For the second home game of the season Ensians faced Burley; another team with momentum, being promoted in the 2019/20 season to Yorkshire 3. Having not won a chaffers field for many years, Burley arrived ready to change the statistics. Their heavy pack dominating the scrums from the start. In the early minutes Ensians had to rely on the excellent tackling from Ryan (Macca) McIlorum, new winger Jamie Kenworthy and young colt Noel Gilson to hold back the initial incursion. With 10 minutes played Burley were awarded a penalty in front of the home sides posts. They weren’t happy to take three easy points, instead opting for a scrum. With a good hold, the ball came to their number 8’s feet cleanly. A quick ‘pick and go’ was the plan. Inches from the line the ball was fumbled backwards, but luckily for the visitors, it bounced off the loose heads heel conveniently for the scrum half, who simply had to gather and fall over the line. An easy conversion for Burley’s fly half, took the score to 0:7 on the 12 minute mark.
Frustratingly whenever Ensians made ingress into Burleys half, the tables were quickly turned due to errors, and any yards made were quickly lost. The points started to mount in the first half, with Burleys excellent flanker putting on the pressure. By the half hour mark Ensians were 21 points down. Just before half time it looked like Ensians might get on the scoreboard. Chasing down a long kick, by vice captain Ollie eaves, winger Leon Saide pressured Burley into making a short defensive touch kick. An ideal position for an Ensians line out, just 10m from Burleys line. The ball was retained only to be lost seconds later. Burley immediately took advantage of the error and their keen eyed centre spotted Ensians wing and full back out of position. A long kick down field proceeded, catching Ensians off guard. After a gallop downfield their second row dribbled the ball over the line to score. The following conversion took the score to 0:28
Frustratingly Burley continued to capitalise on Otliensians mistakes and took another 3 points from a penalty early into the second half, stretching their lead to 31 points.
Perhaps the addition of veteran player Peter Gilson, appearing alongside his son and nephew, helped boost the home sides spirits, as they certainly played with more gusto in the second half, despite the deficit. Driving back up field, young colt Noel Gilson was contentiously robbed of the ball yards from Burley’s try line. The defenders cleared the ball into touch. With the following line out won, Captain Paddy Phipps, drove back towards the visitors try line. Sadly his progress was cut short by a reckless tackle from Burleys second row. Luckily unharmed, a penalty was awarded and Phipps opted for a scrum. The ball had to be moved quickly out, as Ensians were being pushed back. Thankfully fly half, Rob Lofthouse, managed to pop the ball to inside centre Ollie Eaves, who skilfully carved through the defence, to score next to the posts. An easy conversion for Connor Bateman took the score to 7:31.
Despite a few further flurries of excitement for the home supporters, the score sadly remained unchanged for the remainder of the game. The final score didn’t reflect the game on the whole. Burley certainly dominated the first half, but the second half was in Ensians hands. It was good to see some of the first team regulars back in the squad alongside young colts; Noel & Harry Gilson and Leon Saide.