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BRAMLEY 1stXV 14pts vs OLD OTLIENSIANS 1stXV 24pts

Old Otliensians visited their nearest promotion rivals on Saturday and came away with an excellent victory that confirmed that the actual art and skill of playing rugby will always prove to be the bedrock of a successful side, even in the face of the somewhat more combative attitude and dark methods utilised by opponents who seem to have chosen a different path.

The game started with early Otliensians pressure and Foster's penalty just fell under the bar, Bramley rallied and moved the ball down field through a combination of forward drives and well directed kicking. The home side forced a 5 metre attacking scrum and took the lead with a well constructed back move sweeping from left to right, with the touchline conversion been successful for a home 7-0 lead after 8 minutes. It was now Otliensians turn for a period of concerted attack, with the pack driving at the heart of the home team and the backs kicking well for position, with Birch again at the fore.

A 5 metre attacking line out on 19 minutes was perfectly executed by Lyons, Markus Keinhorst and Tom O'Donnell leading to a front peel from Arbuckle who scored the try wide out on the left for the lead to be cut to 7-5. Bramley immediately came back in to the game, and it is a mystery why they do not concentrate on playing rugby rather than the more rudimentary, as they again constructed some positive phases leading to another close range scrum on the left. They passed the ball from the base in to the midfield, for a kick to the posts, which was followed up by the openside flanker detaching from the scrum some 10 metres in front of the kick for the try to be awarded, with a successful conversion Bramley lead 14-5 at the half.

The second half belonged completely to Otliensians as they played excellent rugby with the tone been set in the first few minutes by Foster, who was to have his best 40 minutes of the season, executing a midfield move with Rushfirth joining from the blindside wing for Kristian Keinhorst to chip to the corner, the bounce just evading the fast moving Woods. The Otliensians pack was dominant and following a series of mauls and pick and drives, Foster was released on the right from halfway, he proceeded to side step past five bemused defenders on his way to the line, and with the conversion the lead was cut to 14-12 after 48 minutes. The next twenty minutes saw Otliensians battering the Bramley line, who themselves knew that defeat would make their own promaotion bid more difficult, defending stoutly, but the game had turned. A series of 5 metre scrums drained the energy of the home team, and on 68 minutes a blindside move saw full back Smith score wide on the right, for Otliensians to take the lead for the first time at 17-14.

Bramley were now trying to run the ball at every opportunity, but the well organised Otliensians defence was more than a match, with the outstanding Lee O'Donnell leading the line without fear in the face of the Bramley assault. The home side were pinned back and resorted to kicking from defence, but in the 76th minute Smith gathered one such kick on the left touchline on his own 10 metere line, he swerved past the first two defenders to give a perfect inside pass to the supporting Foster who emulated his earlier feat by jinking past several defenders on his way to the posts, the conversion sealing the 24-14 win.

The return fixture on Saturday will again prove crucial in the continued Otliensians pursuit of promotion, where another top class performance will be needed.

Report supplied by the coach, Gary Walker.


For their trip to Selby, due to last-minute backwords, Otliensians found themselves with only eleven players. In true lower team tradition, Selby loaned the visitors four forwards and as these included two who tipped the scales at over 20 stones apiece, prospects for a solid scrum looked encouraging.

Playing with the slope and a slight breeze, ‘Ensians were soon on the attack through veteran scrum half Peter Tempest and lock-turned-fly half Andy Wood. Good ruck ball was moved on the short side and hooker Ben Tetley dived over in the corner after 5 minutes; the difficult conversion failed. The visitors continued to press with clean lineout ball from lock Alan Harker and there was strong running by centres Steve Lofthouse and Jason Stebbings.

Selby defended resolutely, but good interplay between forwards and backs produced a fine try for loaned flanker Andy Brown under the posts. Andy Wood converted to put ‘Ensians 12 – 0 up after 20 minutes. Another superb try came ten minutes later from a move which started on in the Selby half. The ball moved through ten pairs of hands before centre Jason Stebbings cut though to score half way out.

The Otliensians scrum was in dominant mood and the front row of Dave Beardsley, Ben Tetley and Bob Smith took several strikes against the head. Number 8 Dan Ridgway linked well with scrum half Tempest to create space for centre Steve Lofthouse to weave his way through from 30 yards to score near the posts. Andy Wood converted to lift the score to 24 – 0 to the visitors on half time.

After the break, Selby tightened up their game and ‘Ensians found it hard going against the slope. Where they had the edge on their opponents was their ability to move the ball wide and create space for wingers Darren Hamilton and Tom Broadbent who both came near with strong runs. Full back Sean Flesher linked up well with the backs and was also on hand to produce several try-saving tackles. The home side were now coming more into the game and on 55 minutes, the heavy home pack put together some good drives to set up their first try.

Otliensians responded from the re-start by producing turnover ball, centres Lofthouse and Stebbings and prop Beardsley made good ground and the ever-present Peter Tempest was there to dodge round a ruck for a fine try in the corner. The failed conversion put the visitors ahead 29 – 5 after 60 minutes. Five minutes later, determined runs from Dan Ridgway, Dave Beardsley and Steve Lofthouse took play up to the Selby line. After a series of rucks, Tempest scooted round to score his second try to lift the score to 34 – 5.

Selby were far from finished and they belatedly realised that by spreading the ball wide, they could bring in their young, speedy full back who outpaced the cover to run in under the posts for a well-deserved consolation try. The conversion took the score to 34 – 12 in favour of the visitors as the final whistle went.

This was an exhilarating, entertaining game played in an excellent spirit and credit must go to Selby for their generosity in loaning players and for the way they stuck to the task right to the end.

Report supplied by the coach, John Harrison.