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Otliensians travelled to League leaders Barnsley on Saturday more in hope than expectation, but came away with the ringing endorsement of the home side, as they battled for every ball, every yard and every point in one of the most courageous displays seen in recent years.

The injury toll had continued to mount from the previous week, with further long term casualties meaning that players had to again step in to the breach, with Rob Grey, normally a flanker, playing at loose head, Alan Garnett the third team skipper performing admirably on the blindside, and others such as the evergreen Richard Paley outstanding at hooker.

Barnsley are an extremely large, physical side, who are well drilled and began the game with multiple phases from both backs and forwards penetrating the Otliensians defences at all points, leading to two well deserved penalties in the first 10 minutes, but it was a purple patch between the 20th and 30th minutes that really gave Barnsley the initiative. After 20 minutes they produced an excellent move from a line out, quickly transferred the ball from right to left and scored in the corner. After 26 minutes something very similar, the forwards sucking in defenders through the phases and the score on the right, after 30 minutes the same and with the conversion a well constructed 23-0 lead was gained. But through all this Otliensians had shown that they too could produce some outstanding running rugby with Tinknall brought back from a certain try after the referee had ruled the final pass forward, Jimmy Keinhorst breaking the line from full back and Jon Woods threatening on the right wing. However it was the Otliensians forwards who should receive the plaudits, Lyons, Howells, Hill, Arbuckle and Dyson and those previously mentioned, with Ratahi coming on in the first half proved that size and power is not the only component needed, but organisation and heart also count for a great deal.

And Otliensians then began to forge their way back in to the game, Kristian Keinhorst chipped for Nick Keinhorst to gather, good hands from Lee O'Donnell freed Tinknall who rounded the defence with pace, then handed off the defenders with power only to slip on the treacherous surface a yard from the line. again Otliensians attacked from their own half, Birch providing the service and Jimmy Keinhorst making the break, for the supporting Tinknall to again out pace the defence only to lose footing again at the crucial moment. The last play of the half saw the rejuvenated Woods slice through and round the full back to score in the corner, a glimmer of hope at half time 23-5.

Almost immediately from the restart the Otliensians backs again created the line break and Jimmy Keinhorst took the ball 20 metres out and side stepped the last defender with expert precision to close the gap to 23-10 after 43 minutes. Barnsley were reeling and they decided to close the game down with their excellent forwards pounding the Otliensians eight for fully 30 minutes, but they could not break down the dogged resistance and defensive patterns of the visitors and the ultimate compliment was given when Barnsley opted for a penalty after 73 minutes to improve their points difference.

A defeat yes, but out of adversity there were many positives, and with the possibility of some long term absentees returning over the coming weeks, Otliensians can face the League run in with confidence that they have the skill and commitment to succeed.


Old Otliensians 3rdXV vs Harrogate Pirates

Harrogate 3rdXV sorted (147)  

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