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OLD MODERNIANS 18 – OLD OTLIENSIANS 34

This League match was re-arranged following its postponement in January due to a frozen pitch and the visitors started up the slope against the wind. With Todd Hammond on leave from the Army at full back, ‘Ensians moved the ball about from the off to gain ground upfield with centres Lee O’Donnell and Will Foster making good progress. Anytime ball went loose, Mods used the wind to push play back into the visitors’ 22.

After a missed penalty by the hosts, good running by winger Toby Gillatt and support from flankers James Holland and Andy Hayward took play into the home 22 and Will Foster converted a penalty. With locks Chris Howells and Sam Gray ably supported by hooker Rob Lyon and props Ross Myers and Ben Newall making the hard yards upfield, Mods were pushed into their own half. On 20 minutes winger Richard Goakes stole a bouncing ball in front of his opposite number and set off on a 50 yard run to score near the posts, the conversion by Foster making the score 10 – 0 to the visitors.

Modernians then came straight back into attack by using the elements and the boot. A difficult high kick evaded two defenders and was snapped up by the home backs who worked a good try down the touchline followed by a fine conversion to make the score 10 – 7 to ‘Ensians on 23 minutes. Pressure from the home side continued and the visitors conceded a number of penalties of which two were converted to make the score 13 – 10 to the hosts at half time.

With the slope and wind, ‘Ensians went straight into the attack after the break with half backs Mark Coultas and John Ratahi setting up promising moves. Mods fought back with some good forward play up the middle, but he trusty boot of Ratahi pushed them back. An offside infringement produced a penalty from Foster to level the scores and three minutes later, good interplay between forwards and backs allowed No.8 Andy Bower and lock Sam Gray to send James Holland away on a strong run to score near the posts. Foster’s conversion took the score to 20 – 13 to the visitors on 55 minutes.

Kristian Keinhorst came on at full back to allow Hammond to move to flanker with Holland replacing Bower at No.8. The scrums were fairly even, but the visitors were obtaining good lineout ball through Holland and lock Sam Gray. With their tails up ‘Ensians mounted a series of attacks through Holland, Hammond and half backs Coultas and Ratahi. The pressure told and on 58 minutes centre Will Foster cut through in style for a try half way out and this was followed three minutes later by a weaving run from Ratahi to produce a score near the posts. Conversions by Foster lifted the score to a comfortable 34 – 13 on 63 minutes. Dominic Oddy replaced Ratahi at fly half and Collum Hanogue came on for Ben Newall in the front row.

The hosts were far from finished and they used their powerful forwards to make inroads into ‘Ensian's territory. Errors began to creep in from both sides and play became scrappy with the referee’s whistle penalising numerous infringements. Both sides had chances to add to their scores, but in the final minute it was Mods who broke away up the touchline for an unconverted try leaving the final score at 34 – 18 to the visitors.

In a game influenced by the slope and the wind, both sides played some enterprising rugby, but strong defence and good interplay by forwards and backs gave ‘Ensians the edge to produce a well-earned victory.

 

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