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 WATH 34 pts vs OLD OTLIENSIANS 10 pts

With their 1st XV squad decimated by injuries, ‘Ensians took only seven regular first-teamers on their trip to Wath. With a greasy surface, Wath attacked strongly from the off through their powerful pack and on 5 minutes, good inter-passing by the hosts produced a gap for their centre to go over near the posts for a converted try.

The visitors began to settle and half backs Sam Clewes and John Ratahi tried to get their backs moving up the slope. New centre Rob Lochrie showed he had the skills to break the line and he and fellow centre Lee O’Donnell made some progress against a tight defence. Problems arose when the ball was spilled and a strong rolling maul from the home pack took play back into ‘Ensians 22 where a well-worked move on 12 minutes produced a try half way out. Despite the efforts of the visiting back row of Michael Philpott, Rob Grey and Matt Taylor, the lively home backs continued to threaten and a further try wide out lifted the score to 17 – 0 in Wath’s favour on 19 minutes.

From the re-start, Wath again took advantage of some indifferent tackling to mount further attacks which resulted in another unconverted try in the corner to take the score to 24 – 0 after 23 minutes. After some encouraging words from coach Hugh Gumbs, ‘Ensians at last began to settle and make progress through strong runs from locks Alan Harker and Sam Gray.

Whilst the visiting scrum was never too comfortable against heavier opposition, decent ball was produced by the front row of Ben Newall, Ross Myers and Tom Twist. From one such situation, centre Lochrie beat his man and set off at pace up the field, a timely offload to O’Donnell saw the ball moved wide to winger Andy Hayward who went over half-way out for a well-engineered try. Although the conversion failed, the visitors were now gaining in confidence with the score at 24 – 5 on 37 minutes.

Unfortunately, a turnover allowed Wath to gain possession and their strong rolling maul took play in the ‘Ensians 22. From a series of drives, the defence suddenly parted and allowed the hefty home prop to gallop ten years to the line to make the score 29 – 5 to the hosts at the break. To make matters worse, centre Lochrie pulled a hamstring as the whistle went and had to leave the field.

For the second period, Richard Goakes came on the wing and experienced flanker Brett Tenniswood came on to allow Philpott to cover the centre berth. With the slope in their favour, ‘Ensians mounted some telling attacks and when Goakes was brought down by a high tackle, he managed to slip the ball to Philpott who looked to be in with a scoring chance. Inexplicably, the referee blew up for the illegal tackle instead of allowing the advantage and the opportunity was lost.

For the next ten minutes, the visitors camped on the Wath line and came very close through drives from Harker, Grey and Twist. The referee penalised the hosts for four sometimes quite dangerous infringements, but felt a talking-to was more appropriate than a card. Eventually, slick passing by Clewes, Ratahi and Taylor put Goakes over for a try in the corner. With no conversion, the score was a more respectable 29 – 10 to the home side on 50 minutes.

Still feeling they were in with a chance of victory, the visitors ran the ball at every opportunity rather than resorting to the boot and O’Donnell, Philpott and full back Kristian Keinhorst tested the home defence with strong runs. However, any spilled ball was taken advantage of by the heavier home pack which resorted to driving mauls to make progress up the slope. In their own 22, ‘Ensians suffered another injury blow when prop Tom Twist damaged his knee ligaments and Rob Grey replaced him in the front row with Peter Tempest coming on to cover at flanker.

Before the visitors could settle, Wath produced a series of drives to put their winger over in the corner to move the score to 34 – 10 in their favour on 63 minutes. For the remainder of the half, ‘Ensians moved the ball at every opportunity, but over-eagerness and in-your-face defence meant that scoring chances were few. Good spirited tackling snuffed out any Wath attacks to leave the final score at 34 – 10 to the hosts.

With so many changes and two further injuries during the game, ‘Ensians were always up against it facing a Wath side who are always difficult to beat at home. To their credit, when they settled down, ‘Ensians produced some good phases of play and, despite the score line, they battled away valiantly to the end.

 

OORUFC 2ndXV vs Wath

Wath-2nds-005 
Andy Bower breaks through to score under the posts.
Click the picture for more photos.

The 2nd fifteen came out on top in an entertaining fixture at home.
 

appleyr@bigfoot.com