match reports rogues gallery club stuff

OLD OTLIENSIANS 2ndXV 43 pts vs Thornensians 19 pts

Click the Pic for more photos

In the away fixture before last November, ‘Ensians suffered a heavy defeat at Thorne and they were keen to make amends in near perfect conditions. With the home front row of Ben Newall, Richard Paley and Dave Beardsley having the nudge in the scrums, half backs Richard Crossley and Dominic Oddy wasted no time in getting their backs moving. Sound defence snuffed out several moves, but good running from centres Steve Grundy and Sam Castledine took play into the Thorne 22. Strong drives by locks Chris Howells and Mark Copping took the ball to the line before flanker Andy Bower forced his way over on 12 minutes for an unconverted try.

The visitors then showed that they were no pushover and their powerful backs mounted numerous attacks to test the back three of Tom Broadbent, Sean Flesher and Anthony Ball. It was on 23 minutes that Oddy got the ball away to give centre Grundy room to nip round two defenders to score near the posts. The conversion by Ben Newall took ‘Ensians lead to 12 – 0. The hosts continued to attack through their backs and three minutes later winger Tom Broadbent rounded off an excellent move by diving over in the corner to lift the score to 17 - 0 after the ball went through seven pairs of hands.

Thornensians were far from finished and showed now dangerous their backs were by scoring half way out after good interplay between forwards and backs. The conversion took the score to 17 – 7 to the home side as the break approached and showed that the game was far from over.

In the second half, Ben Richards came on at scrum half allowing Crossley to move to flanker and experienced lock Richard Smith replaced Copping. The home side were soon on the attack again and strong drives by Newall, Smith and Crossley took play into the visitors’ 22. Oddy and Grundy made ground before lock Howells switched the angle of attack and blasted his way through under the post from 10 yards. With their tails up, ‘Ensians were now moving the ball wide at every opportunity and a sweeping move by the backs put winger Anthony Ball over wide out. A fine conversion by Newall stretched the lead to 31 – 7 on 48 minutes.

At this stage a Thorne prop had to go off through injury and scrums became uncontested and this proved to be a turning point in the game. Instead of struggling for ball from the scrums, Thorne now had a stream of quick quality possession and their under-used backs were able to show their considerable skills. Two powerful Samoans began finding huge gaps down the middle and through good backing up and sound handling, they produced two well-worked tries on 55 and 60 minutes. With conversions, the score was now a far- from-comfortable 31 – 19 to the home side.

Lock Andy Wood replaced Howells and ‘Ensians buckled down to stemming the dangerous Thornensians backs with Richard Crossley putting in some good defensive work in mid-field. Although ‘Ensians were obtaining a fair share of possession in the lineout through Alan Garnett and Dominic Birkin, their passing became nervous and inaccurate and several promising moves failed.

A fine last-ditch tackle by Crossley near the line stopped a certain try and this seemed to lift the confidence of the home side as well as deflating the opposition. ‘Ensians then went onto the attack and lock Andy Wood was up in support to make an angled run from fifteen yards to go in under the posts. In the closing minute, centre Steve Grundy finished off a good back move to score his second try half way out. There was one conversion by Ben Newall to make the final score 43- 19 to the hosts.

This was a fast and entertaining game where the home side were cruising along well in control in the pack and in the backs until scrums became uncontested. After this, they lost their way for a while in the second half, but their spirited come-back in the final quarter produced a comfortable victory.