With Knaresborough lying at the foot of the League, 2nd-placed 'Ensians were hoping for a comfortable victory, but after a shaky first ten minutes when the visitors managed to level the scores, they took control and produced a top-drawer display of fast open rugby to rack up a Club 1st XV record score of 78 points to 7.
Under ideal conditions the hosts moved the ball wide from the off through half backs Matt Garrett and skipper Johnny Ratahi to establish a good platform in the visitors' half. From here they spread the ball wide and winger Josh Haworth came close before No.8 Rob Arbuckle battled his way over for the first try on 8 minutes with full back Kristian Keinhorst added the conversion.
From the re-start, Knaresborough turned over ball and took play into the opposition half. From there good backing up and hesitant tackling by the hosts let them in for well-worked try on 10 minutes, the conversion levelling the scores at 7 - 7.
This set-back shook the home side into action and on 14 minutes a sweeping back move allowed full back Keinhorst to join the line and score half way out. His conversion gave the hosts a 14 - 7 advantage. The front row of Greg Jones, Sam Emmitt and Ben Copley had the edge in the scrums and there was a constant supply from the lineout from lock Steve Wade and flanker Sam Featherstone. With this plentiful supply of ball it was more or less non-stop attack from 'Ensians for the remainder of the half. Resolute defence by Knaresborough halted many dangerous moves, but two more tries were added from centre Nathan Rogers and scrum half Matt Garratt on 20 and 30 minutes respectively. One conversion by Keinhorst stretched the lead to 26 - 7 to 'Ensians at the break.
In the second half the visitors had barely time to catch their breath before quick ball across the home back line allowed winger Luke Cowdell to jink round three defenders for his first try. With Keinhorst adding the extras, this moved the score to 33 - 7 on 42 minutes. The home side continued spreading the ball wide and flankers Sam Featherstone and Toby Barltrop were always on hand to tidy things up when moves broke down. Scrum half Garratt sniped round a ruck to score his second on 47 minutes and then good support play gave winger Josh Haworth a well-deserved try on 52 minutes. Conversions by Keinhorst extended the lead to 47 - 7 on 52 minutes.
Keinhorst was temporarily replaced by Luke Freer and the latter was on the end of another move when centre Tobias Gill made a break and put Freer over in the corner on 63 minutes. Lively hooker Sam Emmitt was on hand when play broke down near the opposition line to dribble the ball through and then dive on it to stretch the lead to 57 - 7 on 68 minutes.
Despite the visitors' gallant efforts in defence, they could not stem the flow and winger Luke Cowdell showed his pace and skills by running in three more tries in the last ten minutes, giving him an impressive total of four in the match. Conversions by Greg Jones, Featherstone and Keinhorst took the final score to a record 78 - 7.
In the race for promotion both Harrogate Pythons and Old Grovians also managed bonus-point wins, so 'Ensians remain in second place with two points separating the top three contenders. With some difficult away games after Christmas, 'Ensians are only too aware of the challenges ahead.
'Ensians 2nd XV lost 20 - 8 in an away friendly against an Ilkley 3rd XV.
Scorers were Alex Armitage (try) and Lewis Chick (penalty).