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Otliensians made the short trip to Harrogate in Round 4 of the EDF National Junior Vase and came away with a comprehensive victory, despite not being at their best for large sections of the game, in the difficult playing conditions.

Otliensians had the dream start, when straight from the kick off the ball was regathered, two forward drives ensued, with Birch at the base identifying the space behind the Harrogate defence, he chipped for the flying Ratahi to gather the ball over the line for a try after barely 30 seconds, Foster struck an excellent conversion in to the wind that just drifted wide.

Otliensians continued to press throughout the half, when with more patient execution of the final passes further scores would have ensued, but Harrogate defended well at the contact situations and posed their own threat through their powerful centre partnership, prompted by the very good play of the home scrum half, who was excellent throughout.

A lead of 5-0 at half time playing against the elements was a satisfactory return, and once again a very committed start to the second half proved to be the platform for a more dynamic 40 minutes, starting in the 44th when from a penalty close to the Harrogate line, a well timed move lead to Bonner scoring the first of his brace, Foster converting for the 12-0 advantage. Otliensians were reduced to 14 men after 48 minutes, when a harsh yellow card, awarded for not rolling away in the tackle seemed to inspire the team even further. The 7 man Otliensians scrum forced the home pack on the defensive, and swift clinical hands across the back division from left to right gave Jon Woods the opportunity to glide in to the corner after 51 minutes.

Harrogate then had their best spell of the game, driving through the middle and releasing their right wing on a dangerous run, however the Otliensians defence held firm, but another series of penalties lead to the home hooker crashing over for a deserved score after 58 minutes, reducing the deficit to 17-5.

The remaining quarter of the game was dominated by the visitors who by this time were playing attractive 15 men rugby, with Harrogate defending stoutly and contributing their own more sporadic attacks. After 70 minutes Nicky Keinhorst completed another flowing move for the fourth try, but the best was left for last. In the 75th minute, Otliensians, for the first time in the afternoon, completed several phases of their well rehearsed and constructed game plan, both penetrating and moving the ball with ease from wing to wing, before being held up close to the line on the left, for the inside pass to find the rampaging Bonner for the touch down, the conversion from Foster sealed the 29-5 victory, setting up a home 5th Round tie against Burley on 8 December.

Old Otliensians 2nd XV 72 pts v Halifax Vandals 2nd XV 0 pts

 2007.11.17 Halifax Vandals 2nds 210

view all photos here and as a slideshow here

Continuing their good run of form Otliensians scored steadily throughout the game against a Vandals side who could not muster a front row , scrums thus being uncontested an all too frequent occurrence this season.

Centre Andy Hayward was first on the score sheet after Brett Tenniswood took the opposition throw in their 22 m. Hayward was the architect of the second try 10 mins later scooping up the ball on the run to Ben Newall who completed. Wing Darren Cooley finished a good team try after some really excellent handling and interplay between forwards and backs before wing Richard Cuff took the advantage of fast hands in midfield to outpace the defence to score the fourth try. Neil Barlow at stand off scored the final try of the half after a planned short linout move involving Ross Myers and with Barlow converting two of the tries the home side had a comfortable 29 - 0 pts lead at the break.

Barlow was soon on the try sheet in the second half after a quick throw - in by alert full back Mattt Tenniswood and shortly after back row Joe Robinsoon finished off a typical Cuff charge. Cooley notched up his second try following quick passing from a tap penalty and soon after Barlow outstripped the defence from 50m. Cooley completed his hat trick after a good carry by prop Tony Myers took the ball from his own 10m line into the Vandals 22m. Matt Tenniswood provided the overlap for the next try and the scoring was completed by centre Andy Bower after a strong run by Robinson, Barlow converting four further tries in the second half.
Another good all round performance from the Ensians with an exemplary performance from Barlow and good games from Hayward and full back Matt Tenniswood with brother Brett king of the lineout and Robinson in the back row all over the park.



‘Ensians arrived at Vandals to find the local weather living up to its reputation of mist accompanied by cold, driving rain. Finding they were one man short, hooker Ben Tetley quickly rounded up his brother Dave to play his first game of rugby at flanker.

The visitors set off at a cracking pace and half backs Til Lecisotti and Michael Philpott soon got their backs moving. Centres Jason Babb and Steve Lofthouse made big inroads into Vandals territory and flanker Dan Ridgway was on hand for the first try after 3 minutes. Two minutes later, winger Darren Hamilton was on the end of strong runs by Babb and Sean Flesher to score the second. Lecisotti converted to provide a 12 – 0 lead after 5 minutes.

The Halifax backs were made up of veterans and at this stage they realised that they could not cope with the pace of their opponents and that ten-man rugby was the order of the day. The referee was slow about the pitch and to make matters worse, he pulled a hamstring. To his credit, he managed to hobble about for the rest of the game, but he was woefully behind play.

This gave the big home pack the chance to kill the ball at every opportunity and, in the wet conditions, they scrambled two unconverted tries to make the score 12 – 10 to ‘Ensians at half time.

Although outweighed, the visiting pack with front row Chris Howells, Ben Tetley and Adam Mudd did well in the scrums and Chris Hayward and Alan Garnett took their fair share of ball in the lineouts. The problem for ‘Ensians was obtaining ball from the rucks and mauls where Halifax were constantly allowed to dive over and to come in from the side.

As the game progressed in the worsening conditions, Vandals scored three more unconverted tries to give them a 25 – 12 lead. ‘Ensians forwards Adam Mudd and lock Mark Copping put in some strong drives to take play into the opposition half. The ball was moved slickly and centre Jason Babb made a good run to score wide out. The conversion failed to leave the final score at 25 – 17 to Vandals.

This was a match which could have gone ‘Ensians way, but with the referee struggling to keep up, their supply of good ball dried up. Nevertheless, it was played in a good spirit and young flanker Tetley did well on his debut.

On Saturday in the League the 1st XV have a tricky trip to Hemsworth, with Hemsworth 2nd and Harrogate Pirates visiting Chaffers Fields, all KO at 2:15pm.