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On another balmy autumn afternoon, Otliensians returned to winning ways with a comprehensive victory over near neighbours Baildon, that once again showed the tremendous strides that can be taken in a very short time period, with light shining through the storm clouds of the previous two weeks.
Otliensians, playing up the hill and against the wind, started strongly with early pressure through the pack only relieved by a series of penalties to the home side, which lead to the early three point advantage from a well struck 45 metre kick. The same pattern continued with Otliensians applying tremendous pressure in and around the Baildon 22, driving the home side off every scrum ball, where Bonner, Paley, Lyon and Chris Myers were outstanding throughout the game, and competing ferousiously for every loose ball through Hanogue and Dyson, with Tenniswood dominant in the line and Tom Woods and Arbuckle leading the driving game, all augured well.
However, the merry whistle blower seemed to have other ideas with Otliensians been constantly penalised at the contact areas, with the small but perfectly formed Hanogue, been asked to extend the length of his legs to avoid the appearance of been on his knees as he snaffled up ball after ball. On Baildons second incursion in to the visitors territory they struck another long range penalty to lead 6-0 going in to the second quarter.
The same patterns continued, the Otliensians forwards dominating, and the three quarters coming more in to the game with Birch and Foster controlling proceedings at half back and the dangerous runners Hammond, Jon Woods, Nicky Keinhorst and Bearpark all showing pace and vision, with Lee O'Donnell giving his customary no nonsense display, which lead to him yet again been attacked in an unsavoury incident, the result a very weak yellow card decision to the perpetrator.
But through all this the Baildon team showed great determination and spirit in defence, defending their line with good organisation and commitment, and clearing with the elements efficiently when required, and it was the home side who were to extend their lead after 33 minutes. Another penalty saw the Baildon right wing burst on to the ball, evade tacklers over a 30 metre distance, before been brought down short of the line for the supporting players to drive over, the try was awarded by the unsighted referee, although a contentious decision the 11-0 half time score was secured.
Baildon started strongly in the second period, driving to within 5 metres of the Otliensians line, but from the 45th minute onwards they were rarely in the visitors half, as Otliensians produced a display of concentration that was the only factor lacking in previous weeks, keeping to their structures and patterns of play, gradually but efficiently taking the game away from the home side, with a Foster penalty after 53 minutes opening their account.
On the hour another series of punishing scrums was sapping the energy of the Baildon defence, and the ball was swung from right to left, with excellent hands across the Otliensians backs leading to Hammond finishing expertly in the right hand corner. Smith was introduced at full back to use his vast experience in marshalling the young Otliensians backs for the final push, and after 70 minutes a further sublime score was engineered. Forward drives on the right were followed by swift hands to the left, recycled ball was then moved to the right again, with a run round in the centre and Hammond once again diving in at the corner.
The patterns continued and after 75 minutes, more superb hands in the backs lead to Bearpark evading the last remnants of the defence to side step his way for Foster to add the extras and secure the 20-11 victory and two more away points.



Despite arriving with a huge pack, the visitors maintained they could not raise a front row and, yet again, uncontested scrums were the order of the day. With their pack bolstered by the return of veteran flanker Darren Hardie, ‘Ensians got off to a good start with half backs Tim Swann and Will Haines getting their backs moving. Both teams endeavoured to play open rugby with Knaresborough’s young speedy backs looking to run the ball at every opportunity. Resolute defence by centres Hugh Gumbs and Tom O’Donnell meant that the home side were able to recover lost ground with Will Haines’ touch kicking being particularly effective.

The opening score came after 10 minutes when Number 8 Alan Garnett broke from a scrum to set Gumbs off on a typical charging run. Winger Ben Tetley was backing up to take the try-scoring pass, but the conversion attempt by Haines just missed. Open rugby from both sides continued and after 25 minutes, scrum half Tim Swann outwitted and outpaced the opposition after taking the ball from a maul forty yards out, jinking past two defenders and racing for the line. The conversion failed leaving the score at 10 – 0 to ‘Ensians. As half time approached, centre Tom O’Donnell had to leave the field with a shoulder injury and he was replaced by former 1st XV skipper Neil Barlow who immediately showed his skills with solid tackling and half-breaks.

Two minutes into the second half, Swann again showed his guile with a typical scrum half’s blind side break to score wide out. There were good drives by Hardie, lock Andy Wood and the front row of Dave Beardsley, Andy Rockett and Lee Paley to keep the visitors in their own half. From a long lineout, Swann gathered the ball and rounded the defence to complete a fine hat trick on 62 minutes. The conversion by Haines lifted the score to 22– 0 to ‘Ensians.

Knaresborough made a strong comeback and strong support play by their young backs produced a good try 6 minutes later, but the conversion attempt failed. Sadly, with ten minutes remaining, lively home flanker John Broadbent suffered a serious leg injury and the referee wisely decided to stop the game with the score at 22 – 5 to ‘Ensians.

This was a good team effort with good tackling and some excellent line-kicking by the home side which kept an enthusiastic Knaresborough side at bay.