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Doncaster Phoenix 71 vs OORUFC 1stXV 7

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Photo by Jan Pickles

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When reality hits, it hits hard, as Otliensians were blown away in a first half whirlwind that saw Doncaster leading at the break by 59-7, with Otliensians already down to 14 men as injuries mounted and all 3 replacements had been deployed, leading to uncontested scrums and a Monday night dash or would that be limp to obtain position in the physios surgery.

The omens looked poor when after only 3 minutes a wayward pass from the home scrum half bounced off the fly halfs legs, he gathered and went in unopposed at the posts. There then followed a regular procession of Doncaster scorers, utilising well organised and aggressive forward drives, with excellent lines of running in the backs as they combined to produce scores of the highest order that the reorganised and depleted Otliensians ranks could not cope with. However through all this storm there were two rays of sunshine, the first in Jimmy Keinhorst at full back who ran the ball out of defence with aplomb, one effort ranging over 75 metres where he side stepped defender after defender to score under the posts on the half hour mark, the second in Tom Woods who tackled and charged in to the fray from the first to the last minute with admirable spirit and courage.

The only decision at half time was to start again and show the true Otliensians colours, which the team achieved throughout the second half, the 14 players reduced for a substantial period to only 13, but managing through sheer will and determination to halt the scoring until the 33rd minute of the half, when the overwhelming numbers and skill of the Doncaster players finally pierced the Otliensians rearguard action again.

In terms of the score a day to forget, in terms of the second half performance a third ray of sunshine to all the players, who responded with pride and passion to the severely testing circumstances, but all credit must go to Doncaster who created an outstanding performance and on the day produced a rugby master class, that they too should be proud of.


OORUFC 2ndXV 38 vs Halifax 3rdXV 10

 OORUFC 2ndXV vs Halifax 038 closeup

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On another warm sunny Saturday ‘Ensians welcomed Halifax 3rd XV with student Mike Ferigamo making his debut in the centre. Halifax got off to a lively start and it was obvious they had some pace in their backs. Having rebuffed an early attack, the home side put together some of their trademark inter-passing and a move which started on halfway resulted in an excellent try for number 8 Andy Bower to the left of the posts on 5 minutes. Matt Tenniswood converted.

Vikings were shaken by this and buckled down to some solid forward play, but ‘Ensians back row of Peter Gilson, Andy Bower and Dale Kennedy were quicker to the breakdown and turnover ball was quickly re-cycled to the backs. After good runs by centres Andy Hayward and Ferigamo, fly half Dominic Oddy forced his way over under the posts. The conversion from Tenniswood gave the home side a 14 – 0 lead after ten munutes.

Halifax responded strongly and good support play in their backs saw the winger go over in the corner after 20 minutes to make the score 14 - 5. With lock Ben Smith and No.8 Andy Bower getting good lineout possession, ‘Ensians were soon on the attack and skipper Hayward broke through on halfway to outpace the cover and score under the posts. The Tenniswood conversion took the score to 21 – 5 after 22 minutes. Eight minutes later scrum half Aiden Carr got the backs moving again and lock Ben Smith provided good support to go over half way out. With no conversion, this gave the home side a comfortable 26 – 5 lead at half time.

The start of the second period was marred by an ankle injury to prop Ben Newall and he was replaced by Chris Howell with Sean Kennedy coming off the bench. This seemed to unsettle the home side and for the next ten minutes Vikings were constantly on the attack. Wingers Tom Broadbent and Darren Cooley played well in defence and full back Tenniswood put in some long relieving kicks. Halifax eventually managed to drive over through a determined forward effort after 55 minutes. With the score at 26 – 10, ‘Ensians realised the game was not yet won and they again stepped up the pace. A sweeping back move with good runs by Sean Kennedy and Broadbent saw fly half Oddy score his second try in the corner on 59 minutes.

With the score at 31 – 10 Halifax started having problems in the front row through their inexperienced prop and the referee opted for uncontested scrums. Clean ball from the scrums gave the visitors a new lease of life and they launched several attacks through forwards and backs. Props Chris Howell and Steve Robinson were always in the thick of it and they managed to turnover ball when the line was under siege. As the visitors tired, Carr and Oddy got the ball away and Sean Kennedy backed up well to go over. Tenniswood’s conversion took the final score to 38 – 10.

This was a comfortable Merit Table victory with some good passages of play by both forwards and backs. Halifax were not a bad side, but ’Ensians’ good support play and quality defence meant they were always in control.



For this visit to old rivals Pirates, ‘Ensians found that they were playing on the Harrogate 1st XV pitch. In a re-arranged team, experienced scrum half Tim Swann made a guest appearance and former fly half Will Haines was paying a visit from his home in Warwick. The team was also augmented by Hugh Gumbs, the former ‘Ensians’ coach of six years back, who was joined in the centre by 1st XV flanker Tom O’Donnell coming back from injury.

‘Ensians, with just fifteen players, declined the suggestion of “rolling subs” from Pirates who had ten men on the bench and they got off to brisk start with a move involving both forwards and backs. Although Harrogate had some big hefty forwards, it was clear early on that the visitors had the edge in pace and fitness. After 6 minutes flanker Peter Tempest went over after supporting drives by Mark Copping and Andy Wood, but Pirates levelled the score a few minutes later when one of their big forwards drove over from a maul.

Harrogate were defending well for long periods with the score at 5 apiece. With Alan Garnett obtaining good lineout possession, half backs Swann and Haines to get centres O’Donnell and Gumbs away and a fine sweeping move saw young winger Liam Copping outpace the cover to go over. A good conversion by Haines took the score to 12 – 5 to the visitors as half time approached.

After the break, the speed of the visitors continued to cause problems for Pirates and veteran flanker Tempest went over for his second try after 55 minutes. Although Haines’ conversion attempt failed, he made amends by scoring a try ten minutes later when supporting wide out. He was narrowly adrift with a difficult conversion to push the score to 22 – 5 in ‘Ensians favour. The visiting front row of Dave Beardsley, Ben Tetley and Lee Paley had the edge on their bigger opponents in the scrums and there was a steady supply of ball to their speedy backs. After slick hands by Gumbs and O’Donnell, Liam Copping showed his pace by rounding off a good move with his second try in the corner which was not converted.

With the game in the bag, ‘Ensians relaxed in the last minute and Harrogate trundled over for a consolation try to leave the final score at 27 – 10 to ‘Ensians. This was an entertaining and well-refereed game in which Pirates had no answer to the all-round pace and fitness of ‘Ensians