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On a cold grey evening ‘Ensians faced local rivals Baildon in the quarter final of the Aire/Wharfe Cup and from the start they went into the attack through half backs Mark Coultas and John Ratahi. The visitors had a heavy pack, but the home front row of Tony Myers, Rob Lyon and Ross Myers managed to control their own ball.

Several promising thrusts by centres Will Foster and Lee O’Donnell took play into the visitors’ 22 and quick hands put O’Donnell through for a try half way out on 7 minutes. More enterprising back play involving wingers Richard Goakes and Toby Gillatt allowed O’Donnell to slice through for his second and a conversion by Foster took the score to 12 – 0 to the hosts on 12 minutes.

Baildon were still very much in the game and they used their powerful pack to work the ball downfield and launch their lively backs. The home back row of James Holland, Rob Arbuckle and Collum Hanogue foraged well and Sam Grey commanded his own ball in the lineouts and also managed to snaffle some of the oppositions’. Fly half Ratahi was having a fine game and he set his backs in motion again to allow young winger Gillatt to show his pace up the right wing. When he was stopped short of the line, fullback Kristian Keinhorst was backing up well to go over wide out on 23 minutes. With no conversion, the score stood at 17 – 0 to the home side.

Both sides had chances leading up to the break as they continued to move the ball about and Baildon’s tight five forwards made their presence felt with some strong drives, but home flankers Holland and Hanogue were able to stem these with several turnovers.

After the break and with the breeze behind them, the visitors unleashed several promising back moves, but the home defence held and in a swift counter attack through locks Sam Gray and Chris Howells, flanker Holland dummied his way through from 30 yards to score near the posts on 50 minutes with Will Foster converting. Scrum half Sam Clewes, returning from injury, replaced Coultas and Ben Newall and Andy Bower came on for Tony Myers and Rob Arbuckle respectively.

Otliensians now had their tails up and both forwards and backs linked up well to set up another try for Holland which, with Foster’s conversion, lifted the score to 31 – 0 to the home side on 62 minutes. Baildon still came back strongly and battered the home line on several occasions, but they could not breach the solid ‘Ensians’ defence.

For the remainder of the match both sides had chances, but defences held firm and ‘Ensians came out convincing winners at 31 – 0. Although Baildon produced a gutsy performance, the home side generally had the edge with some enterprising play by their backs coupled with a determined robust effort by their pack which carried the side through for a well-earned victory.

In the draw later in the evening, ‘Ensians learned that they are away to League leaders Roundhegians in the semi-final on Tuesday, 20th April, kick-off 6.30 pm.