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Northallerton 1stXV 36 pts vs OORUFC 1stXV 11 pts

Northallerton has been the scene of only rare successes for ‘Ensians over the years and on this occasion the heavy, well-drilled home pack eventually took control, despite a plucky performance from the visitors. Fly half Will Foster made a welcome return for Otliensians after a spell away from rugby due to family commitments and he quickly struck up a good understanding with scrum half Rob Lofthouse to get their backs moving.

In the lineouts, Ben Tetley started producing quality ball and centres Dale Kennedy and John Ratahi used the slope to make good ground and test the home defence. The visiting pack worked hard against their bulky opponents with locks Alan Harker and Andy Bower grafting well. Full back Nick Keinhorst joined the line to create opportunities and young wingers Jed Copsey and Josh Butterill had good runs.

In the first 30 minutes, the visitors had the edge territorially, but the only reward for their efforts was a penalty by Foster. As half time approached, Northallerton managed work their way into ‘Ensians 22 and a series of driving mauls produced a try near the posts which, with the conversion, gave them a 7 – 3 lead at the break.

Carlos Hassan replaced injured full back Keinhorst and it was now ‘Ensians’ turn to defend up the slope. The back row of Richard Crossley, Alan Garnett and Sam Featherstone tackled tirelesly, but the hosts landed a penalty on 44 minutes followed by a converted try on 52 minutes to stretch their lead to 22 – 3.

The visitors gained ground through good runs by Rob Lofthouse, John Ratahi and Dale Kennedy to test the home defence. Will Foster converted another penalty and then on 62 minutes, a clever lineout move saw Andy Bower weave his way through the opposition pack to score wide out. Although the conversion failed, ‘Ensians were now back in the game trailing 22 – 11.

The visiting front row of Rob Lyon, Ben Tetley and Ross Myers had been coping fairly well with their heavier opponents, but at this stage the hosts introduced two even bigger replacements and life became very difficult in the engine room. As the ‘Ensians pack started to tire, the home side relied on their trademark driving mauls to gain momentum and pressure the visitors, resulting in two converted tried on 68 and 76 minutes, taking the final score to 36 – 11.

‘Ensians put together some good phases of rugby in this spirited display, but in the end, the size and experience of the Northallerton pack gradually dominated events, scoring four of their five tries.


OORUFC 2ndXV 10 pts vs Ilkley 3rdXV 7 pts

Ilkey 3rdXV 117
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This local derby provided a very entertaining afternoon for players and spectators alike with ’Ensians just managing to come out on top. For the hosts, flankers Brett Tenniswood and Dominic Birkin provided a steady supply of lineout ball and half backs Ben Smith and Matt Tenniswood spread the ball wide at every opportunity.

However, Ilkley were always a threat and their experienced back division produced a well-worked try on 15 minutes, the conversion giving them a 7 – 0 lead. The home back row of Brett Tenniswood, Birkin and Richard Freeman was causing problems for the visiting backs. Freeman intercepted a loose pass and raced from his own 22 up to the try line where the cover managed to pounce on him. He went over the line, but the referee adjudged it to be a double movement. 

However, Freeman got his reward a few minutes later when he used his pace to slice through wide out, reducing the Ilkley lead to 7 – 5 on 35 minutes. After the break, both sides put together some clever passages of play and the visitors came close on a number of occasions. On 60 minutes, home fly half Matt Tenniswood hoisted a searching kick upfield from his own 22. Centre Toby Gillatt raced after it and after a well-controlled dribble, the ball bounced kindly for him to dive over in the corner. The failed conversion left the hosts with a slender 10 – 7 advantage which they managed to hold onto. 

Both sides continued to play open rugby and there were a few close calls as Ilkley applied the pressure, but good defence by centres Andy Hayward and Steve Grundy along with full back Sean Flesher kept the line clear. ‘Ensians came out on top through enterprising play and sound defence, but both sides deserve credit for their lively and spirited performances.