Old Otliensians 30 vs Garforth 8
Sam Gray scores an early 5 points for
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Having suffered double defeats against
Garforth last season, ‘Ensians were keen to turn the tables and they
attacked from the start through half backs Tim Rushfirth and John Ratahi.
Within two minutes Captain Sam Gray was pulled down five yards short after
good work by centres Carlos Hassan and Dom Oddy. However, on 6 minutes
good support play put No.8 Gray over in the corner to establish a 5 – 0
Garforth responded strongly using the breeze to push play into the home
22. The hosts defended well with flankers Sam Featherstone and Lee
O’Donnell putting in some fine tackles. Eventually, pressure told and the
visiting forwards forced their way over. Although the try went
unconverted, Garforth took the lead at 8 – 5 with a penalty two minutes
With the home side’s front row of Ross Myers, James Kear and Tom Twist
gradually having the edge on their bigger opponents, a good supply of ball
put ‘Ensians back on the attack. Winger Toby Gillatt carved open the
defence with a weaving run up the left and just when the defence seemed to
corner him, he wriggled away to score wide out on 24 minutes to give the
home side a 10 – 8 advantage.
In the lineouts Sam Featherstone and lock Alan Harker were obtaining
quality possession and the home back line put together some enterprising
play with Hassan confidently orchestrating proceedings. In the pack,
newcomer James Findlay foraged hard alongside fellow lock Harker to make
inroads into Garforth territory to keep up the pressure. On 37 minutes the
visitors strayed offside and full back Kristian Keinhorst increased the
lead to 13 – 8. Recycled ball allowed Hassan and Oddy to put debut winger
Stuart Cockburn over half way out. Keinhorst added the points to give the
hosts a 20 – 8 lead at half time.
From the re-start, ‘Ensians continued where they left off stretching the
Garforth defence with some confident handling. Good interplay by forwards
Gray, Findlay and hooker Kear saw winger Cockburn up in support to dive
over in the corner for his second try on 43 minutes to lift the score to
25 – 8. Unfortunately, a bang on the face caused the scorer to leave the
field with Josh Howarth coming on as replacement.
The home side were now in almost continuous attack, but progress was
stifled by what appeared to be a one-sided interpretation of the breakdown
laws by the referee. Frustration grew and penalties followed which kept
Garforth in the game. On half way, fly half Ratahi made one of his
trademark breaks and good support put winger Gillatt away again. Although
the Garforth cover was there in numbers, Gillatt weaved and twisted his
way out of tackles to go over for his second. Keinhorst’s convertion
attempt narrowly missed to take the score to 30 – 8 on 54 minutes.
Scrum half Tim Rushfirth had to go off with a leg injury with Sam
Featherstone deputising with Richard Paley filling the flanker berth and
Ben Newall replacing Sam Gray in the pack. Despite the changes, ‘Ensians
continued to create space and opportunities, but the visitors buckled down
and defended well for long periods. As the final whistle approached,
Garforth worked their way into the home 22 to pressure the defence. When a
try looked certain, Gillatt pulled off a superb tackle on the line and Lee
O’Donnell held up the would-be scorer as he went over leaving the final
score at 30 – 8.
In this bonus-point win, ‘Ensians can be pleased with a much improved
performance based on a good solid effort from the pack and some
enterprising play from the back division. However, they will be aiming to
step up a gear in the tough away encounter next Saturday against last
season’s promotion contenders, Bramley Phoenix.