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Old Otliensians 1stXV 5 pts v Castleford 1stXV 18 pts 

 2008.01.12 Castleford(b) 038

More photos here!

Otliensians Cup run came to an end on Saturday after a very hard fought contest against Castleford, the current leaders of Yorkshire Division 3, who having reached the last 16 must now believe they can go all the way to Twickenham, as a fellow Yorkshire side Otliensians wish them well.

The big and well drilled Castlefod side have built a reputation for their no nonsense approach, but this is one area where Otliensians thrive, they will never take a backward step, and in the end the difference between the sides proved to be the way in which Castleford were able to exploit their numerical advantage when the home side had players in the sin bin, as opposed to Otliensians who were unable to utilise the same advantage. Having said that, for 5 players to have been sin binned, 3 from Castleford in the first half and 2 from Otliensians in the second half, in what was a hard but very fair game, played between two committed sides, did leave both sets of spectators wondering.

The game got off to the worst possible start for the home side, with Castleford pressing with the elements and forcing a 5 metre line out, this was shortened and the initial catch and drive was stopped in its tracks by the well organised home counter thrust, unfortunately the visitors found two gaps on the blind side and managed to force their way over wide on the left for the 5 point lead after only 2 minutes. There followed a very tight period where Castleford were effectively using their larger size to attack through their pack in waves, this was thwarted at every juncture by the excellent Otliensians defence, which although under considerable pressure did not wilt or shy away from its task. Otliensians came back with good forward inter play and offloading to release the backs, and following a take against the head on the left, Foster for the home side was just wide with the penalty. A sustained 10 minute period of pressure by Otliensians yielded no further points, and the numerical advantage of Castleford sin binned players could not be exploited. Castleford won a ball close to their line and produced an excellent handling move to stretch the scrambling Otliensians defence over 60 metres, and this lead to almost consistent Castleford attack for the remainder of the half, but Otliensians had done their homework, and a series of defensive strategies both in the backs and forwards were employed, and the half ended 5 - 0.

Straight from the kick off Otliensians were awarded a penalty, but the ball fell agonisingly short, but it was not long before the home side were level from their own innovative play from a scrum on the right. Arbuckle picked up from No 8, to feed Birch, who used the decoys to flick the ball inside to Foster he arked outside for Smith to draw the man and release Woods to score wide on the right, at 5 - 5 the game had the hallmark of a classic. Immediately Castleford used their forward game to force a penalty which just drifted wide, and after 50 minutes they fashioned another slick back move to release their left wing for the corner, the Otliensians defence was again up to the task as they scrambled across for the official to rule a double movement with the penalty to the home side providing some relief. The Otliensians scrum was solid with Bonner, Lyons, Boughan and then Myers not giving an inch and the back five of Markus Keinhorst, Hill, Tom O'Donnell, Grey and Arbuckle, supplemented by Joe Robinson were competing fiercely with their larger opponents. The line out strategies were working to perfection, with one penalty award perplexing the visitors as Otliensians used their knowledge of the Laws to the full, but there is no denying the fact that on the balance of play Castleford were the team on the front foot. The backs had also used two or three different defensive strategies throughout the game, frustrating their opponents who could rarely make a telling break, with Lee O'Donnell and Ratahi to the fore.

This titanic game was looking as though it might go to extra time, but the pivotal moments came in the 66th and 70th minutes, with first Arbuckle then Kristian Keinhorst being sin binned, leaving the home side to play the majority of the remainder of the game with 13 players, which proved to be decisive as Castleford took full advantage of their superior numbers, firstly forcing a gap through their pack near the line after 72 minutes, then finishing with a fantastic move from their own 22, featuring good hands and offloading before the score on the right wing after 76 minutes.

In the final analysis Castleford deserved their win, but Otliensians proved once again that they have the skills to compete with teams from a higher level, and must now continue to show this type of performance in the second half of the season as they concentrate on securing a promotion place.


Old Otliensians 2ndXV 29 pts v West Park 2ndXV 20 pts 

2008.01.12 Castleford(b) 253

more photos here!

Looking forward to a tougher game  Otliensians were soon on the defensive against the young West Park side who took the lead with an early drop goal.However, Ensians soon settled and a good move from their 10 m line went across and down the left wing before good ball transfer put Ben Newall in near the posts for Mattie Tenniswood to convert. Winning some clean ball from Brett Tenniswood in the lineout the half backs Andy Carr and Neil Barlow were varying their play well and a break by Carr was continued by full back Matt Tenniswood  and then well supported by the pack. The home side were full of enthusiasm and scrummaging well but Park came back  with a period of forward drives and eventually penetrated the defence near the corner to retake the lead with a converted try. The Ensians were a little on the back foot and Park missed a penalty chance and on the half hour Ensians gave the ball away at a short 22m restart allowing the visitors to notch up another try to give them a 12 - 15 pts lead at the break.

Otliensians were soon on the attack after half-time and replacement Richard Cuff ran strongly deep into the Park half which almost led to a score. A super try then followed with most of the side involved in keeping the ball alive eventually creating a gap for Matt Tenniswood to score wide out. Further excellent power play which included strong drives by back row Lance Armstrong and Joe Robinson created a half chance for Barlow who neatly sidestepped and dummied his way over from 10 m and then added the extras. West Park were no means  phased by this and attacked strongly but some excellent tackling from the home side  kept them at bay and after 20 mins another period of forward drives and swift handling brought the Ensians up to the Park line for  back row Toby Baltrop  to force his way over from close range , Barlow converting. Continuing to attack Ensians increased their lead with a Barlow penalty but Park just kept on trying and late in the game scored a converted try to conclude and excellent competitive game of rugby.

 The second team are really on song at the moment with all members contributing and working well together despite combinations which change match by match. 


Halifax Vandals Development XV 19 pts v Old Otliensians 3rd XV 8 pts

Travelling to Halifax Vandals Otliensians soon found themselves at a disadvantage as the opposition elected for non - contested scrums although they appeared to have props who were quite capable. This gave them an advantage in that their young side could not be challenged in the tight and ran around at will.
The early attacks came mainly from the home side with the Ensians forced on the defensive but the first score did not come until after some 20 mins when the Vandals scored an unconverted try. A period on the attack from the visitors set up a position for stand off Ian Chaplin to kick a penalty but Vandals scored a converted try before the break to give them a 12 - 3 pts lead.
Some 10 mins into the second half a penalty set up a line out deep in the Vandals half and from the ensuing driving maul no 8 Dan Ridgeway went over to score. Vandals scored a converted try late in the game to seal victory.
This was a really good team defensive effort from Otliensians against swift attacks from the home side playing on a sloping field which is difficult to play on at the best of times.

On Saturday after the disappointment of losing to Castleford in the EDF Vase, Otliensians return to League action and visit close neighbours Old Modernians. The second team play at home against Modernians 2nd XV in a Merit League game and the 3rd XV are also scheduled to be at Modernians 3rd XV.All kick off times are at 2:15 pm