OLD OTLIENSIANS 15 – KNARESBOROUGH 14
Due to unavailability and injuries, ‘Ensians
took the field with five members of the previous week’s successful team
absent and they particularly missed their two lineout experts. Fighting to
keep clear of the relegation zone, the visitors proved to be tough
opposition and, from building what seemed to be a comfortable lead mid way
through the second half, the hosts ended up struggling as the massive
‘Boro pack began to dominate.
With the breeze in their favour, the home side soon pushed deep into
Knaresborough territory, but normally reliable kicker Kristian Keinhorst
had a bad start by missing two penalties in the first four minutes.
However, good forward play put No.8 Lee O’Donnell over in the corner after
6 minutes for a 5 – 0 advantage.
In the scrums, the home front row of Tom Twist, Ben Tetley and Toby
Barltrop found it hard-going against their bigger opponents. Although they
generally managed to secure their own ball, possession was untidy and half
backs Ieuan Cranswick and Keinhorst struggled to get the ball away, often
leaving centres Joshua Howarth and Dale Kennedy with no room to manoeuvre
against a tight defence.
Despite trying various options in the lineouts, ‘Ensians were starved of
quality ball, but lively wingers Declan Jackson and Josh Hebditch managed
to make ground from the limited chances which came their way. The
visitors’ backs made little headway against a tight defence and they began
to rely more and more on rolling mauls from their massive pack. Although
they threatened on occasions, ‘Ensians were unable to add to their early
try and went into the break with the 5 – 0 lead.
In the second half the hosts began to get more ball through the scavenging
efforts of the back row of Sam Featherstone, Lee O’Donnell and Tom Dyson.
The young lively backs tested the ‘Boro defence and on 44 minutes winger
Josh Hebditch beat his opponent to score a fine try half way out. Ten
minutes later centre Josh Howarth slipped past his opposite number to add
a further try. Neither was converted, but the hosts now had a 15 – 0 lead
on 55 minutes.
Knaresborough were making little progress through their backs and decided
to use the rolling maul every time the ball came their way. With prop Tom
Twist injured and replacement Dale Kennedy the subject of a yellow card
for offside, the home forwards struggled to halt the visitors’ pack as it
trundled downfield. The tactic paid off as the hosts were regularly
penalised for pulling the mauls down and Knaresborough drove over for a
converted try on 63 minutes, narrowing the deficit to 15 – 7.
Just as it looked as if this score would remain, a long kick gave the
visitors a lineout in the home 22 and once more their pack delivered with
a converted try to allow the home side a narrow lead of 15 – 14 as the
final whistle went.
Disrupted by many changes, ‘Ensians found it hard-going with their kicker
having a rare off-day and their pack struggling to get hardly any clean
ball. Their backs defended well and made the most of limited attacking
opportunities to scrape home by the slenderest of margins.
‘Ensians 2nd XV drew 10 all in their Merit League
match away against neighbours
Baildon with a try from winger Dan Ball and a conversion and a penalty
from fly half Matt Tenniswood.