OORUFC Match Report
7th April 2018
OORUFC 26 vs 0 Leeds Medics & Dentists
Click, for more photos from the game (supplied by John Eaves)
After the euphoria of the Vase semi final & a rather awkward mid-week Aire
Wharfe cup match, Old Otliensians were back to the day job of maintaining
their promotion run when they entertained Leeds Medics last Saturday.
Taking lessons from an away defeat earlier in the season, the home side
clearly had a game plan in place for the return. A win was a basic
Two fine, dry days gave way to some Saturday rain which, although not
heavy, was enough to perpetuate what have become tiresome playing
conditions. However, the ground stood up well, the rain stopped and there
was much running rugby endeavour from both sides.
Three tries & two conversions in the first half without reply meant that the
game was secure, save for a Sale-like comeback from the Medics. The
second stage was evenly contested, with no further change on the board until
the 35th minute. Try as they did, Leeds were denied any score by resolute
defence from the ‘Ensians. These days, players are allrounders, with front
row forwards running, passing and tackling and fly halves /threes defending
for their lives as well as getting involved in rucks and mauls. There were
mistakes of course, with no box-kicking, rather backs running the ball from
deep and both teams left points on the pitch. The feeling, though, was that
the home side made sure of the win by determinedly denying the visitors any
chance of getting into the game. A very professional performance from
second in the table.
Medics ran strongly in the early stages, but spoilt things by not looking after
their possession, giving ‘Ensians scrum ball or penalty and so allowing ball
and territory to the home side. From such a clearance, the hosts could have
scored, but were held up over the line. Sam Featherstone was soon
prominent in the line out and it was his team which dominated for a period.
Rob Arbuckle ran hard and fly half Will Cooper interplayed with hand and
boot. From a driving maul from a line out, Jack Smith found the line and 5
points were fair reward after some 15 minutes of play. Play swung from left to
right and vice versa as the home forwards were good at the breakdown and
gave Cooper a supply of front-foot ball. ‘Ensians on top after 20 minutes, with
Medics looking dangerous with ball in hand, but unable to avoid crucial
mistakes in the face of a solid, determined defence.
Pressure from the hosts pinned Leeds on their own line and the latter
persisted in trying to run out of defence, making costly mistakes in the
process. An ‘Ensian penalty saw a scrum option, ball lost and then regained
and from a Cooper dummy/outside break, a well-timed pass put centre Eaves
over by the posts. Cooper’s conversion moved the board up to 12-nil at the
half hour mark. Medics enjoyed a period of possession and moved the ball
through their threes, but simply failed to finish off and so remained scoreless.
The home side were able to pressure them and forward passes and handling
errors were frustrating Leeds. From a promising three-quarter move by
Medics, a pass was too high and was headed by the would-be receiver into
‘Ensian hands. Inter passing finally found centre Luke Cowdell with an easy
15 metre run-in to the posts. Cooper improved and a half time score of 19 to
nil was satisfying to the home side, if disappointing to the visitors.
The second half was a somewhat strange affair; both teams had plenty of
ball, both teams tackled resolutely, both teams made mistakes, there were
penalties galore and nobody had points to show for it until in the 30th minute,
when ‘Ensian pressure eventually led to space for Eaves, who ran hard and
timed his pass perfectly for Featherstone to cross unopposed under the
posts. Cooper, who had a good match (and a very creditable tackle count),
added the conversion to bring the final tally to 26 unanswered points. The half
time lead had been carefully preserved, with Medics allowed no way back
and an almost pragmatic bonus try from the hosts to maximise the win. The
skipper and Ali Campbell were dominant in ‘Ensians line out, Paddy Phipps
prospered in the 6 shirt, but the squad overall made sure that the path to
promotion remained on course. The “finishers” all made a difference and with
the return of some who were missing yesterday, all looks in good shape. The
hope is that Rob Arbuckle’s departure after 25 second half minutes proves
not to be serious.
Baildon under lights on Wednesday next ensures that there is no let-up!