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 Halifax Vandals 1stXV 054
Lee works hard in defence.
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Having been well-beaten when they played away at Halifax earlier in the season, this was always going to be a test of character for ‘Ensians against a side well in the promotion race until very recently. With each side moving the ball wide in perfect conditions, this resulted in an excellent and entertaining game with the home side gradually coming out on top.

Against a much bigger and heavier set of forwards, the home pack combined well as a unit and competed successfully in all phases of play with Peter Bonner joining Dale Kennedy and Rob Lyon and later Toby Barltrop to form a solid front row in the scrum.

The opening phases of play were evenly contested with each side unable to break through a stern defence, but it was the home side who opened the scoring through a penalty by fly half Kristian Keinhorst. This was cancelled out some minutes later by a similar effort from Halifax and when Keinhorst added another penalty Halifax responded to even the score at 6 all on 21 minutes.

The home side continued to attack with Ieuan Cranswick and Kristian Keinhorst combining well at half back providing opportunities for hard-running centres Nick Keinhorst and Nathan Rogers with good support from full back Luke Freer and wingers Ali Campbell and Declan Jackson. After an elusive run, the latter appeared certain to score, but was bundled into touch at the corner flag.

However, further pressure resulted in Matt Taylor, who with Steve Wade formed a hard-working and effective second row, forcing his way over for a try, but the conversion struck the post and fell on the wrong side. Pressure from the visitors was repulsed and half time came with the home side enjoying a slender 11 – 6 lead.

The second half followed a similar pattern with neither side able to dominate until a break down the touchline by Halifax resulted in a try in the corner to level the score and an excellent conversion moved the visitors into the lead 13 – 11 on 52 minutes.

Play moved back into the visitors’ half and although Kristian Keinhorst was narrowly wide with a penalty attempt, he was successful shortly afterwards when the opposition were penalised for a dangerous tackle. With a one point lead, the home side increased the pressure with the back row of Rob Arbuckle, Lee O’Donnell, Sam Featherstone and replacement Tom Dyson prominent in both attack and defence.

This pressure paid off when Luke Freer scored an excellent try after a strong run in which he beat several defenders. The conversion by Kristian Keinhorst gave the hosts a more comfortable 21 – 13 lead on 61 minutes.

The last quarter of the game was played out without further score giving the home side a well-earned victory based on a committed effort and a magnificent team spirit. This was an enjoyable game for the spectators admirably refereed by Jason Cockerill of the East Riding Society.

‘Ensians 2nd XV retained their place at the top of their Merit League with a fine 33 – 17 away win at Halifax Dukes. Tries came from Alan Garnett, Ben Smith (2), Jim Dyson and Dan Ball with Matt Tenniswood adding four conversions.