ROWNTREES YORK 22 - OLD OTLIENSIANS B 17
With the 1st XV match postponed due to the
weather and the 2nd team cancelled because West Park were unable to raise a
2nd XV, the 3rd XV was the only ‘Ensian side to play. On reaching York, the
visitors were greeted with a hint of sunshine and a pitch in surprisingly
From past experience, Rowntrees are renowned for their huge pack and again,
they did not disappoint. ‘Ensians were fortunate to have the experienced
O’Donnell brothers available to strengthen the side, with Tom at flanker and
Lee in the centre. In the absence of a regular fly half, full back Annan
Desai volunteered to take on this unfamiliar role.
Rowntrees chose to play with the wind and from the kick off, their big pack
took control and a series of pick-and-drives saw them score half way out
after 5 minutes, the conversion giving them a 7 point lead. From the
re-start, ‘Ensians responded immediately with the back row of Tom O’Donnell,
Alan Garnett and Sam Tetley backing up well to take play into the York 22.
Quick ball from scrum half Peter Gilson saw Lee O’Donnell set off on a mazy
run to produce a fine try which went unconverted.
Play was evenly matched for the next 10 minutes, but, unusually, the
visitors were having big problems against their heavier opponents in the
scrums. Untidy ball put pressure on half backs Gilson and Desai and full
back Sean Flesher did well to retrieve several difficult situations.
‘Ensians conceded a penalty10 yards from their line and Rowntrees big
forwards put together a series of drives to score half way out. The
conversion left the visitors trailing 12 – 5 after 15 minutes and this lead
was increased by a penalty 3 minutes later.
‘Ensians were coming more into the game with Alan Garnett and Sam Tetley
producing good lineout ball and when the ball was moved out, the pace of
centres Richard Freeman and Lee O’Donnell posed big problems for the home
side. A long kick by Rowntrees took play up to the visitors’ line, ‘Ensians
were deemed to have handled on the floor and the quick tap saw the York
flanker force his way over. The failed conversion left ‘Ensians trailing 22
– 5 at halftime.
After the break and with the wind in their favour, the visitors soon took
play into the home 22 helped by rampaging runs from locks Andy Wood and Mark
Copping. On 45 minutes, strong pressure on the Rowntrees’ line saw
scavenging flanker Sam Tetley dive over the line onto a loose ball to score
the second try. The conversion failed, taking the score to 22 – 10. The home
side responded at once through their powerful pack and for 5 minutes, the
‘Ensians line was under siege. They dug deep and finally, replacement prop
Steve Robinson turned over the ball to allow Gilson to produce a long and
welcome clearance kick.
The visitors were once more on the attack and Gilson was tackled a yard
short after one of his customary dummying breaks. After good interplay by
forwards and backs,
centre Richard Freeman cut through to score near the posts and Andy Wood
converted to lift the score to 22 – 17 after 60 minutes. With the referee
failing to stop Rowntrees infringing round the rucks and mauls, play became
scrappy and ‘Ensians found it difficult to develop attacking moves. Richard
Freeman and winger Steve Lofthouse came close, but penalties were conceded
The elusive fourth try looked on when Gilson flicked a loose ball to flanker
Tom O’Donnell to set him off on a 40 yard run, brushing off three would-be
tacklers. Two yards from the line, he was tackled round the neck, but,
instead of awarding the obvious penalty try, the referee gave a penalty. A
forceful query about this decision by ‘Ensians saw the penalty reversed and
the home side breathed a sigh of relief.
The visitors continued to bombard the Rowntrees’ line for the last five
minutes, but the decisive score never came. ‘Ensians can take satisfaction
from a good, determined team performance against big and often niggly
Report supplied by the coach, John Harrison.