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In near perfect conditions, ‘Ensians took the initiative from the kick-off by driving into the visitors’ half. After two minutes Aireborough transgressed and backchat moved the penalty into kickable range, but James Keinhorst’s kick was narrowly wide. The hosts remained on the attack and good drives by lock James Duggan and No.8 Rob Arbuckle took play up to the Aireborough line. After further pick-and-drives, prop Rob Lyon forced his way over half way out. The conversion by James Keinhorst produced a 7 – 0 lead after 5 minutes.

The lively ‘Ensians back row of Sam Gray, Arbuckle and James Holland continued to dominate play at the breakdown and Aireborough had to defend strongly for the next ten minutes. Quick ball through half backs Tim Rushfirth and John Ratahi enabled centre Will Foster and full back James Keinhorst to come close, but the visitors’ defence held out. ‘Ensians should really have had another couple of tries in the first 20 minutes, but, as Aireborough at last began to settle, they came more into the game and they gained territory through some good interplay between their backs. The scrums were more or less even with both sides struggling to get tidy ball at times, but endeavouring to move the ball wide at every opportunity.

Stalwart defence from both sides kept scoring opportunities to a minimum, but as the home side pressed in the opposition 22, slick passing from a ruck created space on the right for Arbuckle to go over for a well taken try on 30 minutes. James Keinhorst’s conversion gave the home side a 14 – 0 lead. Aireborough were undaunted and took play into the ‘Ensians half with some enterprising back play. Untidy ball from a scrum saw the hosts caught in possession and the turnover allowed the Aireborough fly half Nick Holdsworth to place an inch-perfect kick into the corner for winger Stephen Nolson to win the race for the touch down in the corner. A superb touchline conversion by Ollie Catherall took the score to 14 – 7 on 32 minutes.

Now realising that they were very much back in the game, Aireborough stepped up the pace and with centres Mark Druce and Craig Stanley making inroads in to the home side’s territory, ‘Ensians found themselves defending for long periods with the back three of Richard Goakes, James Keinhorst and Nick Keinhorst coping well with a series of attacks. As the half time whistle came, ‘Ensians realised that they had to step up the pace in the second period if they were come out on top.

After the break, Lee O’Donnell replaced Ratahi and Phil Cook came on for lock Chris Howells. With James Duggan and Sam Gray getting good ball from the lineouts, ‘Ensians began to mount attacks through fly half Will Foster and centres O,Donnell and Kristian Keinhorst, but Aireborough were quick to capitalise on any mistakes with swift counter-attacks. After 10 minutes of fairly even play, the breakthrough for the home side came when full back James Keinhorst attacked from deep, linked with brother Kristian who put in a deft chip ahead. Winger Goakes following up at top speed snatched the ball on the bounce and outpaced the cover to score wide out. Although the conversion failed, the 19 – 7 score gave the home side a more comfortable margin on 52 minutes.

With their confidence restored, the lively ‘Ensians pack set about making life difficult for the visitors, with prop Tony Myers, lock Duggan and flanker James Holland always to the fore. From pressure on the Aireborough line, a flick back pass from scrum half Rushfirth found skipper Duggan steaming up on the inside to storm over near the posts. The conversion by James Keinhorst lifted the score to 26 – 7 on 56 minutes.

Aireborough were far from finished and their pack put together some powerful driving mauls and for several minutes they pounded the ‘Ensians’ line, but staunch defence from Phil Cook, Duggan, Ross Myers and Arbuckle managed to keep the line clear. On 76 minutes, the home backs managed to break out of defence and centre Lee O’Donnell made a strong run up to halfway, he popped the ball to James Keinhorst who used his pace to beat two defenders and pass inside to winger Richard Goakes backing up down the middle who went over for his second try. James Keinhorst’s conversion made the score 33 – 7 and for the remaining four minutes, ‘Ensians remained on the attack.

For their part, Aireborough put together some good phases of play and competed resolutely in an entertaining game played in a good spirit. ‘Ensians came out on top because their pack was generally livelier in the loose, their backs had that bit of extra pace and, apart from one lapse, their hard-working defence was solid throughout.





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