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Bramley Phoenix 50 pts vs Old Otliensians 12 pts

‘Ensians travelled to Bramley knowing that maximum effort would be needed to topple a side which reached the final rounds of a national competition last season. From the start the home side moved the ball about skilfully and it was continuous defence for the visitors with centres Dom Oddy and Carlos Hassan working hard to keep their opposite numbers at bay. Pressure told and on 6 minutes good backing up produced a try for the hosts near the touchline to give them a 5 – 0 lead.

‘Ensians then buckled down and half backs Tim Rushfirth and John Ratahi took play into the Bramley half. For fifteen minutes they tested the home defence with good interplay between forwards and backs. Flankers Tom Dyson and Sam Featherstone scavenged well at the breakdowns and when Bramley infringed, full back Kristian Keinhorst was just wide with a penalty on 21 minutes. The visitors kept up the pressure and winger Das Cooley was bundled into touch just short of the line.

The hosts then gained good field position with some long kicks and their pacy backs produced wave after wave of attacks. ‘Ensians were having difficulty stemming the flow. Locks Alan Harker and James Findlay were producing some good ball from the lineouts, but the home back row were harassing the visiting half backs. Eventually the pace and power of the Bramley backs produced two well-worked tries on 29 and 32 minutes. In the visiting pack, Tony Myers came on for injured prop Tom Twist, but the home side rounded off the half with another try from their speedy centre to take the score to 24 – 0 at the break.

The visitors were undaunted and played some composed rugby in the opening exchanges to put Bramley under pressure. No. 8 Rob Arbuckle had a good run down the touchline and centres Hassan and Oddy came close running some good angles with replacement winger Toby Gillatt always looking dangerous. Eventually quick ball to fly half Ratahi saw him change direction and scythe his way through to score wide out on 53 minutes. Although the conversion failed, ‘Ensians continued to attack with the front row of Ross Myers, James Kear and Tony Myers working well against solid opposition.

No further score came and gradually the home side gained territory to set up better field positions to create space and opportunities for their lively back division. As the defence started to tire, Bramley ran in two more converted tries on 65 and 70 minutes to stretch their lead to 38 – 5. Not disheartened, the visitors produced some convincing back play to move into the home half. Quick hands from Ratahi and Oddy gave winger Gillatt some space and he jinked round two defenders to score an excellent try half way out. Keinhorst’s conversion took the score to 38 – 12 to the hosts on 72 minutes.

‘Ensians to their credit continued to play open rugby from deep in their own half, but their enthusiasm lead to mistakes which gifted Bramley two further tries in the closing minutes to give them victory by 50 – 12.

In both halves, ‘Ensians produced some decent spells of rugby and scored two good tries, but once they allowed the skilful home backs to get into their stride, they struggled to cope with the pace and slick handling. It was nevertheless a spirited performance by the visitors, but trying to play catch-up rugby as the final whistle approached, ended up allowing Bramley to belatedly boost the scoreline.

OORUFC 2ndXV 24 pts vs Bradford & Bingley 10 pts

 OORUFC 2ndXV vs Bradford & Bingley 3rdXV
Hugh makes a quick return to Chaffers field.
(more pictures here!)

On a dull grey afternoon, ‘Ensians set off at a brisk pace with half backs Michael Philpott and Matt Tenniswood getting the back line moving. After 10 minutes, centre Rob Grey burst through to score wide out and the lead was extended five minutes later when Philpott showed a clean pair of heels round the scrum to score a fine try. The conversion by Tenniswood put the home side in the lead 12 – 0 on 15 minutes.

Bradford and Bingley used their heavy pack to mount attacks, and they were rewarded with a converted try on 20 minutes and they followed this up with a penalty on 25 minutes to take the score to 12 - 10.

Home locks Andy Wood and Ross Nichol were foraging well and the back row of Toby Baltrop, Andy Bower and Mark Fox made life difficult for the visiting half backs. With ‘Ensians gradually getting on top through their livelier pack, centres Rob Grey and Chris Speare were able to put winger Anthony Ball away to round his opposite number and score in the corner moving the score to 17 – 10 at the break.

In the second half Philpott and Tenniswood used their backs at every opportunity and Speare, winger Steve Lofthouse and full back Sean Flesher made good ground. From broken play in the visitors’ half, good interplay between forwards and backs saw No.8 Andy Bower up in support to go over for a well taken try. The conversion by Tenniswood lifted the score to 24 – 10 as ‘Ensians continued to dominate.

Unfortunately, well into the second half, , the referee received a nasty blow when the ball hit him on the head at close range from a powerful clearance kick. He carried on valiantly for a while, but, judging the final outcome not to be in doubt, he decided to shorten the game when the visitors declined the offer of a substitute referee who was running touch.

This was an entertaining game played in a good spirit with ‘Ensians coming out on top through solid tackling and an all-round livelier display.