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Wath Upon Dearne 51 pts vs OORUFC 1stXV 10 pts

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With a blustery cross-wind, ‘Ensians took the field with a strong back division including student newcomer Tom Carroll in the centre and former 1stXV skipper Neil Barlow at fly half. It was obvious from the start that Morley had some useful backs and their pack was robust, with a very tall lock. The home side were first into attack with strong runs by centres Andy Hayward and Carroll. With the wind making passing difficult, Morley were quick to counter attack with their speedy backs and the back row of Steve Lofthouse, Alan Garnett and Ben Tetley had their work cut out helping to stifle dangerous moves.

After 15 minutes, quick ball via Barlow and Hayward gave Carroll some space and he cut though in style to score half way out with full back Matt Tenniswood adding the conversion. Morley came straight back with some sweeping back moves and the back three of Liam Copping, Matt Tenniswood and Richard Cuff worked hard in defence. With both sides moving the ball about it was on 38 minutes before Matt Tenniswood put winger Liam Copping away down the left to beat the cover and score near the corner. A splendid conversion into the wind by Tenniswood took the score to 14 – 0 leading up to half time.

Winger Ben Harlow replaced Liam Copping after the break and Morley set off at brisk pace using their big pack to gain ground. In the scrums, the home front row of Tony Myers, Ross Myers and Tom Twist just about had the edge on their opposite numbers and in the lineouts Alan Garnett and Ben Tetley worked hard against taller opposition to get a fair share of the spoils. The pressure continued to come from Morley and, when ‘Ensians infringed, Morley hit the underside of the crossbar with a penalty. The ‘Ensian back division was working well under the guidance of experienced half backs Brett Tenniswood and Neil Barlow and when they took play into the visitors’ half, quickly re-cycled ball saw No.8 Alan Garnett slice through a gap to score near the posts on 55 minutes.

Morley replied through their pack and drove play into the home 22 where they camped on the line. The impressive ‘Ensians defence held out for several minutes, but in the end Morley forced their way over on 59 minutes. As the heavy visiting forwards began to tire, both home forwards and backs put together some very attractive and enterprising rugby with wingers Ben Harlow and Richard Cuff making searching runs. Locks Andy Wood and Mark Copping were at the forefront of powerful drives and when the ball was whipped out to Carroll he scored his second try after a sidestepping, weaving run from 30 yards. The conversion by Matt Tenniswood increased the margin to 26 – 5 in favour of the home side on 63 minutes.

A spectacular try then followed when lock Andy Wood caught the ball from the kick-off and set off on a 65 yard rampaging run, brushing off would-be tacklers. He was finally pulled up five yards short where he managed to offload to fellow lock Mark Copping who nearly made the line. When he in turn was held up, he flicked the ball back to Wood who dived over for a well-deserved try. The conversion took the score to 33 – 5 and the home side played out the last few minutes comfortably on top.

Against a competent Morley fifteen, ‘Ensians defended heroically throughout and played some very attractive rugby with their backs causing constant problems for their opponents. However, some credit must go to the visitors who were much more in the game than the score might suggest.

Report supplied by John Harrison