Knaresborough 1st XV 12pts vs Old
Otliensians 1st XV 18 pts
KNARESBOROUGH 12 OTLIENSIANS 1st XV 18
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
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
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.