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OLD OTLIENSIANS 1stXV 19pts vs Aireborough 27pts

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strong tackling in the early stages from the 1stXV

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Ensians started this local derby facing a gale-force wind and quickly found themselves under pressure from a series of high kicks. The back three of Sam Tetley, Matt Tenniswood and Steve Lofthouse generally coped well with the bombardment, but play was confined to the visitors 22. A spilled ball by the home side enabled ‘Ensians centres Sam Grey and Sean Kennedy to move the ball deep into Aireborough territory. When the home side transgressed, full back Matt Tenniswood gave the visitors a 3 – 0 lead after 7 minutes.

Aireborough came straight back and camped in the visitors’ 22, where, after a series of rucks, quick ball saw the home winger go over in the corner for a good try on 12 minutes. The failed conversion gave the home side a slender 5 – 3 lead. Aireborough continued to press with some good handling by forwards and backs, but good defence by ‘Ensians back row of Andy Hayward, Ben Smith and Ben Tetley snuffed out many attacks. Whenever the ball went loose, half backs Peter Gilson and Phil Purnell were quick to use their backs and after a good break by Kennedy, Sam Grey went over only to be called back for a forward pass.

The home side continued to use the wind to gain territory and from a ruck on the visitors’ 22, their fly half dropped a neat goal on 36 minutes to stretch the lead to 8 – 3. ‘Ensians continued to attack, but, as half time approached, a spilled ball produced a massive kick from Aireborough which was fielded in front of the posts by the ‘Ensians’ winger. With no support, he was quickly overwhelmed by three chasing Aireborough backs and a converted try followed on 38 minutes, taking the score to 15 – 3.

After the break, Tom Twist came on in the pack and Hayward moved to the wing in place of the injured Sam Tetley. With the elements in their favour, it was now ‘Ensians turn to exert pressure and a scrum five yards out nearly produced a push over try. A mix-up in defence saw the loose ball bobbing about before No.8 Ben Smith snapped it up to go over half way out. A good conversion by Tenniswood took the score to 15 – 10 to the home side on 42 minutes. This seemed to spur Aireborough on and their pack produced a series of drives which gave their half backs chance to gain ground with astute kicks. The ‘Ensians’ front row of Scott Child, Steve Robinson and Ben Newell were obtaining good ball from the scrums, but the lineouts were untidy for both sides due to the blustery conditions.

Despite the wind, Aireborough were making regular incursions into the visitors’ half and a crafty chip over and follow-up produced an important try and conversion on 52 minutes to extend the lead to 22 – 10. ‘Ensians tried to use the wind to gain ground, but the home defence coped well and frustration by the visitors produced a series of penalties which Aireborough used to good effect. One was converted on 60 minutes and then good handling by the home backs produced a try in the corner. The conversion failed, but this gave Aireborough a comfortable lead of 30 – 10 on 70 minutes. ‘Ensians rallied with good drives by Smith and locks Andy Wood and Chris Howells, but steady defence and indifferent handling made little impression on a now-confident home side. An infringement in the visitors’ 22 allowed Aireborough to kick another penalty to take the final score to 33 – 10.

This was an enthusiastic performance by both sides in difficult conditions and Aireborough came out on top due to a stirring all-round performance against the elements in the second half which gradually knocked ‘Ensians off their stride.



OLD OTLIENSIANS 3rdXV 26pts vs Aireborough 0 pts

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An early score for the 3rdXV

Against local rivals Aireborough, ‘Ensians picked Jan Pavlovski, a Polish builder working at the local Sainsbury’s site, in the second row. Jan has played a few games of rugby in Poland, but this was his first taste of rugby in England. The visitors had the best of the early exchanges with their big forwards putting in some good drives, but in the set scrums, the home front row of Dave Beardsley, Andy Rockett and Chris Myers had the edge. Gradually the ‘Ensians half backs Tim Swann and Will Haines came more into the game and when centres Simon Coxon and Hugh Gumbs made good ground, re-cycled ball moved to the forwards where Pavlovski crashed over for his debut try. The conversion by Haines gave ‘Ensians a 7 – 0 lead after 15 minutes.

With Alan Garnett and Robin Devereaux gaining quality lineout possession, the home side gradually gained the ascendancy and good drives by flankers Jim McDougall and Devereaux took play up to the visitors’ line. From a set scrum, ‘Ensians produced a big shove and No.8 Alan Garnett touched down on 25 minutes with Haines again converting and lifting the score to 14 – 0. Aireborough were by no means a spent force and they camped in the home half for long periods. The difference was that when the home side got their hands on the ball, Haines and Gumbs drove the visitors back with huge searching kicks to regain territory.

As half time approached, slick hands by Coxon set young winger Liam Copping on a 40 yard run to outpace the cover and go over in the corner. The conversion failed giving the home side a 19 – 0 lead at the break. In the second period, it was very much Aireborough for long spells as they tried to get back into the game. Swann and Haines were always there to tidy up and Sean Flesher at full back had to make some last-ditch tackles. Centre Gumbs, despite his years and his predilection for un-social hours, put in a series of solid tackles to snuff out several promising Aireborough attacks. Lee Paley replaced Beardsley in the front row and veteran Derek Mott came on for Devereaux at flanker.

Both sides endeavoured to play open rugby in a blustery wind and, although Aireborough came close on several occasions, they could not breach the solid defence. Just when it looked like stalemate in the second half, winger Liam Copping scooped up a loose ball and weaved his way over from 30 yards for his second try with the conversion by Haines taking the final score to 26 – 0.

This was an entertaining game played in an excellent spirit and credit must go both sides