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OTLIENSIANS 2ndXV more vs Bramley Phoenix less

  2007.04.14 Bramley Phoenix 2nds 048
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In this re-arranged fixture, the home side kindly loaned ‘Ensians two players to make up the full side. What the visitors didn’t know at this stage was that Northallerton’s 2nd XV game had been cancelled and consequently the home side that took the field contained a majority of second teamers.

In sunny conditions, the visitors started well and half backs Tim Rushworth and Richard Gill took play into the home territory. However, spilled ball was gathered by Northallerton and swift movement along the line saw their winger round the cover and score under the posts. It soon became clear that the opposition were not only big and strong, but very skilled.

The visitors’ scrum with front row of Dave Beardsley James Kear and Steve Robinson was holding up reasonably well against a much bigger pack, but ball was untidy and Tim Rushworth playing his first game at scrum half had his work cut out to get the ball away. Any loose ball was snapped up by the powerful home back row and used to good effect. Consequently, after 20 minutes the visitors were trailing by 22 points to nil.

In the lineout Alan Garnett and Sam Gray were producing good ball and centres John Offer and Steve Lofthouse made ground into the Northallerton half. An infringement allowed Andy Wood to kick an excellent 45 yard penalty to put ‘Ensians on the score sheet. The remainder of the half continued in similar manner with Northallerton’s powerful backs moving the ball slickly from everywhere to run in three more tries to give them a 39 – 3 lead at the break.

Playing up the slope in the second period, the back row of Sam Grey, Alan Garnett and Ben Tetley put in some sound defensive work against big opponents, but good support play by the home side saw two more tries scored to give them a 49 – 3 lead after 50 minutes. The ‘Ensians pack was now coming more into the game in the loose and good driving play by Alan Harker and Andy Wood took play into the Northallerton 22. A clever lineout move saw Alan Harker driving towards the line and James Kear was on his elbow to go over for a fine try. Andy Wood converted to make the score 49 – 10.

Soon afterwards, good handling saw centre Steve Lofthouse make a clean break, but the final pass did not go to hand and the opportunity was missed. ‘Ensians continued to defend well against waves of attacks, but as they tired, Northallerton ran in their final try to make the score 54 – 10.

Against probably the strongest opposition of the season,’Ensians could take credit for their spirited effort under skipper-for-the-day Alan Garnett.