In perfect conditions 'Ensians made a sound start to the season with a convincing win against local rivals Skipton in the Yorkshire Silver Trophy. With Skipton relegated from Yorkshire 2 League last season, the home side did not know what to expect, but on the day the heavier and taller visitors struggled, having no answer to the 'Ensians' lively back division which produced two good tries in the first half. An exemplary kicking display by full back Kristian Keinhorst pumped up the score to 20 - 5 at the break and non-stop tackling restricted the visitors to a solitary penalty when the elements were in their favour.
From the kick-off the hosts tried to move the ball wide, but the tricky wind caused handling problems and it was 10 minutes before they settled in the visitors' half. A good weaving run by lock Steve Wade took play up to the Skipton line and then three minutes later winger Josh Howarth outpaced the cover to go in at the corner. A superb touchline kick from full back Kristian Keinhorst gave the home side a 7 - 0 lead on 13 minutes. He followed this up with two penalties to take the score to 13 - 0 on 20 minutes.
The visitors regularly attempted to open out play through their powerful backs, but the home back row of Dale Kennedy, Lee O'Donnell and Sam Featherstone along with centres Luke Cowdell and Nathan Rogers and hooker Alex Albrecht snuffed out moves with robust defence. In the lineouts flanker Featherstone and lock Wade supplied clean ball and half backs Ieuan Cranswick and Luke Freer got their backs away time and again to test the Skipton defence. A well-worked move in mid-field gave centre Luke Cowdell space and he jinked his way through to run in a fine try from forty yards. Keinhorst's conversion lifted the score to 20 - 0 on 30 minutes.
Skipton stepped up a gear and gained ground through their big pack. From a series of well organised rucks in the home 22 they tested the defence for five minutes before the hosts ran out of tacklers and allowed the visitors to score wide out. The failed conversion left the score at 20 - 5 as half time approached.
Against the wind the home pack got stuck in with some good drives, but indifferent passing in the backs allowed the visitors to capitalize on spilled ball. Skipton converted a penalty to narrow the margin at 20 - 8 on 47 minutes and they then spent long periods bombarding the 'Ensians line with only resolute tacking keeping them out. In among the desperate defence the hosts started giving away penalties and they had to work hard to stifle frequent attacks Things got worse when the referee awarded a yellow card for back chat and the home side had to work even harder...
Winger Rob Lofthouse, centre Dom Oddy and new prop Dominic Hignett came on as replacements and helped to stem the flow until the side was back to fifteen men. Home fly half Luke Freer showed good pace when he cut through in the opposition 22. He chipped the full back, but in reaching out to gather with his fingertips, knocked the ball forward to spoil what would have been an excellent try under the posts.
Skipton dominated possession for lengthy periods, but they had no answer to the all-round solid defence of the home side who in the end came out comfortable winners at 20 - 8. This was a good start to the season for 'Ensians with new hooker Alex Albrecht making an impressive debut and the whole side producing excellent defence throughout against big useful opponents. With limited possession in the second half the hosts had some unnecessary jittery moments when handling was rushed, but their superb spirit and die-hard tackling carried the day.