OORUFC Match Report
18th February 2017


Harrogate Pythons 5 vs 37 OORUFC

On a pleasant mild day on a good wide pitch ideal for open rugby 'Ensians played up the slight slope with the benefit of the breeze in the first half.

The visitors attacked from the start and spent the first seven minutes in the Home 22 until the home team made a 70 metres run by their speedy winger following a missed tackle to take play into the away 22.However 'Ensians came back strongly, following a turnover in their favour, to return to the home 22.'Ensians nearly scored when a neat pass to Alex Murphy saw him tackled one metre short .The visitors remained camped in the home 22; with Rob Arbuckle getting close after gaining a lineout "against the head" .The home defence was sound and soaked up the pressure.

With 20 minutes gone the 'Ensians scrum was under intense pressure, the Pythons got good ball and for the first time in the game moved the ball smartly across the backs for the winger to score an unconverted try in the corner. Not to be outdone ,The visitors came back strongly aided by great lineout ball gained on the home throw by Sam Featherstone and Oli Cooper and apart from one foray by the Pythons into the 'Ensians 22, which was relieved by a fine 50 metre move by Kristian Keinhorst , Luke Cowdell and Olly Eaves, the rest of the first half was played in the home half.'Ensians came close time after time but could not breach the Harrogate line ,until in the 40th minute ,Following a sterling effort by the whole team with Olly Eaves and Paddy Phipps to the fore the ball was off loaded to Jack Smith who used his power and strength to crash over for a equalising unconverted try to make a half time score of 5 points each.

The second half began where the first half ended, with James Smith forcing his way down the slope and passing to Luke Cowdell but a good Pythons' tackle saved the day..Joel Wakeman had come on to solidify the scrum and immediately the visitors won a scrum against the head.'Ensians also took the home lineout ball on 2 occasions and Will Cooper caused the home defence all sorts of trouble. However after 10 minutes the home defence cracked when following a 5 metre scrum Captain San Featherstone charged down the clearance and neatly controlled the ball to score an unconverted try wide out to give the 'Ensians the lead. The next 10 minutes saw some great rugby from 'Ensians with forwards and backs combining well and the ball passing smoothly along the line. On 20 minutes the home team moved into the visitor's territory for the first and as it turned out the only time in the half but 'Ensians broke away and a great run by Alex Murphy moved play back into the visitor's half. The defence had to crack and after 25 minutes following a scrum Rob Arbuckle barged over for a try to make the score 15 points to 5.

For the next 10 minutes the visitors mounted waves of attack with forwards Jack Smith John Offer and Michael Groves working hard to give the ball to the backs who were only thwarted by last ditch defence...Inevitably the defence tired and from a great 10 metre scrum with the forwards driving the home team backwards Rob Arbuckle scored his 2nd try (20 points to 5).

'Ensians were now rampant and the plucky Harrogate team exhausted .The team was combining superbly with the backs being given a surfeit of ball .Kristian Keinhorst jinked past 3 players and slipped the ball to Will Cooper who went over for a try and following the restart a 50 metre attack saw Lewis Robinson tackled just short .Then after 30 minutes the ball passed along the line for Connor Paley to score a lovely try (30-5).

Finally as the final whistle beckoned Rob Arbuckle, Paddy Phipps and Michael Groves combined as if they were backs for Michael Groves to score the 7th try which was converted by Will Cooper to make a final score of 37 points to 5 .This was a most entertaining game with a hard forward contest combined with fine open play by the whole team and good defensive play by Harrogate Pythons who never gave up.