OLD OTLIENSIANS 12 – HALIFAX VANDALS 35
bottom-of-the-table clash provided a good opportunity for ‘Ensians to move
away from relegation territory, but they were let down by an indifferent
performance in the second half.
Starting against the elements, the hosts had a setback after 2 minutes
when full back Kristian Keinhorst injured his hand with his first touch of
the ball, Carlos Hassan coming on as replacement. With the wind at their
backs, Halifax made all the running in the first 20 minutes with a penalty
and two tries, one of which was converted, giving them a 15 – 0 lead.
The home side then began to get more into the game with some good runs by
centres Johnny Ratahi and Dale Kennedy, well supported by young wingers
Josh Butterill and Jed Copsey. Ball from the scrums and lineouts was
untidy, but the ‘Ensian pack gradually asserted itself and good support
play gave hooker Rob Lyon a try on 22 minutes. The home pack worked hard
to gain territory with locks Sam Gray and Alan Harker putting in the hard
graft. Quick ball from lively scrum half Rob Lofthouse allowed centre
Ratahi to cut through for a fine try on 34 minutes. The conversion reduced
Vandals’ advantage to 15 – 12 at the interval.
In the second period, the expectation was that ‘Ensians would use the wind
to establish themselves in the visitors’ half and step up the pressure.
The front row of Tony Myers, Rob Lyon and Michael Groves were competing
well for the ball, but too often possession was untidy. Consequently, this
put half backs Rob Lofthouse and Matt Tenniswood in difficulties as they
were harassed by the Halifax back row.
Again in the lineouts, ‘Ensians jumpers Sam Gray and Sam Featherstone were
reaching the ball, but the result was too often scrappy. With frustration
creeping in, mistakes began to occur and tackles were missed allowing
Vandals to score three well-worked tries on 53, 60 and 70 minutes. A
conversion and a penalty pushed the score to 35 – 12 to the visitors.
This was another occasion where ‘Ensians were well in the game at half
time only for their efforts to fade badly after the break. With several
games being postponed due to frost, there are still many matches to be
played, but this was an opportunity missed.