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Due to an ever-increasing injury list and players being unavailable, ‘Ensians once more took to a greasy Garforth pitch with a much-changed side. Rumour had it that Garforth had strengthened their squad to help in the struggle against relegation and the way they set about the visitors certainly showed a lot of determination. In defensive mode from the off and struggling for good possession, ‘Ensians conceded a penalty on 10 minutes followed by two converted tries to leave them trailing by 17 – 0 after 16 minutes.

At last the visitors began to settle and find some rhythm and with lock Sam Gray managing to win some decent lineout ball, half backs Sam Clewes and John Ratahi were able to get their backs moving. From quick hands outside the home 22, centre Rob Lochrie cut through in style to score halfway out. The conversion by Matt Tenniswood took the score to 17 – 7 and gave a hint that ‘Ensians might be getting more into the game.

This optimism was short-lived when spilled ball set up a back move for the hosts resulting in another converted try on 28 minutes. Although ‘Ensians responded with a well- taken try from lock Sam Gray following good work from the back row of Michael Philpott, Andy Hayward and Matt Taylor, disorganised defence let Garforth in for another try on half time to give the home side a 29 – 14 lead at the break

Leg injuries to scrum half Clewes and centre Lochrie meant that Ratahi took over behind the scrum, Matt Tenniswood moved to fly half and Andy Hayward filled the centre berth. The front row of Ross Myers, James Kear and Ben Newall worked hard against bigger opponents, but ball tended to be slow and the new half back pair was under constant threat from the lively Garforth back row. The hosts scored a try and a penalty down the slope within ten minutes of the re-start before the visitors managed to settle. Centres Lee O’Donnell and Andy Hayward tried hard to make progress up the middle, but when ball was spilled in the tackle, Garforth were quick to counter-attack and produced two more converted tries on 61 and 66 minutes to leave the visitors trailing by 51 points to 14.

Despite the scoreline, ‘Ensians battled on and good interplay between forwards and backs sent stand-in centre Rob Arbuckle away on a powerful run from 20 yards to score wide-out. A fine conversion by Matt Tenniswood moved the score to 51 – 21, but tired legs then let in another try to make the final score 58 – 21 to the hosts.

With so many changes both before and during the game, ‘Ensians’ play was understandably disjointed and they were always on the back foot against a side fighting hard to move away from the bottom of the League. For ‘Ensians, until such time as players start returning from injury to allow a more settled side, they will find it a hard slog to get back to winning ways.