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Otliensians welcomed Hullensians to Chaffers Field on Saturday for the top of the table clash between these two undefeated teams, and it was the Hull side who returned home victorious at the end of a somewhat disappointing contest, where no structure or continuity was achieved due to the high penalty count, and the regular disruptions of players leaving the field for a series of innocuous offences, that both sets of players and spectators found bemusing to say the least.

The game started at a high tempo, with the Hull side attacking through their forwards, keeping the ball close to the ruck and mauls, but finding no space in the well organised Ensians defence, which began to dominate the often predictable and limited game plan, to such an extent that the Hull side were happy to try drop goals, one of which was successful to go in to a 3 point lead.

Ensians came storming back, but with the Hull open side continually on the wrong side of the rucks, playing the referee perfectly, frustration began to creep in to the Ensians play, and with it the continuity of the previous 3 weeks was difficult to establish, with Ensians having to settle for a Foster penalty to tie the scores at half time. The most memorable feature of a tense first half was the continuing shrill blasts of the whistle, coupled with the steady stream of players from both sides being sin binned for offences that remained a mystery to everyone concerned.

Within 30 seconds of the restart two more players were sin binned, with Skipper Smith asked to leave the field for having taken a vicious punch to the nose, the confusion and frustration were mounting. The pivotal moment in the game came with 12 minutes of the second half gone as Ensians were beginning to establish themselves in Hull territory with a series of well executed pick and drives, which were once again illegally stopped by the Hull players on the wrong side of the ruck. To the joy of the Ensians faithful, the merry whistle blower at last blew for an Ensians penalty, but immediately to their utter astonishment, this was reversed and a red card given to home No 8 Duggan who was adjudged to have rucked the already penalised player too vigorously.

From this moment the strong Hull pack began to exert increasing pressure against the gallant Ensians seven, and with the cultured left boot of the experienced centre keeping play behind the Ensians it was fast becoming a dogged rear guard action to try and salvage something from the game. From one such kick, resulting from another penalty, the Hull side gained a 5 metre line out, once again setting up their rolling maul, with the Ensians pack as usual responding by fiercely protecting their lines, a second Hull wave joined the maul, and the Hull pack drove over with numerous Ensians bodies underneath. The whistle blew and the Ensians crowd cheered at the thought of another attack that had been repelled, and looking forward to a further 5 metre scrum, but the referee deemed otherwise and awarded a try to the visitors wide out on the left, he then inexplicably ran between the posts for the conversion, the confusion and frustration were complete.

In a game where the tension of the occasion seemed to get the better of both sides, Hullensians deserved their win because their more experienced players knew how to exploit and play the situation much better than their younger Ensians counterparts, a lesson well learned and one that will help the Ensians over the rest of the season.

Report supplied by the coach, Gary Walker.


Roundhegians 3rd XV  41 pts vs Old Otliensians 2nd XV 17 pts

‘Ensians 2nd’s travelled to Roundhegians for their first merit table game of the season with high expectations following their good performance the previous week against neighbours Ilkley. However they found themselves 7-0 down within two minutes following a missed touch kick which allowed Roundhegians to score near the posts.

Ensians got into their stride five minutes later when, after a break by Gray, Ollie Richards showed a great turn of speed to run half the length of the field to score. Although Roundhegians again increased their lead to 7 points Ollie Richards again showed his speed to score his second try and level the scores at 12-12. However the larger and more experienced Roundhegians forwards were now beginning to have a major influence on the game and shortly before half time Roundheians once again took the lead with a short range try following a series of driving rucks and mauls.

Roundhegian’s forward dominance continued in the second half with two further tries before Rob Gray reduced the arrears to 17-29. However Ensians conceded a further two tries in the last 5 minutes to make the final score 17-41.

The whole team never gave up and showed great heart. Tom O’Donnell and Andy Bower were outstanding in the forwards and Dave Beardsley's recent  work in training paid dividends when he showed great pace to stop the opposition scrum half from scoring an almost certain try.


Yarnbury 3rd XV 52pts v Otliensians 3rd XV 7 pts

After a delayed start awaiting a referee, the Ensians played up the slope and gave a much improved performance compared with the previous week. The ball from the scrums was better controlled and the work on the lineout on practice nights began to pay off.

Support work was also improved and a score from centre Jason Babb, who had a good all-round game kept the visitors in the game up to halftime when the score was 12 - 7 pts.
The second half was a different story; the Ensians had two bad periods and fitness of the home side told as they overran the vistors defence.
Wing Darren Hamilton , Ross Myers at hooker and flanker John Broadbent, who came on as replacement early in the second half, all had good games in what was a spirited display by the Ensians.

On Saturday the 1st XV have a League game at newly promoted Knaresborough.
The 2nd XV are scheduled to play at Otley 4thXV and the 4th at home to Knaresborough.