With Hessle occupying bottom place in the League above 'Ensians, there were high hopes that the home side should manage to come out on top. Although the hosts took the lead after 20 minutes, it was clear that Hessle had a big advantage with weight in the pack and gradually throughout the match this became the key factor. Starved of ball for long periods, the home side struggled to get their match-winning backs moving, but a penalty try for pulling a maul down gave the visitors the much-needed boost to their confidence and they never really looked back on their way to a well-earned victory.
Play was fairly even for the first 20 minutes with the home front row of Ross Myers, James Kear and Ben Copley finding it hard going against their big experienced opposite numbers. What ball they did get was very untidy and half backs Matt Garrett and Luke Freer were struggling to get their backs moving. The Hessle defence coped well as several moves by the home backs came unstuck through crucial passes landing at players' feet, but eventually centre Luke Cowdell jinked his way round three defenders to cross the line in the corner to give the hosts a 5 - 0 lead on 23 minutes.
The Hull side used the breeze to pin 'Ensians back in their own 22 and then with clean ball from the lineout, they set about them with a series of rolling mauls. As one of these was heading towards the line, the referee deemed that it had been pulled down illegally and without hesitation, awarded a penalty try to Hessle to give them a 7 - 5 lead on 30 minutes.
With lock Steve Wade and flanker Sam Featherstone producing a fair amount of ball from the lineouts, the home side were soon back on the attack. With three men in space against two defenders a try looked on for the home side, but an attempt to cut inside was thwarted by a good tackle, Hessle turned over the ball and ran in a fine try under the posts from 60 yards to stretch their lead to 14 - 7 on 33 minutes.
With their confidence growing by the minute, the visitors pushed the hosts back with a series of long licks and then camped on the 'Ensians line. After several drives, a solid scrum produced a push-over try out wide to move the score to 19 - 5 to the visitors just before half time.
After the break 'Ensians set about their task with more enthusiasm, but the lack of accuracy with their passing continued and proved the downfall of several promising moves. Replacement fly half Johnny Ratahi tested the visitors' defence with some thrusting runs, but too often the support was not there. For their part Hessle grew in confidence and showed that they had some speedy backs to use the plentiful supply of ball.
The hosts made good ground though a solid drives from No.8 Lee O'Donnell and flanker Featherstone and for once passes went to hand to allow centre Luke Cowdell to force his way through for his second try. An excellent touch-line conversion by full back Kristian Keinhorst narrowed the gap to 19 - 12 to the visitors on 52 minutes. With this boost, the prospect of the home side turning things around became a possibility, but sloppy passing and missed tackles allowed Hessle to go on the attack again, once more using the rolling maul to good effect. 'Ensians infringed and the Hull side's penalty stretched their lead to 22 - 12 on 64 minutes.
There still seemed plenty of time for 'Ensians to come up with two scores to overcome the deficit, but too often ball was turned over as players ran into the powerful opposition pack presenting the ball in front where it was gratefully snaffled and used to set up counter attacks. Each side was awarded a yellow card for technical offences, but Hessle continued to dominate possession in the set pieces and the loose depriving the home side of chances to get their backs away. Replacement hooker Sam Emmitt injected more energy into the pack, but poor handling and wrong options meant promising situations came to nothing and the visitors played out time with the final score at 22 - 12.
This is a match which 'Ensians should have won, but the hunger didn't seem to be there and they let themselves down through poor handling and a lack of structure for much of the game. However, all credit must go the Hessle who used their big pack to good effect and defended well when it mattered. .
'Ensians 2nd XV lost 22 - 10 to North Ribblesdale 2nds in the Merit League. Scorers for 'Ensians were tries from Sam Emmitt and Ben Hatton.