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HORNSEA 1st XV 23 pts OLD OTLIENSIANS 1st XV 17 pts

Photo Jenny Trelfa

Otliensians left Hornsea on Saturday still trying to come to terms with how they had lost these two league points, after a stirring fightback that on another day would have seen them comfortably home.

The game could best be described as "Three mistakes and a disallowed try.......or three", with the mistakes leading to an early 17 - 3 deficit, and the disallowed tries not leading to the deserved victory.

Hornsea now possess some of the fastest players in League 4, and they tried to utilise this strength early on with sweeping moves, only to be thwarted by good Ensians defence. They also like to run quick tap penalties and from one of these the first Ensians mistake occured, leading to the Hornsea left wing strolling in unopposed. Ensians came back through their driving game and were rewarded with a well struck penalty by Foster, but virtually from the restart the second mistake, a routine missed one on one tackle allowed the Hornsea hooker to scamper in, again unopposed, from fully 30 metres. The third mistake followed a fine Ensians move that went from 22 to 22, through numerous pairs of hands only for the final pass to be dropped 15 metres from the Hornsea line, the wing gleefully scooping up the ball and racing the length of the field, before putting his centre in under the posts.

At 17 - 3 down many teams would have folded, but Ensians began to play their dynamic rucking game, and for the rest of the match battered Hornsea in to a virtual standstill. The away support thought the fightback had begun when skipper Smith rounded off an excellent series of forward and back drives to crash over, the referee ruled otherwise. Next Arbuckle joined the fray, crashing over, no luck, the referee again ruling a scrum for been held up. Third time lucky when Bonner went in close to the uprights, this time the referee signalled the try and with Foster converting, Ensians went in at half time trailing 17 - 10.

At the beginning of the second half Hornsea converted two long range penalties, and then began a series of incidents that conspired to leave the Ensians with that "If Only" feeling. The players making their seasonal debuts, Kear and Allman were leading from the front, driving ferosiously in to the Hornsea team, and from one such drive, Kear scored a deserved try, Foster converting to close the gap to 23 -17.

For the last 15 minutes Hornsea gave away a stream of penalties as they desperately hung on, being submitted to unrelenting pressure, and the Ensians support could not understand the lack of yellow cards for the persistant offences. As time ebbed away the crucial series of plays unfolded five metres out from the Hornsea line, with the home team conceding another four consecutive penalties, two of which were for deliberate knock ons, still no yellow cards, still no penalty try. From the fifth, Birch tapped quickly to feed Smith who scored the try only 10 metres to the left of the posts, but no, unlike the first half the referee called the Ensians back for the penalty to be re taken, and the script was complete.

The relief of the Hornsea players at the end was palpable, the display of the Ensians warranting more than a narrow away defeat.

Ripon 3rd XV 24 pts V Old Otliensians 2nd XV 7 pts

Facing a big pack Otliensians were always struggling to deliver tidy ball from the set scrum but Ben Smith at the front and Joe Robinson in the middle of the linout won a good amount of clean possession. The first half was evenly balanced with the visitors orchestrating some promising moves but without final penetration and defending their line well from Ripon attacks. The only score was a penalty goal fron Ripon.

In the second half a further penalty put Ripon further ahead and they continued to use the policy of rolling substitutes which had not been agreed and transgresses one on the Laws of the game. This meant Ensians had to deal with fresh legs in a pack they could reasonably have expected to tire.

Ripon scored in the corner after 11 mins but then a fine break from centre Rob Gray set up a try for Darren Cooley which Ben Newall did well to convert from wide out. Ripon increased their lead with a futher penalty on 30 mins but the Ensians were still very much in the game although they were trying too hard attacking from positions around their own 25m.

in the last 10 mins a dropped pass led to a forward drive and a converted try from the home side and a similar incident saw Ripon score again from a kick and chase giving them a rather flattering score line.

For the Ensians , Sean Kennedy had a good game at inside centre.