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Old Otliensians 1st XV 15pts vs Knaresborough 1st XV 23pts

  2007.02.17 Knaresborough 084

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After 16 games as league leaders Otliensians relinquised the top spot on Saturday with their worst performance of the season, and now need to rely on other results to go their way over the last 5 league games if they are to claim one of the promotion places.

Knaresborough possess an old fashioned pack of forwards, who are very robust and commited, and play a limited game plan, utilising their equally robust fly half as the pivot, and after 3 minutes of non-tackling by the Otliensians forwards barged their way over for the first try, with an excellent conversion from the touch line. After 8 minutes and with Otliensians still not been at the game, Knaresborough converted a penalty to take a 10 - 0 lead. The pattern continued throughout the first half with Knaresborough using their superior weight to score from a rolling maul, and with their reliable goal kicker adding the conversion and a penalty went in to half time with a 20 - 0 lead, and the advantage of Otliensians being down to 13 players with two in the sin bin as frustration mounted.

Otliensians possessed the skill levels to have won this game handsomely, and the supporters felt they had been woken from their slumber when within a minute of the restart the 13 Otliensians players produced a sweeping 80 metre passage of play to put Matt Tenniswood over in the corner. But the pivotal moments of the game were to follow when another series of decisions went against the Otliensians team, firstly a Knareborough player took the Otliensians kicker out off the ball, a penalty was awarded, but unlike the first half where the referee had immediately sin binned Bonner for a much less innocuous incident, he chose not to be consistent. In the 14th minute of the half, the Knaresborough skipper, who was enjoying a great game, pulled Tom Woods down in the line out for the third time, the referee took him to one side, began to pull out the yellow card, but inexplicably put it back in his pocket to the obvious distress of the Otliensians contingent. In the 18th minute after Knaresborough had given away 4 consecutive penalties less than 5 metres from their line, the omens said this was not going to be Otliensians day, as the offical decided to take no action, instead penalising the home team for their protest at the persistent offences. From this relieving kick Knaresborough made there only foray in to home territory in the whole half, and were rewarded with a penalty after 22 minutes.

Otliensians were again awoken and Birch scored a try directly from the kick off in the left hand corner, but after this Otliensians self destructed, creating 8 clear cut chances, but spurning each one with execution that was at best poor, until 8 minutes from time they managed to work Birch over for his second try.

The last frenetic minutes followed the same pattern, Otliensians camped on the Knaresborough line, when the final act epitomised their day, a 4 to 1 overlap against the admirable Knareborough prop forward, who just tracked the 4 Otliensians players across the field and in to touch.

Anyone watching would have been hard pressed to distinguish the table toppers from the two teams on display, with Knaresborough showing the greater will to win, and reaping the reward of a well deserved 2 points.


‘Ensians arrived at Knaresborough to be greeted with a pitch still suffering from the effects of recent heavy rain with quagmires in each 22 area. Skipper Jim McDougall filled the fly half berth in place of injured Will Haines and centre Sean Kennedy took over at scrum half.

The home side kicked off and were stunned when Kennedy caught the ball and set off on a sparkling sixty yard run to take play up to the ‘Boro line. There was an infringement and within a minute McDougall had put the visitors 3 points up. Knaresborough responded quickly through their big pack and five minutes later drove over for a try wide out.

With the slope in their favour, ‘Ensians ventured deep in to opposition territory through good work from forwards Dave Beardsley, John Broadbent and Richard Wardak. Good lineout ball from Alan Garnett and Alan Harker enabled centres Andy Wood and Brad Young to make powerful drives up to the line. Scores nearly came from Kennedy and McDougall, but after a series of frustrating rucks, ‘Ensians spun the ball wide and full back Darren Hamilton linked up well to go over in the corner. A superb conversion by Kennedy put the visitors 10 – 5 up after 30 minutes. ‘Ensians continued to enjoy a big territorial advantage for the remainder of the half, but they could not improve on their lead.

In the second period facing the slope and a big home pack, ‘Ensians struggled to gain ground and get out of the muddy 22 area. Despite strong defence from Broadbent, Alan Garnett and Harker, Knaresborough scrambled over under the posts and the conversion left ‘Ensians trailing 17 – 10 after 50 minutes.

The home side now had their tails up and camped in the Otliensians 22 for long periods. Full back Hamilton and wingers Dan Garnett and John Offer tackled tirelessly, but the pressure told and an unsighted knock-on allowed the home side to go over in the corner. The conversion failed and left ‘Ensians in arrears by 22 points to 10 after 65 minutes.

Darren Hamilton had to leave the field with a leg injury and he was replaced by Tony Collins at full back. These fresh legs gave tiring ‘Ensians a new lease of life and they managed to work their way out of the boggy area with strong runs from Andy Wood, Chris Myers and John Broadbent. Collins, Robinson and Kennedy went close, but the big ‘Boro pack held off the driving mauls. Knaresborough infringed on several occasions, but quick tap penalties sometimes lacked support to breach the strong defence.

The final whistle came with the visitors still camped on the ‘Boro line with the score line at 22 – 10. ‘Ensians could look back on this frustrating game with some satisfaction in that they did well against a big Knaresborough 2nd XV who were very much at home in these heavy conditions.