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Niz's End of Year Review 2004

After consolidating their position in Yorkshire Division Four last season the first half of the season 2004-2005 has proved to be a most successful and enjoyable one with all three teams playing some excellent and entertaining rugby. Furthermore the buzz in the club-house is returning to something akin to the 'good old days'.

The club's targets are clear. Promotion to Division 3 and the recruitment of new players. The latter is certainly going well with recent players of the ilk of Will Foster (centre and utility back) Richard Cuff (wing), Simon Robinson (Centre), Matthew Francis (wing/full-back), Michael Philpott (utility player), and James Kear (hooker). All these along with last seasons' acquisitions of Mattie Birch (scrum-half), the Bush trio of James (lock), Andrew (lock/No.8) and Richard (wing-forward), Phil Cooke (prop) and Ben Newall (hooker) have certainly added to the Club's playing strength. Further links with the University students have been maintained as well.

As for promotion, well at the half-way stage, the Ensians are lying a healthy 2nd in the league behind Old Modernians and are the highest points scorers in the Division on 289 pts. With home games to follow against Old Modernians, Stanley Rodillians, Hessle and Wakefield Cougars, things are going pretty much to Coach Latham's plans.
The leading try scorer in the 1st XV is wing Jonathan Woods with eleven tries with back row men Rob Arbuckle and Richard Bush with seven each.Mattie Tenniswood is leading scorer with 65 pts.

The 2nd XV have had an excellent first half of the season winning eleven of their sixteen games and six of their nine Merit table games. The team had a good start assisted by former PHGS players prior to their departure to University with a win at Morley 3rd. Skipper Peter Tempest usually at scrum half has been outstanding in attack, defence and all round harrying of the opposition as well as being the leading scorer with eleven tries. The 2nd XV have shown a high degree of teamwork in spite of the inevitable weekly changes and regulars have been assisted by good displays from students from Leeds University in particular Anthony Greenfield in the back row.Players have often played out of position but such is the spirit in the team this did not phase them one little bit. The return of Ian Chaplin in December following an early season injury has been a plus for the team but the departure of strong running centre Ben Robinson for an army post in Canada after Christmas is a major loss.

The success of the Senior sides and the hard work of Committee and Club members has seen a steady influx of new and past players keen to form a third XV.After carrying many reserves for the 2nd XV for several weeks, the 3rd XV was launched with a home game on 27th November against the newly reformed Burley 3rd XV . In true rugby spirit Ensians loaned players to give a 13 - a- side game and this spirit has been evident in the other three games played to date against Ripon 4th, Otley 4th and Airebronians. Captaincy duties have been shared by Steve Hammond and Steve Wilson and the side has won two of its four games scoring 72 pts with 61 pts against.

With the general shortage of referees for junior Club sides ,the Ensians have been most grateful to Derek Smith for refereeing games at all levels during the first half of the season.

The next games for the 1st and 2nd XV are away at Wath on Dearne on the 8th January. This will be a really tricky return to league rugby for the 1st XV against a fast improving side.

Training is continuing over the Christmas period on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (7.30 p.m. down at Chaffer's Fiuelds). So, if you want to work off some of the over-indulgences, make new friends, re-new old acquaintances or just have a bit of fun and get fitter ....... see you there! For further details contact Recruitment Officer John Harrison on 0tley 01943 465450.