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Stanley Rodillians 9 pts – OORUFC 7 pts

‘Ensians travelled to Rodillians knowing that although their opponents languished
at the foot of the table, they had put in decent performances on occasions over the
past couple of months. The visitors started off well enough with the slope and a gale-
force wind at their backs, but the single converted try they scored in the first half was
nowhere near enough to hold out a side hungry for their first win with the elements in
their favour.

Playing downhill, ‘Ensians soon established themselves in their opponents’ half. Ball
from the scrums and lineouts was untidy, but half backs Rob Lofthouse and Kristian
Keinhorst got their backs moving and centres Nathan Rogers and Ali Campbell
made good ground down the middle. Young winger Luke Cowdell showed his power
down the left flank and when play moved across field, he was there to link up and cut
through in style for a try near the posts with Keinhorst converting for a 7 –0 lead on
17 minutes.

Rods’ sizeable pack developed an effective pick-and-drive response up the slope
and ‘Ensians struggled to get clean ball from the scrums. Although the visitors
launched some promising moves, either the home defence held or hurried passes
went astray. Kickable penalties were turned down for line kicks to gain position, but
scrappy possession and slow ball gave time for the home defence to re-group.

At the break with a slender 7 point advantage, the visitors knew that they had to
make full use of limited possession to maintain their advantage. Using the wind and
the slope, Rodillians camped in the visitors half for long periods, but strong tackling
from the ‘Ensians back row of Sam Featherstone, Rob Arbuckle and Tom Dyson kept
the line clear.

The visitors mounted several promising attacks up the slope with Rogers and
Cowdell testing the defence. Arbuckle made a good break up the right flank, but
his pass to the support was knocked on and the opportunity was lost. The hosts
converted a penalty on 55 minutes to move the score to 7 – 3 and Keinhorst narrowly
failed with one against the wind.

The game was now becoming increasingly disorganised and the visitors struggled
to try and make something of scrappy possession. Rods landed another penalty on
70 minutes to narrow the score to 7 – 6. ‘Ensians forwards put in some good drives
with locks Matt Taylor and Lee O’Donnell and flanker Tom Dyson to the fore, but
turnovers saw the ball booted 60 yards back downfield.

Centres Cowdell and Rogers put together some promising moves, but fierce home
defence saw they came to nothing. With the final whistle approaching, the visitors
conceded a penalty 45 yards out towards the touchline and the Rodillians’ trusty
kicker stepped up to put his side in the lead at 9 – 7 on 75 minutes.

This remained the final score to the relief of the home supporters and the extreme
disappointment of the visitors. ’Ensians had only themselves to blame in not building
up a bigger margin when the elements were in their favour and then by allowing
themselves to be drawn into a scrappy error-strewn second half where teamwork and communication were sadly lacking.

OORUFC 2ndXV 19 pts –Huddersfield YMCA 3rdXV 14 pts

Huddersfield YMCA 3rds 331
Click the Pic for more photos!

‘Ensians 2nd XV retained their place at the top of their Merit League with a 19 – 14
win over Huddersfield YMCA 3rds.