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Although disappointed to end up losing their first game of the season, this very young Otliensians side can be very satisfied with their competitive challenge against a very much more physically mature and experienced Harrogate team.

The home side dictated play from the kick-off with their pack driving into the visitors’ half and providing quick ball for their fast and enterprising backs. They were presented with plenty of attacking opportunities, but they were held out by committed tackling and determined defence.

It was almost inevitable that their pressure would tell and they scored the first of their unconverted tries in the first five minutes and added a second from a pushover a few minutes later. Their strong pack was dominant and the visitors, starved of possession, also incurred a series of penalties, one of which was converted, to give the home side a lead of 13 – 0 after only 17 minutes of play.

Rather than wilting under this pressure, the visitors fought back and began to win a limited amount of ball which was used to good effect with several promising moves causing problems for the home defence, with their covering and tackling preventing any further score by the hosts.

One of these moves took play to the home line and scrum half Rob Lofthouse skipped over in the corner and carried the ball infield before touching down to make an easier conversion. Unfortunately, the ball hit a post and fell on the wrong side of the bar. This was followed by the half-time whistle which meant ‘Ensians went into the break with the score at 13 – 5 and everything to play for.

In the second half the visitors continued to make effective use of their limited possession whilst denying the home side a further score with their cover
defence and excellent tackling. Fifteen minutes into the half, a Pythons’ player broke away in his own half to outpace the visitors’ defence and score a try under the posts to stretch their lead to 20 – 5. This was completely against the run of play and was not a reflection of the game at that stage.

‘Ensians then fought back and another attacking move saw winger Toby Gillatt rewarded with a try in the corner. The visitors continued to press and when awarded a penalty in the middle of the field, it was converted with an excellent kick by Ieaun Cranswick to result in a final score of 20 – 13, giving ‘Ensians a well-deserved bonus point.

Despite ending up on the losing side, every member of the team is to be congratulated on their spirit and particularly on their committed tackling, which will give them every confidence for future games.


OORUFC 2ndXV 20 pts vs Harrogate Pirates 12 pts

 Harrogate Pythons 208
Mike Wilyman scores a fine try, remarkably retaining the ball from Pete Tempest
as they force their way over

see the photos here!

Ensians enjoyed a great start to the season with a stirring victory over Harrogate in a well fought match played in a good spirit helped by the excellent refereeing by Derek Smith.

Harrogate started like a house on fire their speedy backs throwing the ball from wing to wing and scoring a try after 5 minutes. The “old heads” of Ensians decided that the way to win was to keep control of the ball a tactic they performed to perfection. Alan Garnett ably supported by Ben Smith and Dominic Birkin did great work in the line outs and the pack gained control of the scrums.

After 15 mins Matt Tenniswood scored a superb penalty from 45 yards and 10 minutes later the forwards took control with Peter Bonner Richard Crossley Ben Smith and Alan Garnett to the fore resulting in a fine try by Matt Taylor converted by Matt Tenniswood and making the half time score 10—5 to Ensians.

The 2nd half continued in a similar vein .Harrogate were not giving up and fine defence saved more than one try with excellent relieving kicks from Matt Tenniswood who scored another penalty and who was well supplied by Pete Tempest and supported by Peter Gillson.The moment of the half was when Harrogate were pushed rapidly back in a scrum followed by a brilliant rolling maul resulting in a fine try by guest player Mike Wilyman ,converted by Matt Tenniswood making a score of 20—5 to Ensians. The final move of the match led to a converted try by Harrogate giving a final score of 20—12 to Ensians.

This was an encouraging result against a good team and augers well for the season ahead. Particularly promising were the displays of the younger players Josh Howarth, Dominic Birkin, Mike Moore and Ged Copsey.

It was an entertaining afternoon for players and supporters alike