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OLD OTLIENSIANS 17 – HESSLE 18

In this match against their old rivals from Hull, ‘Ensians hoped to pull off an overdue win and they came within a cat’s whisker of doing so. The visitors started strongly taking play into the home 22, but with shrewd kicking by fly half Will Foster along with some lively play by centres John Ratahi and Carlos Hassan soon found Hessle under pressure. When they infringed, Foster converted a penalty to establish a 3 – 0 lead on 10 minutes.

The home scrum was always struggling against a heavier pack, but flanker Sam Featherstone and No. 8 Alan Garnett were obtaining a good supply of ball from the lineout. A well-controlled trundling maul by Hessle took play into the ‘Ensians half and quick hands produced a try in the corner to give the visitors a 5 – 3 lead on 15 minutes.

Home half backs Rob Lofthouse and Will Foster launched a series of attacks and, after Ratahi and centre Hassan had come close, winger Toby Gillatt received the ball in space and eluded two defenders to go over wide out. Foster’s conversion gave the hosts a 10 – 5 lead on 25 minutes.

Hessle backs were soon on the attack and good backing up and a hesitant home defence saw them score under the posts to regain the lead at 12 – 10 on 35 minutes. To rub salt into the wound, the visiting fly half then dropped a goal on the stroke of half time to stretch their lead to 15 – 10.

In the second half Hessle continued to attack, but stalwart tackling by the home back row of Sam Featherstone, Alan Garnett and Dale Kennedy halted several dangerous-looking moves. On 45 minutes the hosts strayed offside and the penalty increased Hessle’s lead to 18 – 10 on 45 minutes.

For the home side, Sean Kennedy replaced the injured John Ratahi in the centre and then promptly helped to make inroads into Hessle territory. From 20 yards out, Foster received quick ball from a ruck and proceeded to weave his way through the opposition defence for a fine try under the posts on 50 minutes to reduce the deficit to 18 – 17 to the visitors.

Sniffing victory, ‘Ensians continued to move the ball wide with Hassan and Kennedy putting wingers Gillatt and Nick Keinhorst away, but the visitors’ defence managed to scramble across. Foster made another good break, but the offload near the posts went to ground.

Hessle were far from finished and began to dominate the scrums with clean possession allowing their back division to develop confidence. On 65 minutes they missed with a long-range penalty and then raking kicks by Foster and full back Kristian Keinhorst pushed the visitors back into their 22. Locks Andy Bower and Ross Nichols put in some powerful drives, but promising home moves too often broke down when passes went astray or ball was spilled.

In the closing minutes Peter Tempest came on for the injured Gillatt as both sides tried to set up attacking positions. Hessle used their quality scrum ball to gain territory and when the hosts were penalised for not releasing, they missed a fairly easy penalty, but jumped for joy as the final whistle went.

‘ Ensians showed plenty of enterprise in this close encounter, but, despite a spirited display, turnover ball and occasional wrong options prevented them from tipping the scales.

 

appleyr@btconnect.com