OORUFC Match Report
18th January 2020


Rotherham Phoenix 26 vs 28 OORUFC
For the second week running a late kick secures the win

'Ensians travelled to Rotherham with a changed team due to injuries and none availabilities..Nathan Jones, Joe Tindall and Jordon Lawrence stepped up from the second team and Matt Peaty returned from injury. All acquitted themselves extremely well in a tight game.

On a cool calm sunny day the visitors started brightly Will Cooper scoring a penalty goal after only three minutes. The Home team came back immediately and scored a converted try to take the lead 7 points to 3.

Play was even for the next 10 minutes but then Luke Cowdell made a telling 50 metre run breaking numerous tackles to take play into the Home 22..The Visitors continued to press and elected to take a scrum for a penalty on the 5 metre line .The scrum was duly won and scrum half Jacob Wragg dived over for an unconverted try to regain the lead by one point.

Play was inconclusive until the 23rd minute when Will Cooper charged down a Home kick just inside the Home half .He picked up the loose ball superbly and passed to Luke Cowdell who made inroads through the defence before passing to Joe Tindall who showed a fine turn of speed from 20 metres to outpace the cover defence to score an unconverted try wide out.

'Ensians relaxed their concentration and two minutes later Rotherham collected the ball in their own 22 and set up a good passing movement resulting in a converted try to take the lead again.

With no further points in the first half the score at half time remained at 14 points to 13 in favour of the Home team.

The second half opened with 'Ensians on the attack. A great scrum in the home 22 moved the Home team back 5 metres, a penalty ensued and Luck Cowdell added the 3 points ' Ensians were getting excellent ball from the lineouts through Sam Featherstone and Keiran Walker and Jay Walsh was prominent in the loose but despite this the backs could not break the Home defence. However it seemed inevitable that Phoenix would score and missed tackles gave them a converted try after 14 minutes.

'Ensians upped their game and a drive by the forwards took them over the line but the ball was not grounded .Despite this foray he Home team remained on top with the Visitors passing and tackling under par.Then from a penalty after 30 minutes Rotherham achieved a 5 metre lineout and the resulting well organised drive gave them a bonus point unconverted try.

It was now 26-16 to the Home team but the Visitors were not going to let it slip. The transformation was electric and with 5 minutes to go a long kick by Olly Eaves resulted in a lineout just outside the 22. The forwards and backs combined well and, the stern Home defence was eventually breached when Luke Cowdell dived over for an unconverted try.

Time was running out but the Visitors were now bursting every gut to get the result. They were awarded a penalty 15 metres out and took the scrum .Moving forward they were awarded another penalty and this time the scrum took them almost to the line. The ball was opened out and Matt Peaty who had shown a good turn of speed throughout the game sprinted over for a try half way out. It was now a draw and with the last kick of the game Luke Cowdell slotted the ball over for the second week in succession to give 'Ensians the bonus point victory by 28 points to 26.

The lead had changed hands no fewer than 6 times in an entertaining game. Rotherham belied their lowly position in the league and took their opportunities when they arose but the last 10 minutes by the fitter 'Ensians saved the day. The cliché "winning is a habit" comes to mind....'Ensians have attained this in the last two weeks and with their high level of fitness this augers well for the rest of the season.

John Churchman


Photos by John Eaves
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