22 pts vs Halifax Vandals 7 pts
Photos from the game here!
In a non-league week when attempts to arrange a friendly game for the 1st
XV fell through, the focus was on the 2nd XV Merit match against Vandals.
Starting in a gale and driving rain, ‘Ensians went into the attack from
the off with hard yards from locks Mark Copping and Ross Nichols. When the
ball was moved out, centres Andy Wood and Johnny Ratahi drove hard up the
middle and hooker Ben Tetley was unlucky to lose the ball when good
backing up provided him with a chance.
Continuing to press, the hosts did well to move the ball in treacherous
conditions and centre Andy Wood powered his way through on 15 minutes with
Matt Tenniswood’s conversion giving the home side a 7 – 0 lead. Through
their heavy pack, Halifax came more into the game and showed they had some
determined young backs who could handle. Good backing up allowed their
speedy winger to loop round and go in under the posts to level the score
at 7 – 7 on 23 minutes.
The ‘Ensians pack began to put together some good phases of play with
props Ray Drake and Toby Barltrop gaining ground before lock Ross Nichols
took the offload to force his way over halfway out on 30 minutes. It was
all out attack now from the home side and, with the back row of Alan
Garnett, Andy Bower and Paul Tosney linking well, the backs moved the ball
wide for full back Sean Flesher to go over in the corner. Although both
conversions failed, ‘Ensians extended their lead to 17 – 7 at the break.
With both sides struggling to master the conditions, play became scrappy
and the Vandals pack began to have a bigger say in things. Solid defence
by centres Wood and Ratahi snuffed out attacks in mid-field and
replacement flankers Lee O’Donnell and Dale Kennedy covered well.
Following good positional kicking by Matt Tenniswood, the home pack then
battered the Halifax line for ten minutes with Copping and Chris Myers
coming close, before Ross Nichols seized on a charged-down clearance kick
to touch down for his second try. The conversion failed taking the score
to 22 – 7 after 56 minutes.
Credit must go to the visitors for competing enthusiastically, even though
they were on the back foot for the remainder of the half. Their lively
backs regularly tested the home defence and, although ‘Ensians had further
chances, final passes went to ground and the defence held.
‘Ensians tackled soundly in this entertaining encounter and came out on
top through a solid display from the pack and forceful running from their
centres in blustery wet conditions.