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OLD OTLIENSIANS 15 – MARIST 5

Having seen Marist beat League leaders Mosborough last week, the hosts knew that it would not be an easy ride against the Hull side. In the end ‘Ensians, with six 1st XV players missing through injury, came out on top in a scrappy encounter and, although they scored two good tries, they saw three more and a bonus point go begging through jittery last-minute handling.

Marist started with the breeze and pinned the home side down in their own half for the first 20 minutes with their massive front row dominating the early scrums and putting together some trundling driving mauls. The hosts tried to move the ball wide at every opportunity, but were thwarted by indifferent passing and some good defence by the Marist midfield. After good forward play the visitors took a 5 - 0 lead when they forced their way over on 19 minutes.

Until then the home front row of Ben Copley, Rob Lyon and Greg Jones had managed to command their own ball against their heavier opponents and flanker Sam Featherstone was producing clean possession in the lineouts. At a ruck a Marist player grabbed Featherstone round the neck and when the latter tried to knock the offending arm away, he was red-carded in what seemed an extremely harsh decision. This blow robbed the hosts of their lineout expert and a lively presence around the field in both attack and defence.

In their trademark fashion, ‘Ensians half backs Rob Lofthouse and Johnny Ratahi continued to move the ball wide, but some over-ambitious long passes failed to go to hand at crucial moments. Winger Pat Cowdell, making his League debut, made several powerful runs and was unlucky not to go over when the final pass went to ground. Eventually centres Nathan Rogers and Dale Kennedy broke through in the Marist 22 and fed winger Josh Howarth who crossed on 32 minutes to level the scores. Play stayed even with the score at 5 - 5 until the break.

In the second half ‘Ensians continued to spread the ball and good interplay between forwards and backs kept play in the opposition half for long periods. Full back Kristian Keinhorst converted a penalty on 46 minutes to take an 8 – 5 lead, but play became scrappy as the heavy Marist forwards tired and resorted to negative tactics, resulting in a yellow and a red card for two of their players. Replacements Ross Myers, Alan Harker and Jim Dyson came on at hooker, lock and wing respectively for the home side as they continued to dominate.

With the visitors under constant pressure, Howarth, Dyson and prop Ben Copley came close, but the much needed score would not come as frustration crept in. Marist continued to be contained in their own 22 for some 20 minutes, but their scrambled defence managed to keep the home side out. At last good inter-passing gave the ball to No. 8 Rob Arbuckle in space and he blasted his way over half way out. The conversion by Keinhorst put the hosts in front at 15 – 5 with ten minutes remaining.

Marist rallied with some good play by their backs to give the home side one or two anxious moments, but the home defence remained rock solid. Lock Lee O’Donnell, prop Ben Copley and young flanker Ken Luu tackled their hearts out to keep final score at 15 – 5. With so many players missing through injury, this was another spirited performance by ‘Ensians against a side who dominated possession in the set pieces.

Next week ‘Ensians are away to Leeds Corinthians in the Yorkshire Silver Trophy and the following week they travel to League leaders Old Grovians in a crucial promotion battle.


In their Merit League ‘Ensians 2nd XV came out on top against Keighley 3rds 17 – 10 with tries by Brett Tenniswood, Ross Ritchie (2) and one conversion by Matt Tenniswood.



 

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