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Otliensians began their new season in Yorkshire Division 3 with an away win at West Leeds, which proved that they have the skill levels to compete in the higher company, but also gave a perfect demonstration that the teams in this League will all provide competitive matches at a good standard.

As was expected west Leeds began strongly, with their No 8 and centres penetrating and probing the Otliensians defence, but the defence held firm with one particular tackle on the line by Jimmy Keinhorst proving crucial. The pressure told and after 6 minutes the home side took a deserved lead through a well struck penalty. West Leeds continued to press with well constructed back moves, but on 9 minutes Nick Keinhorst on the left wing seized the opportunity when he intercepted and raced 80 metres to the posts, Foster converted for the early 7-3 advantage.

West Leeds again came back immediately and used the ball intelligently through a number of phases for the right wing to score on 13 minutes wide out, the conversion was missed, but Otliensians knew that the pace and intensity of this division was a step up and began to adapt accordingly. The pack began to win ball, and a 70 metre attack down the right involving Jimmy Keinhorst and Todd Hammond was only thwarted by the touch judge signalling fa oot in, when the try seemed to have been scored. the pressure was building and Otliensians had their reward when Foster kicked a penalty after 29 minutes. Arbuckle was picking from the scrum well, gaining ground, and from one such situation Cooper followed with a weaving 50 metre run, for the supporting Hill to narrowly miss the try scoring opportunity. Late in the half the sides exchanged penalties for a satisfactort Otlienesians 13-11 lead at half time.

The second half began in exactly the same way as the first, with West Leeds playing excellent attacking rugby, Otliensians defending well, with openside Dyson covering the ground, supported by Duggan and Grey, and a dominant Otliensians scrum ensuring parity of ball supply. In what was a carbon copy of their first try, West Leeds swung the ball from wing to wing and again scored wide on the right to break the second half deadlock on the hour and take a deserved 16-13 lead. This was extended after 64 minutes, when finding the suffocating Otliensians defence hard to penetrate, the home side opted for the drop goal.

It was now Otliensians who were in the ascendency, playing their own brand of 15 man rugby, resulting in a further Foster penalty after 72 minutes, and at 19-16 behind, the stage was set for an exciting finale and it was fitting that on 77 minutes Bougham, Lyon, Hanogue, Bonner, Hill and Tom Woods were rewarded for their outstanding scrummaging, when they drove the home side back from a 5 metre scrum for Arbuckle to again pick and dive over, Foster compled a 100% kicking performance and the game was won at 23-19. 


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With centre Andy Hayward leading the side for the first time as skipper, this Merit Table game was dominated by ‘Ensians with the pack well on top thus enabling the backs to play in their customary attacking style. Wingmen Peter Gillson and Darren Cooley scored hat tricks and the forwards contributed with tries by hooker Ross Myers, lock Chris Hayward and two tries by flanker Joe Robinson. There were three conversions by full back Matt Tenniswood who had difficulty kicking in the long grass.

The score line could have been greater if ‘Ensians had made more of their opportunities when perhaps an increased awareness of supporting runners would have helped. However, some credit should be given to Rishworthians who never let their heads drop and who tackled valiantly throughout against a much faster and capable side.

The half back pair of Aiden Carr and Dominic Oddy distributed the ball well, providing ample opportunities for the backs to show their running skills, but on occasions, a better alignment might have avoided forward passes. Both Gillson and Cooley ran well for their tries and they were ably supported by centre Sam Grey and Matt Tenniswood, whose strong running helped to maintain the territorial advantage.

All the forwards played well, with Myers and Joe Robinson to the fore. For the first game of the season, this was generally a very satisfactory performance, and, with some fine tuning, there is no reason why the team should not repeat or better last season’s successful record.



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‘Ensians 3rds took to the field in warm sunshine for their opening match of the season and from the kick-off, the home pack took play up to the visitors’ line. Several strong forward drives led by Andy Wood and Mark Copping came close before Copping went over after eight minutes. Jim McDougall converted. Shortly after this, ‘Ensians were unlucky to loose newcomer Martin Farrington with a finger injury. Andy Wood filled the centre vacancy and Chris Howells came on at lock.

As Wetherby settled down, their robust pack started getting more ball and their useful backs came into the game. The home side contained them with good tackling by scrum half Peter Tempest and flankers Richard Paley and Ray Drake. When play eventually moved back into the visitors’ half, the visitors’ speedy winger took advantage of an unmarked blind side to run sixty yards and score in the corner. A superb kick by the same player levelled the scores at 7 apiece after twenty five minutes.

Play remained fairly even for most of the first half until lively scrum half Tempest drove through two tackles to score under the posts on 38 minutes. McDougall slotted the conversion to give the home side a 14 – 7 lead. Immediately, Wetherby put together a good back move, but a spilled ball in the home 22 saw young centre Liam Copping snap it up and outpace the cover to score a superb opportunist try on half time. McDougall’s conversion stretched the home side’s lead to 21 – 7.

‘Ensians began the second period in similar vein with strong running by fly half McDougall and centres Wood and Copping. With Alan Garnett and Ben Tetley gaining good possession in the lineout and the scrums holding their own, the pressure was all on Wetherby and when they strayed offside, Wood converted a penalty on 53 minutes to lift the score to 24 – 7. At this stage, perhaps assuming the game was won, the home side took its foot of the gas and Wetherby began to dominate territorially. Wingers Steve Lofthouse and Sam Tetley did well in defence and full back Sean Flesher was called on to make several last-ditch tackles.

Again, after good support play, the visiting winger went over wide out and converted to make the score 24 – 14 on 60 minutes and it was ‘Ensians turn to defend for long periods. To make matters worse, centre Andy Wood had to go off with a rib injury to be replaced by Darryl Hamilton. On 70 minutes, Wetherby went over half way out and, although the conversion failed, this pushed the score to 24 – 19 and boosted the confidence of the visitors.

In the closing minute, with Wetherby driving for the line, props Chris Myers and Scott Child forced a turnover and Jim McDougall cleared the line with a mammoth kick. With the seconds ticking away, veteran scrum half Tempest fought for possession and kicked to touch seal victory at 24 – 19.

This entertaining game could have gone either way, but the tackling skills of the home side in the second half tipped the scales in their favour.

Reports supplied by the coach, Gary Walker, Philip Drake & John Harrison.