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OORUFC 1stXV 31 pts vs Baildon 16 pts

Baildon 212
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This encounter with local rivals Baildon had an extra edge as the ‘Ensians coach, Carlos Hassan, was coaching at Baildon last season and, in addition, they have been recruiting ambitiously during the summer months. In dry conditions with a cool breeze, the visitors started confidently moving the ball wide early on only to meet stiff defence from home centres Dominic Oddy and Hassan. A kick into the corner and a hurried clearance by the hosts set up a rolling maul near the home line and Baildon drove over to give them a 5 – 0 lead on 9 minutes.

From the re-start, ‘Ensians took play deep into the visitors’ half with some strong support play from the back row of Lee O’Donnell, Rob Arbuckle and Tom Dyson. Miss-moves and angles from fly half John Ratahi and his centres soon had the Baildon defence at sixes and sevens with winger Toby Gillatt coming close. The home side continued to apply pressure and on 24 minutes, fly half Ratahi stepped round two defenders to score a fine try near the posts, with full back Kristian Keinhorst adding the conversion.

Two minutes later, a spilled ball from the Baildon backs allowed Hassan and Oddy to give the ball to winger Gillatt in space. The visitors’ cover appeared to anticipate no threat as they made to shepherd this wiry figure into touch, he smartly rounded one of them and left the other clutching at air as he scorched forty yards down the touchline to score in the corner. Keinhorst’s conversion attempt failed, but his earlier one lifted the score to 12 – 5 to the hosts on 28 minutes.

Baildon came back using their backs to produce some enterprising moves which took play into the home 22. The ‘Ensians front row of Ross Myers, James Kear and Tony Myers were beginning to have the edge in the scrums and lock Sam Gray was taking some clean ball in the lineouts to keep the visitors at bay. The home side then saw two gilt-edged scoring opportunities come to nothing with crucial passes going astray. Just as the half time whistle approached, the hosts infringed in front of their posts and a Baildon penalty moved the score to 12 – 8 to the home side.

In the second half, Michael Philpott replaced the injured Gillatt on the wing and Collum Hanogue came on at hooker for Kear. Baildon continued with some convincing back play, but with Hassan confidently orchestrating the home defence, the line was never seriously threatened. However, a series of penalties against ‘Ensians pushed play into their 22 where the visitors again landed a penalty to narrow the lead to 12 – 11 on 44 minutes.

For the next ten minutes, the home pack gradually took control with locks James Findlay and Gray making the hard yards. Arbuckle produced some of his rampaging runs and flankers Dyson and O’Donnell made serious inroads into Baildon territory, regularly turning over Baildon ball. On 55 minutes a series of pick-and-drives took play up to the visitors’ line and quick ball from scrum half Tim Rushfirth and Ratahi put centre Oddy over near the posts with Keinhorst adding the extras to lift the score to 19 – 11.

O’Donnell replaced Hassan in midfield and youngster Sam Featherstone filled the flanker berth. Again, the home pack battered at the opposition line with Findlay and Arbuckle coming close before Featherstone burrowed his way through. Keinhorst’s conversion made the score 26 – 11 on 65 minutes. Five minutes later more good interplay between the home forwards allowed hooker Hanogue to smash his way over to increase the margin to 31 – 11.

To their credit, Baildon came back using the breeze to gain territory and for the last ten minutes they put pressure on the hosts in their 22. A speculative punt towards the home line and a mis-judged catch gave Baildon a second try on 79 minutes to leave the final score at 31 – 16 to the hosts.

This was ‘Ensians’ best performance so far this season being based on a good solid effort from the pack supported by strong defence and confident, creative play from the backs.



OORUFC 2ndXV vs Roundhegians

 Baildon 058
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