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Old Otliensians 2nd XV vs York TI 2nds

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Old Otliensians 3rd XV 32 pts vs Morley 3rd XV 7 pts

   2007.04.07 249

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Due to injury and people away on holiday, ‘Ensians put together a makeshift side to take on old foes Morley in perfect conditions. The game started at a brisk pace with the speedy visitors’ backs testing the home defence from the start. Centres Matt Dykes and Johnny Woods put in some strong tackles and full back Sean Flesher was there to tidy up in front of the posts.

As ‘Ensians settled down. Alan Garnett and Ton O’Donnell started producing quality ball from the lineout and half backs Ben Newall and Kristian Keinhorst got the back line moving to drive play deep into Morley territory. The defence transgressed and after 10 minutes, Ben Newall gave the home side the lead with a penalty. Some good driving runs by locks Andy Wood and Ray Drake again tested the visitors’ defence and when they went offside, Newall added a further penalty five minutes later to provide a 6 point lead.

The Morley pack, with some “old heads”, were masters at stealing the ball in mauls and their backs were quick to take advantage of turnover-ball. Wingers Steve Lofthouse and Dan Garnett were called on time and again to produce try-saving tackles. The home scrum with front row Chris Myers, Steve Robinson and Dave Beardsley had the nudge on their opponents and when quick ball found its way to centre Dykes, he scythed through and fed Steve Lofthouse who in turn moved the ball to Number 8 Alan Garnett to score an excellent try. The conversion failed giving ‘Ensians an 11 point lead after 20 minutes.

Morley struck back and a kick through took play into the home 22 with the ball bouncing about dangerously. In a superb piece of play, lock Andy Wood gathered the ball, about turned and drove fifteen yards up field to relieve the pressure. Quick ball from a ruck saw centre Woods cut through on halfway, round the cover and score under the posts. Newall’s conversion saw ‘Ensians with a lead of 18 – 0 with half time approaching.

Richard Gill replaced the injured Dykes at the break and the kick-off saw Morley tear into the home side. The back row of Tom O’Donnell, Alan Garnett and Tony Collins were up to the task, but spilled ball gave Morley a breakaway try after 10 minutes. This set-back was compounded by an injury to scrum half Newall. Woods filled the vacancy and skipper Jim McDougall came on as replacement to take the centre berth. ‘Ensians had to defend hard for 20 minutes before Keinhorst got his backs moving again. A break by McDougall was well-supported by winger Dan Garnett who moved the ball smartly to full back Sean Flesher to round off a great move. Keinhorst converted to extend the home side lead to 25 – 7.

Morley were far from finished and they drove right up to the ’Ensians’ line. Their experienced forwards mounted a series of rolling mauls, but Chris Myers and his pack were not to be intimidated. After 10 minutes of defence, the ball was cleared by the now-recovered Matt Dykes. Both sides continued to move the ball about and in the closing seconds, Woods broke round the scrum and sprinted up the touchline past the tiring Morley defence to score his second try. Keinhorst converted to make the final score 32 – 7.

Against strong opposition, this was probably one of ‘Ensians B’s best performances. Special mentioned should be made of two youngsters - winger Dan Garnett was unlucky not to score and flanker Tom O’Donnell was tireless in both defence and attack.