OORUFC Match Report
6th April 2013

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OORUFC 34 vs 0 Halifax

Ensians entertained Halifax on a gloriously sunny afternoon knowing that victories in this and the two remaining matches of the season were vital for promotion prospects. After a slow start when the visitors exerted pressure through their hefty pack for the first ten minutes, the hosts eventually slipped into try-scoring mode to produce six good tries and the much needed bonus-point win.

The home front row of Peter Bonner, Ross Myers and Rob Lyon had their work cut out against heavier opposition, but they managed to command their own ball, even though it was untidy at times. The visitors started off with some strong drives by their forwards and they pinned the home side in their own 22, pressuring the line. Good defence by the home back row of Steve Wade, Lee O'Donnell and Sam Featherstone kept the line clear, but there were one or two close calls.

Ensians gradually worked their way up-field and half backs Ieuan Cranswick and Luke Freer started to get their back line moving. Centres Nathan Rogers and Dale Kennedy tested the home defence and eventually a good sweeping move down the left put winger Josh Howarth into space to elude two defenders and go over in the corner for a 5 - 0 lead on 24 minutes.

Halifax responded with some long kicks and play remained fairly even for the next ten minutes. Good rampaging drives by locks Simon Hill and Josh Watts took play up the opposition line where scrum half Cranswick was on hand to burrow his way through wide out, extending the lead to 10 - 0 on 37 minutes. Straight from the re-start the home pack set about their opposite numbers again with some strong runs from Peter Bonner and Lee O'Donnell to pressure the Halifax line. This time it was Simon Hill who blasted his way through for the third try on 38 minutes to stretch the home side's lead to 15 - 0.

Still with their tails up, Ensians were now putting some slick moves together in the backs and from one of these fly half Luke Freer sliced through to go over half way out. Full back Kristian Keinhorst added the conversion for a 22 - 0 lead at half time.

With centre Dale Kennedy picking up a shoulder injury, Lee O'Donnell moved to centre and Matt Taylor came on in the pack. The home side quickly slipped into gear with their backs posing all kinds of problems for the visitors. Centre Nathan Rogers made a good break in mid-field and again the impressive Freer was on hand to continue the move to outpace the cover for his second try on 44 minutes, taking the score to 27 - 0.

At this stage sensing a rout, the Halifax player-coach had serious words with his side and they responded by depriving the hosts of possession for long periods. Ensians were still playing spells of good rugby using clean lineout ball from Sam Featherstone and Steve Wade, but the fluency of passing was not always there and chances were missed. Replacements Sam Emmitt and Ross Nichols came on at hooker and lock and added impetus in the pack. Good interplay between forwards and backs saw flanker Steve Wade go over half way out and Keinhorst's conversion extended the home side's lead to 34 - 0 on 64 minutes.

The visitors were determined to get at least a consolation try and they buckled down in the home 22 and battered the line through their heavy forwards. Superb defence kept them out with the final score remaining at 34 - 0.

After a three week lay-off due to Easter and snow this was a good performance from Ensians once they settled down with fly half Luke Freer on top form with his distribution and two well-taken tries.

Mosborough did Ensians a favour by beating second-placed Harrogate Pythons which moves Ensians up to second place in the League by one point. The big test comes next Saturday when Ensians are away to Pythons in what could be the promotion decider.

Ensians also have an Aire/Wharfe Cup match away at Skipton on Tuesday, 9th April, kick-off 6.30 pm.