‘Ensians produced an excellent performance in this pre-season “friendly” against the local Division 1 side. On a fine sunny evening on the host’s new all-weather pitch the visitors took time to settle as the bigger, heavier home side dominated the early stages. Their extra weight in the pack produced ample possession and they were 8 – 0 in front after the first ten minutes.
For their part the visitors continued playing the fast, open rugby which was their trademark last season. They were soon on the scoreboard with tries from flanker Joe Armitage and lock Matt Taylor and a conversion by fly half Will Cooper gave them a slender lead midway through the three-session match. Keen to run the ball at all times, any penalties which came ‘Ensians’ way were put into to touch whereas the home side chose to go for goal when penalties came their way, with one further success.
It was pleasing to see the experienced Will Foster make a welcome return at full back after several years absent through business and he was rewarded with a fine try following good support play to move the score to 17 – 11 to the visitors. ‘Ensians continued to spread the ball wide at every opportunity and the pace of the game seemed to take its toll against the heavier Keighley XV.
Despite being the first match of the season, the visitors quickly found their stride and were able to put some good moves together as the match progressed with winger Connor Bateman scoring the fourth try to make the final score 22 – 11 to the visitors.
Coach Kris Stafford was delighted with the performance and said, “This great result was one which every player can be proud of and we hope the side will continue the momentum into the start of the season”.
‘Ensians have a joint training session away at Morley on Thursday, 16th August with a similar one at home to Baildon on the 23rd. Their first league match in Yorkshire 2 is at home to Goole on Saturday, 1st September at 3 pm.