WITH so many new names on the team sheet for Saturday's game against Knottingley, there was an uncertainty about the way Ensians would play.

Whenever Ensians have faced this South Yorkshire side in the past, it’s always been a very

physical contest, with Knottingley often showing signs of their rugby league heritage.

‘Tennis like’ changes of play early into the game kept the supporters focussed. Ensians inside centre, Will Cooper and his opposing stand off, happy to ‘drill’ the ball deep into opposition territory at any opportunity.

Knottingley took the first points with a contentious try for their flanker in the left corner. Confused Ensians backs had ceased their defence, awaiting play to stop for a perceived knock on. The referee however, didn’t agree and let play continue, allowing Knottingley to score uncontested.

An important lesson to remember from junior rugby; ‘play to the whistle’.

The conversion a little too far for the boot of their fly half.

Ensians soon responded with an easy penalty kick in front of the posts for Cooper, taking the score to 3:5

Half way through the first half, Knottingley scored the first of their three ‘deserved’ tries. From a long kick and chase, their number eight gathered the ball and powered over the line, increasing their lead to 3-10.

Later in the half, the visitors were awarded their second contentious score of the game.

Just outside their own 22, Ensians defence tried to infiltrate Knottingley’s attacking line. The ball too slippery to gather due to the incessant rain. Sadly, the referee deemed this a professional foul, and awarded Knottingley a penalty try. The half time score 3-17.

In the second half, Ensians continued to frustrate Knottingley’s attempts to spin the ball down the line with excellent tackling from Joe Tindal and Connor Paley.

After several phases of scrappy play in the middle of the field, Knottingley’s winger managed to break free and make good inroads in to Ensians half. Following a stolen line out, Knottingley’s forwards drove towards the home line. Literally putting his body on the line, George Duncan made a ‘crunching’ tackle, stopping his opposing prop in his tracks. Unfortunately the ball was gathered by their second row, and Knottingley scored in the corner, 3-22.

From the restart, Ensians flanker Harry Gillson showed no signs of fatigue, his individual skill taking play

back into Knottingley’s half. Frustratingly Otliensians couldn’t keep possession and before they knew it Knottingley’s fly half had used his powerful boot again to switch the direction of play.

This was the pattern of the game in the second half. ‘Ensians looked the better side, but little mistakes in the final phases of play hampered any serious attacks. Knottingley took another 5 points in the second half to complete their scoring. With only minutes left of the match, Conor Bateman made an impressive break, drawing two men, before passing wide to Leon Saide. Saide’s opposing winger couldn’t match his pace, and the young Colt scored in the corner, taking the final score to 8-27.