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With Rotherham Titans hosting Doncaster on the main pitch, the match was played on a quagmire in a nearby park making constructive rugby very difficult. Rotherham had a much bigger, experienced side and they scored two converted tries on 5 and 9 minutes as the visitors were still settling down.

Despite the treacherous surface, the ‘Ensians front row of Michael Groves, Ross Myers and Tony Myers held their own against heavier opponents and half backs Richard Crossley and Matt Tenniswood used long kicks to gain ground. When the ball did go out, centres Kristian Keinhorst and Carlos Hassan started to make headway against their opponents. On the wings, Dan Ball and newcomer Jed Copsey did well to deal with kicks-through in the slippery conditions.

Peter Tempest came on for injured lock Ben Newall and put in some strong tackles alongside scrum half Richard Crossley. In the lineouts, Alan Garnett and Sam Feathersone competed well, but ball tended to be untidy and difficult to get away.

The well-organised Phoenix pack worked well with their back division to score two more tries on 18 and 25 minutes taking the half time score to 26 – 0 in their favour.

In the second half, the visitors used-close passing to move forward and centre Hassan had some good runs. At full back young Rob Lofthouse fielded kicks confidently and made two try-saving tackles, as well as starting off some adventurous counter-attacks.

On 48 minutes the hosts went over for another converted try, but ‘Ensians responded with their best period of play with lock Ross Nichols and flanker Dominic Birkin putting in some strong drives against their bigger opponents. Crossley moved the ball from a ruck and quick hands from Tenniswood and Hassan saw prop Tony Myers force his way over in the corner on 64 minutes to move the score to 33 – 5 to the home side.

Stephen Lofthouse came on for the injured Nichols and joined in some robust defence with Richard Crossley leading the way with some telling tackles. Rob Lofthouse raced up the touchline and his kick ahead saw speedy winger Jed Copsey just fail to beat the cover to the touchdown.

Rotherham scrambled over for another try on 72 minutes to extend their lead to 40 – 5 and ‘Ensians battled away until the final whistle. In the appalling conditions and fielding a much-changed side, ‘Ensians can take credit for a very gutsy and spirited performance for the full eighty minutes.