OLD OTLIENSIANS B 36 - RIPON 4ths 15
With the 1st XV having no game and the 2nd XV
match at Aireborough being called off due to the weather, ‘Ensians B were
lucky to have spare players to cover for holiday absences. Prop Peter
Bonner, flanker Collum Hanogue and centre Lee O’Donnell stepped up to help
fill gaps and, as Ripon arrived with only 11 players, No.8 Rob Arbuckle,
centre Andy Hayward, winger Dan Garnett and flanker Richard Paley sportingly
volunteered to play for the opposition.
What ensued was a very entertaining game of rugby with the result in doubt
until 10 minutes from the end. The hosts started strongly with experienced
half backs Peter Tempest and Peter Gilson directing operations to take play
up to the visitors’ line. After a series of good forward drives the ball was
spun wide for winger Tom Broadbent to go over in the corner after 8 minutes.
The conversion failed.
With Alan Garnett dominating the lineout and the scrum producing quick ball,
the home backs were causing problems for the Ripon defence. Centres Lee
O’Donnell and Sam Gray made good ground and the back row of Jason Stebbins,
Alan Garnett and Collum Hanogue was on hand to set up a series of drives on
the visitors’ line. Despite strong defence, lock Chris Howells battled his
way over half way out and the conversion by Gilson lifted the score to 12 –
0 after 20 minutes.
‘Ensians were well on top at this stage and the ball was moved wide at every
opportunity. Good handling saw winger Steve Lofthouse cut through to score
to extend the home side’s lead to 17 – 0 after 25 minutes. At this stage,
Ripon began to put some good passages of play together and suddenly,
‘Ensians were defending. Loaned player Andy Hayward, playing in the
unfamiliar position of fly half, swerved through to score near the posts to
put the visitors on the scoreboard. As half time approached some fine
inter-passing by the home backs allowed centre Sam Gray to round the cover
and score in the corner. Replacement kicker Andy Wood landed the difficult
conversion to give the home side a 24 – 5 lead.
At the break, Ray Drake came on for Bonner and Toby Baltrop replaced the
injured Tempest for the home side. From the kick-off, the Ripon pack
immediately set up some good drives with guest Rob Arbuckle in the lead and
after only two minutes good backing up produced their second try. For the
next ten minutes, the visitors continued to attack with their pacey full
back coming into the line to put his winger over wide out. With no
conversions, the score was now 24 – 15 after 55 minutes with Ripon very much
in the ascendancy.
Skipper Alan Garnett rallied his troops and some solid forward play by prop
Adam Mudd, hooker Steve Robinson and locks Wood and Howells steadied the
ship. Both sides then began developing good attacking moves through their
backs. Excellent handling by ‘Ensians saw wingers Steve Lofthouse and Tom
Broadbent both come close. A superb try then followed which was started off
by Gilson in his own half. Broadbent made good ground before passing inside
to centre Gray who beat two defenders before unloading to O’Donnell to
finish off the move. The conversion by Wood extended the ‘Ensians’ lead to
31 – 15 and relieved the pressure.
The final ten minutes saw both sides playing fast open rugby, but it was
Otliensians’ full back Sean Flesher backing up well who drove through for
the final try. With no conversion, this made the final score 36 – 15 to
‘Ensians. Both sides can take credit for an entertaining game played in an
Report supplied by John Harrison.