Conditions couldn’t have been better for the first game of the season, against Nestle Rowntree.
Following the sad loss of Club President George Leach only a few days before, many old faces came down to Chaffers Field to support the ‘Lads’ on their return.
New coach Andy Hinchcliffe was welcomed to the Club, along with new player Jack De Ath, and returning winger Declan Jackson.
It was a convincing win, with seven tries and five conversions scored. This first game will give Hinchcliffe plenty of ‘food for thought’ on where improvements can be made, to ensure this is the promotion season.
Rowntree made themselves known throughout the match, despite not making it over the line. They scrummaged very well, with their excellent hooker making key yards, either in the scrum, or with ball in hand. Their pacey full back defended valiantly, but the constant wave of pressure from the home side was too much to hold back.
Captain Sam Featherstone was excellent in the air, securing every line out, and facilitating quick ball out to the backs.
The whole team played well, with outstanding performances from Harry Bentley, Ethan Heade and Jay Walsh.
‘Ensians now need to focus on post summer fitness training, and defence. On more than one occasion, Nestle were given space to build up a head of steam, instead of cutting their advances short.
We need to be firing on all cylinders when we meet old rivals, Knottingley, at the end of the month.
An exciting start to the season but also a sad time for the club as we mourn the passing, but celebrate the lives, of three great men who were massive supporters of the club and of grassroots rugby.
Before kick off, the team and supporters, observed a minute’s applause for the late greats George Leach, Norman Coates and Noel Dykes.
We started the season, September the second,
The grass newly cut,
A glorious day and good rugby beckoned.
The crowd as we thought, filled three sides of the ground,
The visitors too,
Between me and you
Stood confident, brash, to win I'll be bound.
If England are boring, pampered souls so they be,
Not here, not at all,
Both sides run the ball.
The try line's down there, that's the aim, don't you see.
Excitement a'plenty, thrills and spills on the way,
Swing to and then fro,
Which way will it go.
Our chances we took, we carried the day.
But someone was missing, a man we revere,
“Right 'Ensians, shove
All together,”................ I love
The thought that, perhaps, George's voice did I hear.
The image of George I can see, I can reach,
'Twill not leave my head
Until I am dead.
For a while I can cherish that I long knew George Leach.