OLD MODERNIANS 18 – OLD
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
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.