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In this first encounter with a side recently promoted, ‘Ensians knew that they would have to pull out all the stops to stem the tide of recent setbacks. They got off to a good start when full back Kristian Keinhorst landed a penalty from 35 yards to give the hosts a 3 – 0 lead on 3 minutes.

The visiting pack then showed its mettle by forcing a lineout near the home line following a long downfield kick. The catch and drive produced a try for the visitors on 6 minutes and with the conversion, they took a 7 – 3 lead on 7 minutes.

‘Ensians went into the attack through good lineout ball from locks Sam Gray and James Findlay. They pressured the Rotherham defence through centres Dominic Oddy and Carlos Hassan. The home backs made good ground, but a hefty tackle affected an offload allowing the Phoenix winger to intercept and race 70 yards to the line. The conversion stretched the visitors’ lead to 14 – 3 on 12 minutes.

In the scrum, the home side’s pack had all on coping with the bigger opposition, but the front row of Tony Myers, Collum Hanogue and Ross Myers managed to command their own ball. Both sides were spreading the ball wide and an accurate kick ahead by ‘Ensians’ centre Dominic Oddy saw No.8 Rob Arbuckle following up to nail the catcher. The loose ball was snapped up by winger Michael Philpott who ran 30 yards to score in the corner on 24 minutes. The conversion attempt narrowly failed leaving the score at 14 – 8 to Rotherham.

Just when it seemed the home side’s fortunes were in the ascendancy, a missed tackle allowed the visitors backs to attack from deep catching the cover in disarray with a try under the posts, stretching the Rotherham lead to 21 – 8 on 35 minutes.

The response from the hosts was immediate with half backs Tim Rushfirth and John Ratahi working well with centres Hassan and Oddy. Quickly re-cycled ball saw Ratahi make a fine break, he offloaded to Michael Philpott and was then on hand to take the return pass to go over in the corner making the half time score 21 – 13 to the visitors.

After the break, ‘Ensians set about the visitors with more vigour and locks James Findlay and Sam Gray foraged well against their robust opponents with the back row of Lee O’Donnell, Rob Arbuckle and Tom Dyson always in support. However, Rotherham were always a threat and when the home side strayed offside, they converted a penalty to move the score to 24 – 13 in their favour.

Centre Hassan went off with a leg injury on 60 minutes with flanker O’Donnell moving into the backs and Alan Harker coming on into the pack. Territorially, ‘Ensians were well on top, but the defence held out. Kickable penalties were spurned for kicks to the corner, but mistakes occurred, transgressions were penalised and Rotherham were let off the hook.

Skipper Rob Arbuckle went off with a shoulder injury on 68 minutes and James Kear filled the gap in the pack. The home side continued to play enterprising rugby, but the crucial scores to alter the outcome did not come leaving the final score at 24 – 13.

This was a spirited performance by ‘Ensians against a decent side, but again occasional lapses and failure to snatch opportunities cost them dearly in the end.


OLD OTLIENSIANS 3rdXV 37pts vs SELBY 5th XV 0pts

‘Ensians travelled to Selby for an entertaining match winning 37-0 and scoring 7 tries.
The early exchanges were even, but on 20 mins after good work by No.8 Alan Garnett and lock Mark Copping, the ball sped across the backs for winger Tom Broadbent to dive over in the corner.

On 25 minutes, after a great break by Sean Kennedy, Copping barged over for a try converted by Matt Tenniswood. ‘Ensians now gained confidence and scored 3 more tries before half time by Sean Kennedy, Nick Keinhorst and Dale Kennedy giving a half time score of 27—0.

The 2nd half started in similar style with young lock Ross Nicholls, who was having a fine game, barging over for a try.The pack was playing well gaining ball against the head through the front row of Dave Beardsley, Steve Pollard and Peter Bonner. Alan Garnett and Dominic Birkin were outstanding in the lineout. Richard Crossley and Tenniswood had developed a good understanding at half back giving the backs plenty of scoring opportunities. However Selby defended stoutly and there was only one further score, an excellent try by winger Steve Lofthouse after a superb back play.

Selby came close spending 10 minutes in the Ensians 22, but good defending kept them out leaving a final score at 37—0, rewarding the visitors for an open and enterprising display.

The ‘Ensians 2nd XV game at home to Castleford 3rds was called off when Castleford could not raise a side to travel.