GOOLE 34 – OLD OTLIENSIANS 0
Ensians made the journey to Goole knowing
that the team recently relegated from Yorkshire 2 would be keen to ensure
a speedy return to their former League. Having lost several key players to
higher Leagues during the summer, ‘Ensians introduced youngster Sam
Featherstone in the back row alongside No.8 and captain, Rob Arbuckle, and
flanker Matt Taylor.
Two last minute changes were necessary, but the visitors stared
confidently and half backs Sam Clewes and John Ratahi soon had their backs
on the move. The scrum struggled against a heavier pack, but the front row
of Ross Myers, James Kear and Ben Newall managed to obtain their share of
the ball even though they were under pressure.
Both sides tried to move the ball wide and after 7 minutes a long Goole
kick took play to the corner. Although ‘Ensians gained possession from the
lineout, a knock-on gave a scrum to the hosts and after several
pick-and-drives by the powerful back row, their flanker went over half way
out. The conversion failed and ‘Ensians went back into the attack from the
re-start. For the next ten minutes they moved the ball well to gain
territory and put Goole under pressure with centres Matt Tenniswood and
Dom Oddy making good ground. When the home side transgressed they kicked
for the corner rather than take a shot at goal. Ratahi made a half break
20 yards out, but the ball was turned over and the chance was lost.
Goole had their share of play, but it looked as though their slender 5 – 0
lead would hold until half time. However, on 37 minutes they put pressure
on in the ‘Ensians 22 and converted a penalty. This was quickly followed
by some good support play and the winger went over wide out with the
conversion lifted their lead to 15 – 0 as the whistle went for half time.
Goole came out with their tails up after the break, but with locks Sam
Gray and Alan Harker obtaining good lineout ball, the visitors felt things
could be turned around. Unfortunately, their handling became untidy and
poor ball retention gifted possession to the home side at regular
intervals, enabling Goole to run in three tries in the first 9 minutes.
With two conversions, the score was a now a formidable 34 – 0 on 49
minutes. Alan Harker sustained a leg injury and was replaced by Alan
‘Ensians buckled down to the task and took play into the opposition half.
Ratahi made a break and good support from centre Oddy gave winger Brett
Tenniswood a chance. He chipped over the full back, but was beaten to the
touchdown by the cover. They had further opportunities to get on the
score-sheet with scrums near the home line, but untidy possession and firm
defence kept them out leaving the final score at 34 – 0 to the hosts.
This was a typical first match of the season with periods of scrappy play
from both sides. From being very much in the game leading up to the break,
poor control of the ball allowed Goole to score 29 points in a 13 minute
spell either side of half time. For the remaining 30 minutes in the second
half, ‘Ensians defended well with full back Kristian Keinhorst and wingers
Tim Rushfirth and Brett Tenniswood coping confidently. They came close to
scoring on two or three occasions, but indifferent handling and poor ball
retention was their downfall. However, they played with spirit, but paid
for serious lapses on either side of the break.