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 2007.09.01 Wetherby 055

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Old Otliensians travelled to Wetherby for the first round of the National Junior Vase knowing this would be a test of their development as the same opposition had knocked them out of this Cup at the same stage last season, they were not to disappoint as they showed why they finished last season as the Yorkshie Silver Trophy winners with an emphatic display of 15 man rugby.

Straight from the kick off Otliensians pressured the Wetherby defence, forcing them in to errors with offensive tackling leading to a 5 metre scrum after confident approach play from Myers, Bonner and Markus Keinhorst.The scene was to be set as the Otliensians eight proceeded to shunt the Wetherby pack over their own line for Arbuckle to touch down after 4 minutes, Foster was narrowly wide with the kick in the difficult windy conditions. Otliensians continued their dominance with excellent clearing at the rucks, executing their patterns efficiently and continually making ground as they drove in to the Wetherby lines.

A take at the line, where Tom Woods and Tom O'Donnell were disrupting the Wetherby ball, lead to a concerted 40 metre drive resulting in a further 5 metre scrum, the first was collapsed over the Wetherby line but from the subsequent penalty Woods powered over for Foster to convert. Philpott was the next try scorer after 23 minutes following a break by Foster, who was held on the line, Jon Woods drove over and the supporting Philpott touched down with the defence in disarray in the in goal area. On 36 minutes a sweeping 80 metre move involving forwards and backs lead to Jon Woods being held in the right corner, Otliensians again disrupted Wetherby's line out, forcing the 5 metre scrum, where Arbuckle once again scored from the pushover, Foster converting for a 24 - 0 half time lead.

Within 4 minutes of the restart Markus Keinhorst picked up at the base of the scrum, after another take against the head, and stomed 60 metres up field, leaving a trail of defenders behind as he scored under the posts, for Foster to once again add the extras. The front five of Myers, Lyons, Bonner, Brett Tenniswood and Tom Woods were providing a master class at the set piece, with the handling of the whole pack setting a high standard in the loose. Birch at scrum half was now dominating proceedings and the back division were creating the space for Matt Tenniswood to go over in the 50th and 54th minute scores to keep the score board ticking over. Otliensians continued to play their patterns and Wetherby were unable to secure any ball having to continually defend for long periods, cracking again aftera set move from the scrum released Jon Woods to score in the right hand corner, Keinhorst stepped up for an excellent 2 points.

The try of the game was reserved for the 75th minute when Keinhorst again picked up from No 8 60 metres out, his break was supported by Philpott who drew the last defenders before releasing Keinhorst for the score and conversion. Lee O'Donnell in the centre and Rushforth on the left wing had been prominate all game, creating for their team mates, the impact from the bench of Paley, Grey and Ratahi was immediate, and with Lyons providing an excellent link from the forwards, it was left to Birch to provide the chip that Jon Woods chased to score in the last minute, completing this very satisfying first display the season.

Harder games await commencing with the league opener away at Hessle next Saturday.

Report supplied by the coach, Gary Walker.


For their first game of the season, ‘Ensians travelled to play their old foes with a mixture of 2nd and 3rd team players, including veteran centre Simon Coxon making a come-back.

The game started at a fast pace with both sides trying to move the ball wide with half backs Ben Newell and Will Haines getting their backs moving. Centres Coxon and Joe Robinson made strong runs, but untidy handling on both sides caused moves to break down.

In the scrums, the visiting front row of Dave Beardsley, Ross Myers and Steve Robinson gradually got the edge and took several opposition balls. With Alan Garnett and Andy Bower proving a steady stream of quality ball from the lineout, the backs were able to show their paces and pressure tested the solid home defence.

With both sides evenly matched, it was 35 minutes before No.8 Matt Taylor picked up from a scrum and broke blind. Ben Newell, up in support, drew the cover and fed winger Steve Lofthouse who went over in the corner for a fine try. Ben Newell’s conversion attempt narrowly failed to give ‘Ensians a 5- 0 lead. With half-time seconds away, a good break by the Pirates fly half produced a try wide out and the teams were level at 5 apiece at the beak.

At half time came the disappointment of uncontested scrums due to Harrogate’s lack of front row replacements. Tom Twist replaced Dave Beardsley in the ‘Ensians front row, but, unluckily, after five minutes he had to leave the field with a knee injury. Although they now had the advantage of the slope, the visitors found it hard going to make progress against a tireless Harrogate defence, bolstered by substitutions at half time. Once again the home backs put together a good move and their speedy winger went over to give them a 10 – 5 lead after 50 minutes.

A few minutes later the Harrogate centre sent a clearing kick straight into the hands of winger Darren Cooley who sped past two defenders in a 40-yard sprint to the line. The failed conversion levelled the scores at 10 all with 20 minutes remaining.

The Harrogate backs always looked dangerous, but good tackling kept them at bay, with flanker Johnny Saunders, prop Dave Beardsley and full back Sean Flesher to the fore. Just when a draw seemed the likely outcome, winger Cooley outpaced his opposite number and fed Andy Bower to score an excellent try half way out. The conversion by Ben Newell gave ‘Ensians a seven point lead.

The Pirates came back, but time ran out to give the visitors a fine 17 - 10 win against good opposition. Skipper Will Haines gave a strong lead to his side in an enjoyable game.

Report supplied by John Harrison