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OLD OTLIENSIANS 3rdXV 19pts vs Otley 4thXV 0pts

Otley 037
Liam fights his way into the corner

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With overnight rain and a steady downpour throughout the match, ‘Ensians’ pitch stood up remarkably well to the onslaught against their local rivals. As usual, Otley fielded a big powerful pack and the first few scrums presented scrum half Peter Tempest with very untidy ball. Despite the conditions, both sides tried to move the ball with home centres Andy Hayward and Michael Philpott defending well against Otley attacks.

Although they had problems in the scrums, Otliensians commanded good possession from the lineouts through Alan Garnett and Ben Tetley. Locks Andy Wood and Ray Drake put in some telling drives, but the visitors’ rolling mauls presented problems for the home defence. Fly half Hugh Gumbs put in some booming kicks, but the Otley back three coped well. Although both sides had their chances, it looked as though there would be no score before the break when the ball was whisked out to young winger Danny Schietaert ten yards out. Despite being only a yard from the touchline, he beat the cover and dived low for the corner for the first score on 38 minutes. The conversion failed and left ‘Ensians with a slender 5 – 0 lead at half time.

For the second period, Brett Tenniswood came on at scrum half and Tom Dyson at flanker. The home side started at a brisk pace and within two minutes slick passing sent centre Philpott on a weaving run from half way to cut the Otley defence in two and score a superb individual try under the posts. The conversion by Gumbs took the score to 12 – 0. The visitors came back at once through their robust forwards and their rolling mauls took play deep into Otliensians’ half. The home back row of Dyson, Garnett and Mark Copping worked hard to stem these moves and full back Sean Flesher was kept busy tidying up the many kicks through. Despite their lead, the home side were far from comfortable as Otley dominated territory for long periods. Following an infringement, Otley full back Jamie Chappel was just wide with a penalty.

When ‘Ensians managed to take play into the Otley half, a clearance kick was gathered by winger Schietaert who set off from half way on a mazy run past four defenders. He offloaded to scrum half Tenniswood who made good ground before passing to Alan Garnett who went in under the posts for an excellent try. The conversion by Gumbs lifted the score to 19 – 0 on 63 minutes. Otley were far from finished and mounted a series of attacks through both forwards and backs. When home fly half Gumbs was injured, he was replaced by Tenniswood who used his trusty boot to good effect in clearing the line.

‘Ensians ran the ball from their own 22 and winger Liam Copping looked to be away when he was caught from behind as he tried to round full back Chappel. With the bit between their teeth, Otley then took play right up to the Otliensians line and for several minutes there were drives which were pulled down inches short. Eventually, Otliensians managed to scramble the ball away into touch and the final whistle deprived Otley of a consolation try.

In dreadful conditions, this was a good performance by both sides who managed to produce some quality rugby in an entertaining and spirited encounter.