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OORUFC 8pts v Old Grovians 27pts

Arby barges over for Ensians only try
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With neighbours Grovians being contenders for promotion this season, ‘Ensians knew that they would have to perform at their best to pull off a victory. In the end, they competed well in the first half, but then fell away after the break against the elements.

The hosts started well taking play into the visitors’ half and camping on their line for several minutes. A loose pass was snapped up by the Grovians backs and they produced a well-worked try on 16 minutes to take a 5 – 0 lead. The home side were doing better than usual for ball with lock Sam Gray and flanker Sam Featherstone controlling the lineout and the front row of Ross Myers, Rob Lyon and Toby Barltrop having a slight edge in the scrums.

On 20 minutes, Old Grovians strayed offside and fly half Kristian Keinhorst converted a penalty to narrow the lead to 5 – 3. The home side mounted several promising attacks with centres Nathan Rogers and Michael Philpott making forceful runs, but the visitors’ defence was solid. Grovians were also quick to counter attack through their strong-running backs and at the break, the score remained at 5 – 3 to the visitors.

In the second half skipper Sam Gray went off with an ankle injury with Alan Harker coming on as replacement and Tom Twist replaced Rob Lyon in the front row. From the re-start, the visitors used the strong wind to push the home side back into their 22 and a slick move gave Grovians a converted try on 43 minutes to stretch their lead to 12 – 3.

‘Ensians buckled down against the elements, but they were finding the visitors’ back division a handful. After defending well for the next fifteen minutes, the hosts suffered a set-back when a player was yellow-carded for showing dissent on 55 minutes. Grovians immediately took advantage and ran in a good try on 58 minutes. The hosts then started trying to play catch-up rugby and a loose pass in attack gifted the visitors another try five minutes later. Although neither try was converted, ‘Ensians were now behind at 22 – 3 on 65 minutes.

The home side came back strongly and robust driving play by Barltrop, Myers and Harker took play into the visitors’ 22. After a series of rucks, No. 8 Rob Arbuckle went over half way out for an unconverted try to reduce the deficit to 22 – 8 on 70 minutes. ‘Ensians were now moving the ball wide at every opportunity, but this made them vulnerable and a handling mistake let in the visitors for their final try on 76 minutes to make the final score 27 – 8.

This was a game where ‘Ensians had enough ball to force a much closer result, but they were not consistent enough and, against a very competent side like Grovians, they paid the price.

The ‘Ensians 2nd XV pulled off a narrow 15 – 14 away win away at Harrogate Pirates.