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 Thornensians 207
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With the sun softening the frozen ground, ‘Ensians took to the field with several changes; experienced Richard Crossley filled the flanker berth and Stuart Cockburn returned from injury at full back. After some even early exchanges, the visitors produced an overlap and scored a converted try in the corner on 5 minutes to take a 7 – 0 lead.

The ‘Ensians pack then responded with some strong scrummaging with the front row of Ben Newall, Ross Myers and Michael Groves having the edge. Lock Sam Gray and flanker Sam Featherstone were producing good ball from the lineout and the home pack began to control play, starving Thornensians of the ball.

Good driving by skipper Rob Arbuckle, Sam Gray and Richard Crossley took play up to the opposition line, but robust defence kept them out. When they moved the ball wide, centre Dominic Oddy came close and scrum half Aidan Carr produced some sniping runs. When the visitors infringed, fly half Kristian Keinhorst hit the posts with two penalty attempts.

Sam Gray and Rob Arbuckle were pulled down short and Aidan Carr just failed as he dived over in the corner. The hosts continued to dominate play for some twenty minutes when the opposition hooker suffered what appeared to be a serious back injury. Play stopped for 45 minutes whilst an ambulance came on to the pitch to provide treatment and take the injured player to hospital.

The referee then decided to call half time and play a 50-minute second half. ‘Ensians continued where they had left off and dominated play through their pack. On 40 minutes, Rob Arbuckle was rewarded with a try halfway out after a powerful run. The conversion narrowly failed taking the score to 7 – 5 to the visitors.

On 50 minutes the lively Thornensians backs handled and backed up well to score an unconverted try and followed this with a penalty on 56 minutes to stretch their lead to 15 – 5. Young winger Rob Lofthouse replaced Cockburn at full back, Featherstone moved to the wing and Richard Paley filled the gap in the forwards.

As the home cover began to tire, the visiting backs showed good lines of attack and ran in two tries on 68 and 72 minutes to extend their lead to 27 – 5. Long kicks by home fly half Kristian Keinhorst took play into the opposition 22 and there were good forward drives involving Michael Groves, Ross Myers and lock Alan Harker, but the score would not come. Andy Bower came on in the centre for the injured Dominic Oddy.

As the light faded, Thornensians speedy back division engineered two more tries to take the final score to 37 – 5. ‘Ensians were very much in this game for the first hour, but as they gradually ran out of steam, the visiting back division was able to develop in confidence and dominate the last quarter.


OLD OTLIENSIANS 2ndXV 21pts vs Wharfedale 4thXV 32pts

 Thornensians 168
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After playing little rugby for some weeks ‘Ensians were rather rusty at the start, but still managed to take the lead after 5 minutes with a fine long distance penalty by Matt Tenniswood. Wharfedale had sportingly lent a prop to ‘Ensians to play contested scrums. Wharfedale’s well organised forwards took control of the game for the next 25 minutes and despite solid defensive work by ‘Ensians, the home team were unable to prevent 2 tries from rolling mauls and a third in the corner following a good movement across the , one being converted to make the score 17 points to 3 in favour of the visitors.

‘Ensians then settled down and worked hard together. A further penalty by Matt.Tenniswood boosted their confidence and a great interception try was scored by Ben Smith when he sprinted 50 yards to the line.The conversion and a further penalty by Matt Tenniswood made a half time score of 17 points to 16 in favour of the “green machine”.

‘Dale started the 2nd half by attacking strongly but this was thwarted by fine defence with the whole ‘Ensian team tackling valiantly. Brett Tenniswood and Alan Garnett were gaining good lineout ball and centre Simon Grundy was making telling breaks into Wharfedale territory. However ‘Dale scored a converted try in the 55th minute but ‘Ensians fought back and Pete Tempest scored a gutsy try in the corner to move the score to Ensians 21 - ‘Dale 24.

‘Ensians gave away a penalty and late in the game ‘Dale scored an unconverted try, making a rather flattering final score of 21 points to 32 points in favour of the visitors after a well fought game.