OORUFC Match Report
7th September 2013

OORUFC 2ndXV 56 vs 15 Northallerton 2ndXV

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This game was originally scheduled as a friendly between 'Ensians and Northallerton, but a Silver Trophy fixture involving Northallerton turned it into 2nd XV contest. In ideal conditions the home side was able to introduce several newcomers and give one or two first-teamers the chance of a first run-out. Although the visitors probably enjoyed a fair share of territory and possession through their heavy pack, it was the lively hosts who ruled the day scoring 10 tries through enterprising play. An encouraging aspect of the afternoon for 'Ensians was the appearance off the bench of centre Johnny Ratahi playing his first rugby since his serious illness in January.

The big Northallerton pack dominated the early exchanges, but as soon as the ball was moved into space by home half backs Rob Lofthouse and Lewis Chick, hooker Alex Albrecht showed his pace and running skills by scoring two tries on 7 and 11 minutes. Despite camping in the home half for several spells, the visitors were halted time sand again by the solid defence of the home back row of Dom Birkin, Rob Arbuckle and Alan Garnett. The home side started gaining good possession from the lineout and they were all over the slower opposition in the loose. The outcome up to half time was a further three tries through centre Nathan Rogers, No. 8 Rob Arbuckle and scrum half Rob Lofthouse. Fly half Lewis Chick had an off day with the boot, but his two conversions took the score to 29 - 3 at the break, with the visitors converting a penalty.

Good interplay between the home forwards and backs then gave centre Tobias Gill chance to cut through for a try, but this spurred on the visitors who used the power of their pack to go over half way out, moving the score to 34 - 10 on 49 minutes. The hosts continued to open out play at every opportunity as Norwegian Ole Gulliksen came on for only his second game of rugby. Northallerton had no answer to the pace and offloading of the young home backs as Chick went over on 56 minutes.

Three further tries came through promising newcomers lock Greg Manning and full back Greg Knox with Rob Lofthouse scoring his second. A conversion by Knox lifted the score to 56 - 10 on 75 minutes, but Northallerton were far from finished and they went over for a try through their powerful pack to make the final score 56 - 15.

This was an entertaining display from 'Ensians with several newcomers showing up well in a fast open game. Despite looking dangerous at times, Northallerton struggled to keep up and the solid home defence put paid to many of their dangerous-looking attacks.

Next week 'Ensians start their league programme with an away fixture against York RI who were relegated from Yorkshire 3 last season.