This Yorkshire Silver Trophy match was originally postponed as neighbours Modernians were due play a re-arranged league match, but when their pitch was deemed to be still waterlogged, the game was back on. Facing the daunting task of playing a side third from the top of the league above, ''Ensians started tentatively and, if anything, afford the opposition too much respect. The game was very close throughout with the lead changing twice before winger Declan Jackson scored a last-minute try to pull off a fine victory.
With a stiff breeze and the ground underfoot soft, the home side used the conditions to move the ball wide through half backs Rob Lofthouse and Luke Freer. They soon discovered that the taller opposition pack had impressive lineout techniques and their catch and drive policy paid off when Mods took the lead with a converted try on to put them 7 - 0 in front on 7 minutes. It was a very different story in the scrums where home the front row of Tony Myers, Jim Dyson and Ross Nichols took control and provided a steady supply of ball to their backs.
'Ensians centres Nathan Rogers and Dom Oddy always threatened and when the ball was whipped out to winger Luke Cowdell, he slid through a gap and then outpaced the opposition cover to score a fine try wide out. The conversion failed leaving the hosts trailing 7 - 5 on 12 minutes. Play then continued with both sides trying to get the upper hand with the visiting pack posing problems with their well-organised driving mauls and the home backs trying to make inroads down the middle. 'Ensians back row of Sam Featherstone, Lee O'Donnell and Ali Campbell were always on hand to put in some fierce tackles and snuff out the danger. Just before the break pressure from the home side paid off and when Modernians infringed, Keinhorst landed a penalty to give the hosts an 8 - 7 lead.
Despite being against the wind in the second half 'Ensians were soon back in the attack and slick inter-passing among their backs put centre Nathan Rogers over on 45 minutes and the conversion by winger Ben Hatton stretched the lead to 15 - 7 to the hosts. Home prop Ross Nichols had some strong runs, but Mods came back strongly with their powerful pack dominating the lineouts and when an miss-cued 'Ensians clearance kick blew backwards, the visitors took full advantage and went over for a converted try on 52 minutes to narrow the gap to 15 - 14.
For the home side Rob Arbuckle came on at No. 8 and Alex Albrecht took over at hooker as the outstanding Lee O'Donnell moved to flanker. Modernians had a set-back when their player suffered what looked to be a serious ankle injury and play was held up for several minutes. The visitors then continued to press using the wind to gain territory as the home side battled to stem the flow. 'Ensians defensive cause was not helped when they had a player sin-binned for a late tackle on 70 minutes. With the home side a man down, Mods continued to dominate play and received their reward when 'Ensians were penalised with five minutes to go. The visiting kicker made no mistake and the home side was now trailing 17 - 15 as the final whistle approached.
As on such occasions in the past, the hosts set about working the ball upfield through good interplay between forwards and backs. The opportunity arose when winger Declan Jackson received the ball in space near halfway and raced away leaving the cover in his wake his pace taking him comfortably round the full back to score in the corner. Although the conversion failed, 'Ensians had now edged in front 20 - 17 as the final whistle went.
This was an even and entertaining game with Mods showing why they are promotion contenders in their league, but, in the end, once more the spirit and determination of the home side carried them through. 'Ensians now face the winner of Rotherham Phoenix v Stocksbridge game at home in the quarter finals of the Silver Trophy on 22nd February. They are back in League action next Saturday at home to Wetherby.