10 pts – Old Modernians 24 pts
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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
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.