Heavy showers gave way to sunshine as 'Ensians took to the field against Wetherby, playing up the slope and into a strong breeze. They were keen to erase memories of last year's away defeat and they got off to a good start with a controlled display in the first twenty minutes which produced a penalty for full back Ben Hatton and a "Chip-over" try for centre Luke Cowdell. The hosts came back into the game with a penalty and unconverted try, but with the elements in their favour in the second half, the visitors stretched their lead with a second penalty from Hatton and tries from prop Greg Jones and No. 8 Rob Arbuckle to come away with a well-earned victory.
Things started well for the visitors when they secured the ball from the kick-off and worked it upfield with prominent drives from props Tony Myers and Greg Jones supported by Arbuckle. The home side infringed and Hatton kicked his first penalty for a 3 - 0 lead on 6 minutes. The 'Ensians front row dominated with hooker Jim Dyson several taking balls against the head despite facing a heavier home pack. Half backs Ieuan Cranswick and Kristian Keinhorst set up a series of back moves allowing lively centre Luke Cowdell to chip over and gather for fine try on 13 minutes, the conversion by Hatton stretching the lead to 10 - 0.
The home pack then began gaining possession allowing their backs to use the wind to gain territory, but sound tackling from centres Nathan Rogers and Cowdell snuffed out dangerous-looking moves from the useful Wetherby backs. Although 'Ensians mounted regular attacks into the wind, the fluency of their earlier play was missing and the hosts were able to capitalise on handling errors. The home side used some powerful runs by their forwards to take play into the 'Ensians 22 where they kicked a penalty following an offside offence on 24 minutes.
The home backs were now beginning to work well together and they found space out on the left for their centre to put his winger away for a try in the corner on 30 minutes. The failed conversion gave the visitors a narrow 10 - 8 as half time approached. At the break Declan Jackson replaced lively winger Greg Knox and the visitors lost no time in pushing play into the opposition half with long kicks from Keinhorst. As the hosts infringed, Hatton kicked his second penalty to take the score to 13 - 8 and the 'Ensians pack put in some powerful drives into the home 22 through locks Ali Campbell and Toby Barltrop with good support from flankers Sam Featherstone and Callum Doherty. From ten metres out, outstanding prop Greg Jones set off on a rampaging run taking three defenders with him to score an excellent try out wide on 49 minutes. The conversion failed, but the lead increased to 18 - 8.
At this stage Ross Myers, Steve Wade and Luke Freer came on as replacements at hooker, lock and fly half respectively. The 'Ensians lineout had functioned well all afternoon with Featherstone, Campbell and then Wade producing quality possession. It was now all attack from the visitors with forwards and backs linking and offloading well and when a Wetherby forward was yellow-carded, the resulting scrum drove the home forwards to the line where No. 8 Rob Arbuckle picked up and forced his way over. Hatton was unlucky with the conversion, but the lead improved to 23 - 8.
Wetherby were far from finished and managed several forays into the 'Ensians half, but decisive tackling kept them out. For their part, the visitors worked hard for the elusive bonus-point fourth try with winger Josh Howarth losing the ball over the line after a weaving run from forty metres. In the closing minutes Wetherby battled their way to the visitors' line, but sound defence kept them out as the final whistle went.
This good all-round performance keeps 'Ensians at joint top in their League alongside Stocksbridge with the latter having the edge in points difference. Next week 'Ensians are at home to Hornsea who are beginning to find form after a wobbly start to the season. In a home fixture, a mix of 'Ensians 2nd and 3rd XV players overwhelmed local rivals Otley Viscounts 84 - 12, having loaned them several players to even up the numbers.
In a home fixture, a mix of 'Ensians 2nd and 3rd XV players overwhelmed local rivals Otley Viscounts 84 - 12, having loaned them several players to even up the numbers.