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OLD OTLIENSIANS 29 vs Wath Upon Dearne 5

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Ensians score in the 2nd half

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Otliensians produced their best half of rugby of the season in this potentially dangerous battle at the bottom of the table to open a 22-0 lead at half time that proved decisive and stretched their lead over Wath to 4 points going in to the second half of the season.
With the return of Bonner and Hanogue the starting pack had a more familiar shape and they tore in to their opponents from the off, with Bonner, Arbuckle and Hill to the fore, constant pressure was placed on the visitors and this told after 8 minutes when after a series of punishing drives Otliensians won a scrum on the right, used good quick hands with dummy runners in the middle to send Gray over in the left hand corner. Robinson and Tom Woods were dominating the lines, and with Lyon and Newall secure in the front row, a very solid platform was secured, this lead to a Wath 22 drop out after 17 minutes where Jimmy Keinhorst gathered and ghosted through the Wath defence over 50 metres before offloading on the right for Tinknell to power over, Jimmy Keinhorst converted expertly and the lead had grown to 12 points.
The same patterns continued with Tinknell devastating in defence, ably backed by his midfield partners Kristian Keinhorst and Ratahi, with Gray and Nick Keinhorst always looking dangerous more scores looked inevitable, and the pack produced a rousing series of drives and offloads from halfway to send Hill over for the try after 21 minutes, with Jimmy Keinhorst adding the conversion and a further penalty a very satisfactory half of rugby was completed.
Wath came back strongly in the second half attempting to run the ball at every opportunity, but with their pack been overpowered, and the introduction of Howells and Dyson to add more impact they were living off scraps, and the lead was extended after 52 minutes following a line out take by Woods on the left, the ball was driven on for Ratahi and Newall to make breaks before Hill charged over for his second try, Jimmy Keinhorst again converted for the 29-0 lead.
The major differences that Otliensians have found in this higher league is that virtually all mistakes are punished and this has been a cause for frustration, and that sides do not roll over even when they are behind and so it proved again with Wath upping their work rate considerably both in defence and attack. However Otliensians also showed a steel and determination in their defensive structure that thwarted Wath at very turn until the very last play of the game when one of the Wath elusive midfield players evaded three would be tacklers to score by the posts. The Otliensians performance was then epitomised by Tinknell who rushed the simple conversion charging it down with an excellent challenge.
The first half of the season has given Otliensians major injury problems, but that has lead to the emergence of many new potential long term 1st XV players who have stepped up from the lower teams and performed admirably in difficult circumstances, and it is a credit to the continuing and increasing strength in depth that now runs through the Club that through this three teams have been maintained, with the 2nds & 3rds again winning consistently.



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Flesh barges his way over

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On a pitch showing little signs of the recent snow and frost, ‘Ensians squared up from the off to a big fast Keighley side containing two first-teamers. Half backs Peter Tempest and Hugh Gumbs set the tone when they drove down the middle and set up a promising back move for centres Graham Bentley and Rob Grey to take play into the visitors’ 22. Strong tackling stopped the move, but confident Keighley then realised they had a serious game on their hands. They had a powerful No.8 and a lively set of backs who moved the ball well from all parts of the field. In the scrums, the home front row of Scott Child, Andy Rockett and Tom Twist had the edge on their opposite numbers and good quality ball gave plenty of running opportunities.

The Keighley backs always looked dangerous in possession and the back row of Mark Copping, Alan Garnett and Jim Mc Dougall had its work cut out supporting the mid-field defence and stemming the flow of attacks. With both sides having chances, it was Otliensians who struck the first blow when good inter-passing between forwards and backs set up lock Andy Wood for a charge to the line. The conversion failed giving the home side a 5 – 0 lead on 18 minutes. Keighley came straight back with a series of speedy back moves, but the back three of Robin Devereaux, Sean Flesher and Liam Copping fielded chips through and tackled well to keep them at bay. The ‘Ensians pack foraged well to take play to the visitors’ 22 and after a series of drives, hooker Andy Rockett forced his way over on 30 minutes and Gumbs added the conversion to lift the score to 12 – 0.

The departures of centre Bentley and prop Twist with injuries brought on replacements Phil Purnell and Chris Myers, but the home side maintained its composure with fly half Gumbs controlling events in mid field and gaining ground with long kicks. Leading up to the break, both sides put some promising moves together, but points did not come. In the second half, the ‘Ensians pack carried on in robust form with locks Ray Drake and Wood and flanker McDougall testing the opposition with strong driving and rucking. When Keighley infringed, Gumbs added the penalty to take the score to 15 – 0 on 42 minutes. This seemed to light a spark in the visitors who stepped up the pace and mounted attack after attack for a prolonged period. Centres Gumbs and Grey and scrum half Tempest tackled valiantly and the back row worked hard in support. For twenty minutes, the home side barely got out of their 22 and the pressure told when the Keighley winger crossed wide out for an unconverted try to move the score to 15 – 5 on 65 minutes.

Realising the game was far from over, Otliensians took play into Keighley territory and put together some promising back moves. In one glorious diagonal run, winger Liam Copping sliced through four defenders, but the offload near the line was adjudged forward. From a scrum on the right, slick passing by the home backs saw full back Flesher make the extra man and dive over on 70 minutes. Although the conversion narrowly failed, this was a timely score and took some of the pressure off. Lock Ray Drake went off with a leg injury and he was replaced by Brett Tenniswood who immediately brought his lineout skills into play. Both sides continued to spread the ball wide, but it was Keighley who eventually put together a sweeping move half the length of the field to score under the posts on 78 minutes. The conversion took the score to 20 – 12 to ‘Ensians who then played out the last two minutes to record a fine victory.

This was a cracking game against strong opposition and it was teamwork and strong defence which eventually saw Otliensians through.