This non-league week saw most clubs involved in Yorkshire Shield or Silver Trophy encounters, but as 'Ensians 1st XV had played their match earlier in the season, they had a blank week.
The 2nd XV travelled to Settle with a mainly young side to tackle a strong Ribblesdale 2nd XV in the Merit League and found it hard going initially as the bigger home side dominated with three tries in the first half. After the break it was a different story with the visitors scoring three fine tries to one more from the hosts in what was a fast and enjoyable encounter.
With lock Ross Nichols deputising as prop, the home pack had a difficult time against much bigger opposition and after 5 minutes powerful driving by the hosts forwards gave them a try in the corner for a 5 - 0 lead. As 'Ensians settled, enterprising play by their backs brought them much more into the game as halfbacks Rob Lofthouse and Tobias Gill moved the ball wide at every opportunity with centres Ben Hatton and Greg Knox making good progress down the middle.
Although the scrum struggled, lock Ole Gulliksen and No.8 Sam Featherstone were getting a good supply of lineout ball and the resulting lively play from visiting forwards and backs had the home side pulling out all the stops to defend. Winger Joe Hatton showed his pace with a weaving run down the right only to be pulled down five metres short.
However, the bulk of the home pack was always a threat and they were able to work their way into the 'Ensians 22 where they battered the line for several minutes before forcing their way over near the posts with the conversion stretching the lead to 12 - 0 on 32 minutes. The visitors then continued to defend heroically and an added setback came when hard-tackling flanker Ken Luu was yellow-carded for what appeared to be a simple offside. The extra man in the scrum opened the door for a push-over try by Ribblesdale making the score 19 - 0 at the break.
The tide turned in the second half as some of the big home forwards tired and the visiting front row of Peter Bonner, Alex Albrecht and Ross Nichols started commanding their own ball as well as taking the occasional ball against the head. Locks Gulliksen and Toby Barltrop put in some strong drives and suddenly it was the lighter visitors who were pounding the opposition line. After a series of close calls, flanker Featherstone dived over half way out and the conversion by Ben Hatton closed the gap to 19 - 7 on 55 minutes.
The visitors continued to spread the ball wide with wingers Joe Hatton and Ieuan Cranswick both making good ground with good support from full back Jonathan Lines. The hosts also had a lively back division and their heavy centre took some stopping. Good interplay by Ribblesdale forwards and backs put their winger away to score near the posts with the conversion extending their lead to 26 - 7 on 65 minutes.
After this the visitors came back strongly with the young back row of Ken Luu, Featherstone and Callum Doherty turning ball over and providing good support for their backs. A loose ball was snapped up on half way by Ben Hatton who rounded the cover to score an excellent try. The conversion failed taking the score to 26 - 12 on 70 minutes. It was now all-out attack from the visitors and with Joe Hatton moving to centre, a sweeping move and a slick pass from Gill allowed him to cut through the middle to race 40 metres to the corner. The conversion was wide, moving the score to 26 - 17 on 75 minutes.
The hosts defended solidly for the last few minutes to round off an entertaining match in which 'Ensians acquitted themselves well with a lively attacking display against much bigger and more experienced side.
Next week the 1st XV travel to Hessle looking for a strong performance to maintain their place at the top of the table.