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OORUFC 1stXV 10 pts – Old Modernians 24 pts

OLd Modernians 003
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‘Ensians started against a cold wind and their pack soon gained ground with some robust drives by skipper Rob Arbuckle and locks Alan Harker and Andy Bower. They took play up to the Mods’ line and, after prop Tony Myers and winger Jed Copsey came close, Rob Arbuckle blasted through for a try wide out, the failed conversion giving the hosts a 5 – 0 lead on 5 minutes.

The home pack continued to dominate in the loose with flankers Sam Featherstone and Dale Kennedy to the fore. The visitors gradually got a foothold in the game and showed that their back division had pace and skill. There was a setback for the hosts when the referee yellow-carded the ‘Ensians hooker for not releasing in the tackle when he had barely reached the floor. In addition, home centre Dom Oddy had to leave the field with a leg injury to be replaced by Toby Gillatt

Modernians then built up the pressure and good interplay produced a try near the posts with the conversion providing a narrow 7 – 5 lead on 23 minutes. The home side stepped up the pace and half backs Rob Lofthouse and Carlos Hassan managed to get their backs moving and centre Gillatt made good ground up the middle. A penalty produced a lineout near the Mods line and clean ball from Featherstone set up a driving maul for Collum Hanogue to force his way over under a pile of bodies. The conversion attempt by Nick Keinhorst narrowly missed, giving the home side a 10 – 7 lead on 32 minutes which they maintained until the interval.

After the break, ‘Ensians again pressed through their lively pack and Keinhorst was unlucky to see his penalty hit the upright on 44 minutes. The visitors showed their pace in the backs and on 50 minutes their scrum half made a telling break to link up with his centre who scored half way out. Several transgressions by the hosts were penalised and pressure built up in the home 22 resulting in another try for the visitors on 55 minutes to move the score to 17 – 10 in their favour.

The home side was far from finished with Richard Crossley and Michael Groves coming on as replacements for Sam Featherstone and prop Ross Myers. The pack continued to trouble Mods with some strong driving play, but too often valuable ground was lost through penalties or hurried passing. For their part, Modernians were always on the look out to mount speedy counter-attacks.

In the final minute, looking to perhaps scrape a draw, the home backs tried to run the ball from deep. Unfortunately, a grubber kick misfired and the visitors scooped up the ball to run in the final try followed by a conversion to give them a 24 – 10 victory.

Again for large parts of this contest, ‘Ensians put together some good spells of rugby and, as the Modernians coach commented, the final scoreline flattered his side. With one or two players coming back from injury, more consistency coupled with a tightening of discipline, should enable ‘Ensians to build on this encouraging performance.