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Golden Old Otliensians comeback gives them thrilling victory
Old Otliensians 26, Halifax Vandals 22
Blessed with near-ideal conditions, ’Ensians were hoping for a win after the previous week’s disappointing draw but as the SSE Yorkshire Division Four game unfolded it was not one for anyone with a nervous disposition.
Vandals started brightly, taking advantage of the westerly breeze, and after five minutes went ahead when ’Ensians were penalised.
The home team came straight back with a fine attack, taking the ball against the head in a scrum, but unfortunately failed to ground the ball when over the Vandals line.
Play was scrappy, with numerous errors, and ’Ensians were penned in their own half for long periods by the lively Vandals, who were using the wind well to make ground.
After 20 minutes, Vandals scored another penalty goal and five minutes later a conver-ted try from a loose maul to make it 13-0.
This was an unexpectedly lacklustre display from ’Ensians, one of the few exceptions being Steve Wade, who was outstanding in the line-outs.
’Ensians were giving away too many penalties, and Vandals added another penalty goal after 30 minutes, making it 16-0.
However, after 35 minutes, ’Ensians managed to get into the Vandals 22 for only the second time in the match.
A Vandals player was yellow carded and Kristian Keinhorst kicked the ensuing penalty goal to make it 16-3, but in the last five minutes of the half ’Ensians continued to disappoint, conceding two more penalty goals to make the interval score 22-3.
But the turnaround in the second half was a revelation. The whole ’Ensians team lifted their game, and after five minutes Declan Jackson scored an unconverted try wide out.
Vandals’ scrum was pushed back ten metres and, from a bullocking Rob Arbuckle run, Kristian Keinhorst landed a penalty to make it 22-11 after 55 minutes.
On the hour, a massive effort from the forwards broke Vandals’ stern defence, resulting in a try by Dom Hignett, converted by Kristian Keinhorst.
Jackson was having a great game and came near to scoring but the Vandals defence held out. Vandals also had a dangerous run on 65 minutes but Luke Freer defended well.
Ben Hatton and Kristian Keinhorst were using the wind to make good ground, and three minutes later Keinhorst notched another penalty to leave Vandals 22-21 ahead.
Prolonged attacking then brought the clinching try for Josh Howarth.
The second team lost 14-10 to Heath, tries coming from Ross Nichols and Alan Garnett.
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