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OLD OTLIENSIANS 1stXV 36 pts vs BURLEY 8 pts

The sun came out as ‘Ensians took the field in this Yorkshire Silver Trophy 1st round encounter and, due to injuries and unavailability, there were five changes from the side which was successful in the League the previous week. From the start, the home side pressured Burley and when a kick through was fumbled by the defence, young winger Richard Goakes was there to snap up the ball and go over half way out. The conversion failed, but ‘Ensians were ahead 5 – 0 after 3 minutes.

The visitors showed they were no pushover when they drove through the first scrum and took the ball against the head. The pressure continued, the hosts transgressed and Burley kicked a penalty through Tim Betts on 11 minutes to make the score 5 – 3. ‘Ensians were soon back in attack and winger Nick Keinhorst showed his pace when he went in at the corner after some good back play. Ben Smith came on for injured No.8, Rob Grey and Burley continued to disrupt the home side’s attacking moves where centres Lee O’Donnell and Tom Carroll always posed a threat.

Burley drove down to the ’Ensians line, but good tackling by the home back row of James Holland, Ben Smith and the evergreen Richard Crossley kept the line clear. With play fairly even, half backs Peter Gillson and John Ratahi at last got their backs moving and good inter-passing took play into the visitors’ 22. A good run up the touchline by Goakes saw him tackled five yards short, but the ubiquitous James Holland was on hand to force his way over in the corner. Again the conversion failed, but the score was now 15 – 3 on 32 minutes. As half time approached, Rob Lyon replaced Ross Myers at hooker.

Shortly after the break, experienced flanker Crossley suffered a leg injury and was replaced by prop Scott Child who brought extra solidity to the front row. Burley were still very much in the game and their centres showed they had pace and the ability to test the defence, but O’Donnell and Carroll were up to the task. Good interplay between forwards and backs saw Nick Keinhorst backing up to go over near the posts for his second which he then converted to lift the score to a more comfortable 22 – 3 to the hosts on 56 minutes. After an injury to lock Andy Wood, Tim Rushfirth, the last of the replacements, bravely took up the wing position and Nick Keinhorst moved to flanker.

Burley were far from finished and their lively back division continued to gain ground and test the home defence which held firm due to the efforts of the back row and centres Carroll and O’Donnell. On 62 minutes, at last quick ball found its way to centre Carroll with space in mid-field and he sliced through in style to go over under the posts. The conversion by Nick Keinhorst took the score to 29 – 3 on 68 minutes.

After an indifferent start in the scrums, the home front row of Tom Twist, Rob Lyon and Phil Cook gradually settled down and looked comfortable on their own ball. Also, the efforts of Sam Gray and Ben Smith in the lineout meant that the ‘Ensians backs had opportunities to mount several threatening attacks. Excellent interplay between the backs allowed fly half John Ratahi to go over unopposed under the posts and the conversion by Nick Keinhorst moved the score to 36 – 3 on 73 minutes. Mention must be made of veteran scrum half Peter Gillson who stepped in at the last minute when Tim Rushfirth took a knock in the pre-match warm-up. As usual, he tackled like a flanker and was a constant threat with his sniping round rucks and mauls.
As the final whistle approached, Burley used their speedy backs to put together a good move which saw centre Craig Racrachan go over wide out for a consolation try. The conversion failed leaving the final score at 36 – 8.

Considering the number of changes in the home side and the use of all four substitutes, this was a very creditable effort by ‘Ensians who managed to keep their shape for the most part and they generally controlled things well against lively and competent opposition.

Our 2nd XV beat Skipton 2nds 62 - 5 away in a Merit Table game and our 3rds had no match when Skipton 3rds couldn't to raise a side.