OLD OTLIENSIANS 46 – WETHERBY 10
The defeat of League
leaders Harrogate Pythons by Old Grovians helped ‘Ensians move up to third
place in Yorkshire 4 after an entertaining and comprehensive victory over
local rivals Wetherby. Despite the winning margin, the hosts did not have
it all their own way for the first 30 minutes with the robust Wetherby
pack making its presence felt and the home back division taking time to
settle. The home side had to defend against some lively attacks by the
visitors before producing more of their trademark open play to come out
well on top.
The exchanges were fairly even for the first quarter with Wetherby using
their big forwards to make progress and their wily experienced scrum half
sniping round the breakdowns at every opportunity. The home front row of
Ben Copley, Ross Myers and Greg Jones held their own in the scrums and
locks Lee O’Donnell and Ali Campbell secured good ball in the lineouts.
Although half backs Ieuan Cranswick and Johnny Ratahi tried to get their
backs away at every opportunity, handling outside them was nervous and the
visitors jumped on these errors to counter-attack.
With ‘Ensians backs looking sharper, they made progress into the visitors’
22 and centre Will Foster landed a penalty on 16 minutes. With the home
backs now beginning to put things together, centre Tobias Gill made a good
break up field, offloaded to the support and then took the return pass to
go over near the posts for a fine try. The conversion by Foster moved the
score to 10 – 0 on 26 minutes.
Wetherby responded with a penalty on 30 minutes, but the home backs were
now in full flow as Ratahi, Foster and winger Luke Cowdell troubled the
visitors’ defence. Full back Kristian Keinhorst came into the line and
after slick hands between forwards and backs, replacement lock Alan Harker
dived over half way out. Foster’s conversion took the score to 17 – 3 at
The home backs showed their intent from the re-start by shredding the
opposition defence to take play up to the Wetherby line. Foster converted
a penalty and then centre-turned-lock Lee O’Donnell was on hand to finish
off good interplay with a well worked try. Foster added the extras to give
the hosts a 27 – 3 lead on 51 minutes.
Luke Freer came on at fly half allowing Ratahi to move into the centre for
the injured Foster. A series of attacks took play up to the Wetherby line
where prop Ben Copley forced his way through for the next try on 63
minutes. Four minutes later winger Luke Cowdell first baffled and then
out-paced the defence for a well-deserved score converted by Keinhorst to
stretch the lead to 39 – 3 on 67 minutes.
With the back row of Dale Kennedy, Rob Arbuckle and Sam Featherstone
regularly turning ball over, the home back division was now in total
control, but delayed or over-elaborate passing squandered several
opportunities. After good work by winger Josh Howarth and replacement
hooker Rob Lyon, lock Ali Campbell broke away to show his pace three
minutes later with a try wide out. Keinhorst’s conversion took the score
to 46 – 3 on 73 minutes.
With the home side keen to break the “50” barrier, some over-enthusiastic
passing in the visitors’ 22 presented Wetherby with an interception
opportunity which they gladly took to make the final score 46 – 10 to the
This was another spirited and entertaining performance from ‘Ensians who
will face sterner tests ahead as they join the battle for promotion.
‘Ensians 2nd lost 44 – 14 to Huddersfield YMCA 3rds in their Merit League
with two tries coming from Steve Grundy.