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Otliensians' promotion hopes are hit
10:39am Thursday 10th January 2013 in Sport
Mosborough 21 Old Otliensians 10
Mosborough has never been a happy-hunting ground for Otliensians and so it proved again on Saturday.
With three regular members of their pack unavailable, they went down in the mud to a fired-up home side.
After an early converted try from the hosts, ’Ensians settled down and got stuck in.
Trailing by only seven points at the break they felt they had a good chance of turning things around.
However, their inability to control the heavy Mosbor- ough pack on a treacherous surface and the failure of their speedy backs to click meant that they succumbed to two further tries from the home side.
Although the visitors responded with two good tries of their own, it was not enough on a day when the home pack was dominant in all phases.
From the start the home forwards used the slope to drive play into the 22 and there was desperate defence for seven minutes before good support play produced a converted try.
The ’Ensians had big problems in the scrums on a muddy surface against a much bigger pack where it was impossible to get a decent foothold.
The visiting front row of Ross Myers, Sam Emmitt and Toby Barltrop were in difficulties and although Emmitt hooked the ball on several occasions, the Mosborough pack re-gained possession by driving over it.
The result was that visitors were starved of possession for long periods, but good defence from fly half Johnny Ratahi and centres Tobias Gill and Nathan Rogers regularly snuffed out dangerous looking moves.
In terms of attack, the Otliensians had limited opportunities, but winger Josh Howarth had two good runs and centre Nathan Rogers troubled the home defence with some jinking bursts.
In the line-outs Mos borough were also dominant and although lock Steve Wade secured most of his own throw-ins, lax refereeing allowed the opposing forwards to jump the gun and harass scrum half Matt Garratt almost before he received the ball.
The visitors’ cause was not helped when on the stroke of half-time they had a player yellow-carded for rushing in to assist a team-mate who had been late-tackled.
With the hosts’ restricted to 7–0 at half time and the slope in their favour, the prospects of ‘Ensians overtaking this lead looked promising, even with a man short for the first ten minutes.
However, Mosborough also realised this and tore into the visitors from the kick off to set up a series of rolling mauls.
The visiting half backs Garratt and Ratahi tried to get their backs moving, but laboured handling and wrong options presented possession back to the home side who pinned the visitors back on their own line.
A scrum was awarded and the home pack trundled over for a converted try which stretched their lead to 14-0.
Ieuan Cranswick came on at scrum half and, with the ’Ensians scrum faring much better, their backs started making headway.
When play broke down the back row of Sam Feather- stone, Rob Arbuckle and Dale Kennedy were there to tidy up and launch a fresh attack.
From a ruck the ball was moved wide to the right and quick hands from centre Gill and full back Kristian Keinhorst put replacement winger Declan Jackson over in the corner.
The conversion failed, but the Otley side were now very much back in the game.
The hosts, sensing that things might be slipping away, threw everything into attack through their big forwards and drove play into the 22.
Keinhorst pulled off a try-saving tackle in the corner, but after a series of drives from the subsequent line-out, a home flanker dived over to score near the posts with the conversion stretching the lead to 21-5 after 66 minutes.
Otliensians were far from finished and launched a series of attacks, but the usual fluency was missing in the back division.
This, coupled with in-your-face defence from the home side, meant that chances were few and far between.
Eventually slick passing along the back line put winger Jackson into space to score his second try in the corner.
With both Harrogate Pythons and Old Grovians having bonus-point wins, ’Ensians slip to third in the league table and need to pick themselves up if they are to maintain their challenge for promotion.