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 Pontefract Pythons 008

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Old Otliensians entered 2009 with optimism regarding the remainder of the season before securing this 6 try victory in the first round of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy against committed opposition from the lower divisions, who with a well organised scrummage managed to have their own moment of triumph with a late penalty try.

The game started crisply with the contrasting styles in evidence, Pontefract trying to use their robust forwards and Otliensians utilising their sometimes skilful handling, although this wasn't to be the case for all the afternoon. In the first minute Jimmy Keinhorst made the first of many line breaks to expertly draw the full back and put Jon Woods in under the posts, the referee blew for a phantom forward pass but the die was cast.

Four excellent tries followed at regular intervals to build a 24-0 home lead at half time, Tinknall scored the first, swotting off defenders like flies after 6 minutes, Jon Woods scored the second wide on the right following a pick up by Hill at a scrum on the far left, Kristian Keinhorst then deftly chipped for Woods to gather and race in at the opposite corner after 18 minutes. The resulting kick off went straight in to touch, from the scrum Hill again picked and fed Birch on the left who sent Jimmy Keinhorst in to space who used his trade mark side steps over 45 blistering metres to out wit the overworked defence. Jimmy Keinhorst completed the first half tally with a piece of excellent backing up, following a sweeping right to left move that with Ratahi supplying the final pass. With two difficult conversions also from Jimmy Keinhorst a satisfactory first half was completed, with Pontefract gamely defending for much of the half and showing Otliensians how to scrummage and how to disrupt the contact area at every juncture.

After only eight minutes of the second period Tinknall again finished a bout of interpassing covering 70 metres with Gray making the initial break, continued on by backs and forwards alike Kristian Keinhorst kicked to the left hand corner for his brother Jimmy to collect and offload in the tackle for Tinknall to go over. In what proved to be a very short half of only 32 minutes, Pontefract gained their due reward for their combative forward display, putting pressure on the home scrum on the line for the referee to award the penalty try, which was converted for a consolation score after 66 minutes.

It was however the home side who finished strongly with Tom Woods sauntering over from 10 metres after a line out had been won on the right and Birch had found the space with a deft inside pass, the timing was 72 minutes and at this point the referee blew for time.

A good start to 2009 which included some good phases of structured play and handling, but the bigger league challenges await over the coming months as Otliensians continue to adjust to life in the higher division.



When ‘Ensians arrived at Ripon they couldn’t help noticing that some twenty five opposition players were already on the pitch warming up and later, when they discovered that the Ripon 1st XV game had been cancelled, the writing was on the wall for a difficult afternoon ahead. With a massive pack and lively backs, the home side moved the ball well from the start and for the first ten minutes it was all defence, with the back row of Steve Lofthouse, Alan Garnett and Andy Hayward tackling their hearts out. The visiting half back pair of Michael Philpott and Hugh Gumbs steadied the game and Gumbs put in some of traditional booming kicks to relieve the pressure.

In the set pieces against much bigger opposition, Old Otliensians initially struggled to provide any ball at all and what there was tended to be untidy, putting pressure on Philpott behind the scrum. Centres James Holland and Joe Wynne defended well, but pressure told after 20 minutes when a good move by the home backs produced a try near the posts which was converted. The visitors were coming more into the game now as some of Ripon’s big forwards tired and Holland and wingers Danny Schiethaert and Liam Copping made telling breaks. On 30 minutes an awkwardly bouncing ball fell into the hands of the Ripon backs who went over for a converted try to lift their advantage to 14 – 0.

During the remainder of the half ‘Ensians’ supply of ball improved with good lineout work by Alan Garnett and Steve Lofthouse and their speedy young backs began making serious inroads into Ripon territory. After the break full back Matt Tenniswood came on in the unfamiliar role of lock in place of Derek Mott and from the start the visiting backs tested the home defence. Hugh Gumbs ploughed down the middle scattering defenders on the way and quickly recycled ball put young centre James Holland away to outwit three defenders and score a fine try under the posts which Gumbs converted.

With their tails up, it was now all ‘Ensians in attack and from loose play, lock Tenniswood broke away on a thirty yard run, and, with the Ripon full back clutching at his shirt, he offloaded to Michael Philpott in support who scored just wide of the posts. The conversion by Gumbs levelled the scores at 14 all and, with several of the home forwards looking decidedly weary, the game looked to be going ‘Ensians’ way. There was setback when experienced prop Dave Beardsley injured his leg and the scrums had to go uncontested. At this stage, perhaps sensing that things weren’t going their way, Ripon brought on the cavalry in the form of three first-teamers which tipped the scales against the visitors.

Old Otliensians were undaunted and continued to attack through forwards and backs. Locks Mark Copping and Matt Tenniswood put in some strong drives with the front row of Derek Mott, Andy Rockett and Steve Robinson in support. The fresh experienced legs in the Ripon side began to tell and they scored an unconverted try on 60 minutes followed by a converted try on 65 minutes to take the score to 33 – 14. Skipper Alan Garnett rallied his side and again they took the game back to Ripon through some skilful back play by Holland and Wynne with winger Liam Copping being pulled down yards short. Presumably fearing that things might still take a turn for the worse, Ripon brought on two more athletic looking substitutes to try and regain control, but for the next ten minutes it was very much ‘Ensians on the attack. In the final minute Philpott and Gumbs took play into the home 22 and James Holland jinked his way over half way out for his second well-deserved try. The conversion by Gumbs took the score to a more respectable 33 - 21 as the final whistle went.

Against what turned out to be very strong opposition this was a very determined performance by a plucky ‘Ensians side and, had Ripon not been able to strengthen their side when the game appeared to be slipping away from them, the outcome could well have been very different.