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OORUFC 2ndXV 22 pts vs Halifax Vandals 7 pts

 Halifax Vandals 074
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.