the heavier visiting pack. With a stream of quality
possession coming their way, the Aireborough half backs were bossing the
game and on 15 minutes a well-worked try under the posts took the score to
19 – 0 to the visitors’ advantage.
‘Ensians were gradually settling down and they were able to move play
downfield through good drives from props Chris Myers and son Ross. From a
ruck in the Aireborough half, home centre Andy Hayward cut through in
style to go over near the posts. The conversion by fly half Matt
Tenniswood moved the score to a more respectable 19 – 7 to the visitors on
‘Ensians were coming more into the game through good lineout work from No.
8 Alan Garnett and lock Ben Smith, but every time Aireborough gained
possession through indifferent kicks or spilled ball, the visiting half
backs were off like a flash with Arundale showing his wide range of
skills. On 27 minutes, good interplay by the visiting forwards and backs
produced a try under the posts to lift the score to 26 – 7 in their
Territorially things were improving for the hosts and lock Ben Smith made
a good fifty-yard break only to be hauled down three yards from the line.
Centre Steve Grundy also had a mazy run down the middle before the cover
caught him. ‘Ensians kept up the pressure through good foraging by the
back row of Richard Crossley, Alan Garnett and Dale Kennedy and when a
penalty was awarded against the visitors, scrum half Brett Tenniswood
tapped and darted over before the opposition had realised what was
As half time approached, the score was now 26 – 12 in Aireborough’s
favour, but again indifferent tackling let them in for another try in the
corner to take the score to 31 – 12 at the break.
For the second period ‘Ensians introduced more timber into the second row
in the form of Matt Taylor and Andy Bower. Rob Lyon joined the front row.
Lock Sam Gray and Peter Gillson deputised in the centre and at scrum half
respectively for the injured Hayward and Brett Tenniswood. Aireborough
dominated the first fifteen minutes of the half, but stalwart defence by
centres Gray and Grundy snuffed out several threatening moves. The back
three of Nick Keinhorst, Sean Flesher and Dan Ball pulled off several
crucial tackles and did well when tidying up kicks through.
The added weight and power of Taylor and Bower began to tell in the
forwards and they were at the forefront of several strong drives. With a
steadier scrum, Gillson and Matt Tenniswood managed to get their backs
moving, but in-your-face defence by the visitors made progress difficult
and counter-attacks with Arundale at the helm, always looked dangerous.
With the home pack now exerting more pressure, the supply of clean quality
ball for the visitors reduced and the hosts were able to camp in the
Aireborough 22 for long spells. The defence held out until 72 minutes when
quick ball from a ruck put fly half Matt Tenniswood over wide out. He
converted his own try to make the score 31 – 19 to Aireborough and with
seven minutes to go, there was just an outside chance the tables might by
Aireborough had different ideas and once again the sharpness of the
visiting half backs ensured that loose ball was tidied up and cleared and
play remained evenly balanced up to the final whistle.
This was a fast and entertaining game played in an excellent spirit.
Aireborough came out on top through their robust pack and their lively
backs, with Arundale directing operations. For their part, ‘Ensians had
difficulty coping with the speed of the game in the first period and their
progress was hampered by far too many handling mistakes. Things picked up
for the home side in the second half, but the sound Aireborough defence
managed to cope.