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The New Year was brought in in emphatic style as Ensians secured their 11th win of the league campaign, ensuring there was no Festive cheer left over for a Wetherby side who are capable of upsetting the odds against any team in the division.

The game opened with the Ensians forcing Wetherby on to the back foot with a series of forward drives and incisive running by the ever dangerous back division. Unfortunately, although Ensians were much quicker to the ball they were been constantly penalised as their second and third man was adjudged to be handling, even thouigh they were still on their feet. However, excellent communication by the referee at half time enabled the Ensians forwards to fully remedy the situation in the second half, but this was not before
Wetherby had taken a 6 - 0 lead after 12 minutes.

The Ensians forwards were beginning to dominate, their more dynamic approach proving difficult for Wetherby to cope with, aggression was matched with aggression, and after a break down in midfield Ratahi snapped up the interception to set the Ensians backs on a superb bout of inter passing, culminating in Ratahi supporting and diving over after 22 minutes in the right hand corner.

5 minutes later backs and forwards combined in a sweeping 60 metre move, Bonner to the fore, with the Keinhorst brothers exchanging the last 4 passes for Markus to touch down, the try was converted by Foster for a 12 - 6 lead. Wetherby came back with a series of punishing drives, culminating in a five metre scrum, from which they scored on the stroke of half time, when Smith was off the field for a nasty cut to the face, leaving the half time score at 13 - 12 in Wetherbys favour.

The second half began as the first, with Ensians dominating possession, pressurising the defence at all turns, leading to two successful Foster penalties within the first 5 minutes. The excellent continuity continued with first Jon Woods cleverly sprinting down the touchline, then chipping the defence for a close call, and then his brother Tom winning clean line out ball with Birch setting his backs off on a classic move, Ratahi and Foster as decoys, and Tenniswood feeding Philpott who was tackled just short.

The dye was cast, and waves of Ensians attacks were raining down on the Wetherby ranks, with Duggan, O'Donnell, Hanogue, Keinhorst and Arbuckle, supplementing the intimidating Bonner to provide quick ball for the incisive Ensians backs, leading to Foster touching down in the left corner after 65 minutes.

The phase play continued, and it was left for skipper Smith to score the 4th try, crowning a well constructed victory and consolidating Ensians league position at the beginning of 2007.

On a sad note, the match on Saturday was dedicated by the players to the memory of Jimmy Timms, and as a mark of respect each of the 1st XV took to the field wearing one black sock as part of their kit. The game was watched by Jimmy's family who had made the long trip over from New Zealand, and our thoughts go out to them as we wish everyone a safe journey back to New Zealand, where Jimmy will be laid to rest in peace at home.

OORUFC  2nd XV vs Wetherby 2nd XV

see photos of the game here!

Wetherby kicked off and were soon on the atttack but Otliensians soon showed the confidence to play their open game running the ball from deep defensive with forwards and backs linking well. After 3 mins right wing Steve Lofthouse picked up a kick ahead and ran from inside his own half almost making the try line but hooker James Kear was up in support to take the pass and score. After 10 mins the pack won good ball from a scrum on half way,

Brett Tenniswood at scrum half quickly transferred the ball to No 10 Phil Purnell and with the opposition up really flat put in a smart grubber kick, followed this up with a tap ahead down field and Ben Smith of several people backing up well picked up and scored wide out after good advantage had been played by the referee.

Wetherby began to disrupt the Ensians scrum and to develop some moves of their own and hit back strongly but good tackling from the home side disrupted their attempts and gradually Ensians picked up the pace again with some good moves with forwards and backs linking well.Ben Smith and Skipper Andy Bower were winning good lineout ball and on 22 mins, Purnell went on a dummy run fed Tom O'Donnell who ran straight and powerfully before releasing and Dave Smith from fullback made the extra man to score.

Support work from the home side was really first class and the visitors just had no answer. Just before the break and with a 15 pt lead Dale Kennedy, who had played well on the right wing was replaced by brother Sean.

Wetherby were soon on the attack in the second half and Ensians took a little time to work up the tempo but a good sweeping move saw Lofthouse make ground down the left which resulted in a try for Ben Smith.Directly from the kick off Dave Smith took the ball at pace and burst through a group of Wetherby players . Good ball transfer and support again resulted in a try this time for Joe Robinson after 11 mins into the second half with Ben Newall converting.

Wetherby were far from finished and hit back strongly scoring in the corner after 18 mins. Otliensians went into cruise mode doing enough in defence to just prevent the visitors scoring. Eventually they woke up and in the last few minutes a good sweeping move saw Joe Robinson score his second try.

A really good team effort from the second team to start the New Year.


OORUFC 3rd XV 15 pts vs Airebronians 3rd XV 6 pts

see photos of the game here!

For this local Derby, ‘Ensians welcomed back veteran flanker Richard Crossley for his first outing of the season. He deputised at scrum half with the experienced Peter Gilson moving into the fly half position.

From the whistle, it was clear that both sides were keen to spread the ball wide with both sets of backs producing promising moves. In the scrums, the home side front row of Dave Beardsley, Steve Robinson and Tom Twist had the edge and the clean ball produced enabled half backs Crossley and Gilson to give centres Andy Hayward and Brad Young chance to show their paces.

Play remained evenly balanced for twenty five minutes until the first scoring opportunity came by way of a penalty to put Aireborough three points ahead. Keen to build on this narrow lead, the visitors’ backs ran the ball at every opportunity, but strong tackling by the ‘Ensians back row of John Offer, Alan Garnett and Ray Drake snuffed out threatening moves. On two occasions full back Sean Flesher had to make last-ditch tackles to prevent a score. With half time beckoning, the home side transgressed and a second Aireborough penalty gave them a six point advantage.

Flanker John Offer was replaced by Johnny Saunders at the break and ‘Ensians set off at a cracking pace with strong runs by Tom Twist, Dave Beardsley and Andy Wood. Alan Garnett was producing clean ball from the lineout and the home backs began to pressure the opposition line. The home pack was now in the ascendancy and a strong drive from ten yards out produced a series of rucks. First Richard Crossley went close and then Peter Gilson dummied his way over for a try. The conversion failed, to leave the home side trailing by 5 points to 6.

Aireborough rallied and only strong defence by centres Hayward and Young and wingers Darren Hamilton and Dan Garnett kept them at bay. However, with ‘Ensians producing quality ball from rucks and set pieces, fly half Peter Gilson gained valuable ground with long searching kicks. The visitors infringed and prop Tom Twist stepped-up to convert a penalty to give ‘Ensians a narrow two point lead.

Both sides continued to play good open rugby, but Aireborough were having increasing difficulty coping with the ‘Ensians pack. Good drives from Dave Beardsley, Richard Wardak and replacement flanker Alan Harker were stopped on the line. From a resultant scrum, the ‘Ensians pack drove strongly towards the line only for Aireborough to cause a collapse. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try and prop Tom Twist calmly converted with a drop goal to give the home side a 15 points to 6 advantage.

Encouragingly, skipper Jim McDougall came on for the last ten minutes making his first appearance since injury last October. He and his team mates mounted a strong defence for the last few minutes as the visitors threw everything into attack. A further score never came and ‘Ensians were very satisfied with a 15 – 6 victory against their old opponents in a good-spirited game with both sides playing some excellent rugby.

On Saturday Otliensians are scheduled to play Old Modernians at all levels, the 1st & 3rd XV being away from home.