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Knaresborough 1st XV 12pts vs Old Otliensians 1st XV 18 pts


In a hard fought league game on Saturday, Otliensians returned to winning ways with an outstanding performance, ending Knaresborough's unbeaten start to the season, and becoming the first team to down their colours at home for 18 months. It is with eager anticipation that the Ensians wait to see if any other side will achieve this feat, as the big Knaresborough pack are very adept at using the home conditions to their considerable advantage, having years of experience using their driving game plan down the considerable gradient.

Knaresborough had first use of the slope, and attacked through their pack from the start, but again the defensive organisation and commitment of the whole Ensians team was exemplary, with forwards and backs alike stepping in to the fray with great relish. After one such driving tackle the unfortunate Hanogue was sin binned for not rolling away, and the Ensians lost a quick try in the following close quarter maul. The Knaresborough forwards were sticking rigidly to their game plan, but the Ensians seven, marshalled by Duggan were repelling them at every turn, with pressure being relieved by the excellent work of Kristian Keinhorst, Foster and Ratahi who were running the ball back up the hill with increasing authority. The reward came with a well struck penalty by Foster. With 23 minutes of the half elapsed, a Knaresborough scrum 5 metres out was formed, the ball came back out of the Knaresborough pack without any control, but the Ensians jinx once again surfaced with the referee awarding a penalty try, and placing Markus Keinhorst in to the sin bin for "kicking the ball through". Reduced to 13 men a lesser team than the Ensians would have found it impossible to contain the powerful Knaresborough eight, but not only did they contain them with props Cook and Bonner to the fore, they took the game to them and the momentum of the game changed, with Tom Woods leading the way with several muscular charges.

A half time score of 12 - 3 didn't seem to be enough, and the Ensians turned round to play some of their best rugby of the season, constantly winning the forward exchanges, and showing real flair, pace and power in the back division, who were running their Knaresborough counterparts ragged.

As the Knaresborough pack came under increasing pressure, and after several warnings the home Skipper was sin binned for killing the ball, unlike in the first half the Knaresborough team could not rise to the challenge as the Ensians patterns of play and superior fitness began to dominate. After three forward surges, Bonner crashed over, and with Foster converting the score was down to 12 -10, it was now only a matter of time and with Tenniswood winning the line out battle and Hanogue winning the battle on the ground, it was left to Markus Keinhorst to storm over, beating three defenders in the process to secure the lead.

Foster completed the scoring with a further excellent penalty, and the travelling band of supporters left in the knowledge that this Ensians team is up for the season long challenge.



Garforth 2nd XV 22 pts v Otliensians 2nd XV 22 pts

With a backword from their arranged fixture on Friday, the Ensians picked up Garforth in the pool. The early exchanges were quite even but on 5 mins the Garforth No.5 crashed over after evading the defence to score.

The Ensians were winning some good ball from the lineout via Dale Kennedy and this was spread wide across the field. Centres Jason Babb and Sean Kennedy did a switch move and Babb scored for Ben Newall to convert. The Ensians remained on top for the rest of the first half but some poor passing and dropped ball wasted several chances and they only had a penalty to show for their efforts to give them a 10 - 5 pts lead at the break.

Ensians gradually re-established superiority in the second half . A ball was well won in midfield following a kick through from Nick Smith at fullback. Darren Hall at scrum half fed hooker James Kear who enabled Babb to score his second try wide out which Newall again converted. Shortly after Hall got over the Garforth line but lost the ball in the tackle but the visitors soon went further ahead after John Saunders stole the ball from a lineout and went over from 15m.

Garforth had to re-organise and the game went to uncontested scrums which disturbed the Ensians momentum, and Garforth hit back with two tries within 10 mins. After 35 mins they scored again in the corner and just before the final whistle the Ensians were unlucky to lose the ball in a high tackle in the in-goal area.

This was a good team effort from the Ensians but the game could have been won if pressure had been maintained in the later stages. Alan Harker led the pack well and skipper Chris Myers was a source of inspiration in the pack where Dale Kennedy was named man of the match. There were also good contributions from Saunders and Andy Allman.

OTLIENSIANS 3rd XV 17 pts - Knaresborough 2nd XV 17 pts

The mid week doubts about a mismatch of the sides were soon dispelled as both sides were clearly of a similar standard and they produced a super game of rugby for this level.Alan Garnett soon began to win some really first class lineout ball and the Ensians backs showed promise with centre Andy Bower prominent. From one good move Skipper and centre Jim McConnell scored for stand off Will Haines to convert. The Knaresborough backs soon showed good handling skills and from a quickly taken tap penalty near the home side 22m they scored wide out. Ensians began to find gaps in the visitors defence but promising moves came to nought due to lack of support. The visitors on the other hand created several opportunities to score from their well supported play but were thwarted by the good defence of the home side and Ensians held a narrow 7 - 5 pts lead at the break.

Early in the second half an excellent break by centre Till Leccisotti put fullback Sean Fletcher in from 20m. The game moved from one end of the field to the other as both sides worked hard to play attractive rugby and gain the upper hand. Mid way through the half Knaresborough broke away to score a converted try and draw level but shortly afterwards Peter Gillson returning to Otliensians colours after a mini-retirement, showed some of his old class if not quite the pace to break away from the back row of the scrum, evade several opponents and score wide out. The visitors were not finished and scored an unconverted try on the final whistle to level the scores. The teams were grateful to Derek Smith who stepped in as referee after the appointed ref failed to arrive.

Report supplied by Adrian Normanton.