A late try saw Old Otliensians win 31-20 at Skipton on their return to Yorkshire Division Three on Saturday.
The game opened at full pace, and some lovely incisive running from full back Will Cooper saw the visitors break inside the home side's 22m line. He offloaded to Luke Cowdell, who forced his way over the line. The away fans’ hopes were quickly dashed when the referee brought play back for a scrum five metres out; deeming the pass to have been forward.
'Ensians then made a powerful drive forward, sending the opposition scrum into disarray, resulting in a penalty in front of the posts for the visitors. Cooper opened the scoring in the eighth minute to make it 3-0.
Skipton applied pressure and 20 minutes in, mistakes from 'Ensians saw them pinned inside the 22, resulting in a a penalty and a yellow card against 'Ensians, but Skipton missed the opportunity to level the scores.
From the restart, 'Ensians took play back into the home side’s territory, thanks to a nice break from winger Conner Paley. Poor discipline from Skipton saw 'Ensians with another penalty. Cooper found the centre of the posts to take the score to 6-0.
At the half hour mark, 'Ensians brought on new player Ryan (Macca) McIlorum. Great intuitive play between fly half James Bagnall and centre Luke Cowdell saw 'Ensians pressure the home side’s goal line, resulting in a penalty. Cooper scored to make it 9-0.
Minutes later, Skipton were awarded a penalty which they successfully kicked taking the score to 9-3.
In the dying minutes of the half, 'Ensians lock forward, Matt Taylor was cut down at full sprint, in an ‘awkward’ tackle, resulting in a serious injury. The ambulance arrived and play was held up for 40 minutes until Taylor was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Following the extended break, the second half started with some momentum for the home side, taking play in to the visitors' 22. Skipton’s fly-half saw an opportunity and struck a drop goal taking the score to 9-6.
Minutes later, Cooper got one back to make it 12-6.
Ten minutes into the second half saw some adept, individual skill from Cowdell. Evading Skipton’s defence on the half way line, he broke through for a 50m sprint to the try line. The unconverted try made it 17-6.
Skipton came back firing on all cylinders, and a quick popped ball saw their prop bustle his way over for the first try from the home side. The conversion made the score to 17-13.
The restart took play deep into Skipton’s 22, and a line-out saw a lovely pick up at the back of the scrum from captain Sam Featherstone to drive his way over the line, only to be held up. With the visitors’ scrum dominant all match, Featherstone did the same from the next scrum without hinderance, for a lovely forwards’ try. Cooper hits the extras to took the score to 24-13.
In the remaining quarter of the match, simple errors gave Skipton’s powerful prop sight of the try line again, which he took full advantage of, driving over under the posts. The resulting conversion took the score to 24-20.
In the last few minutes, 'Ensians drove play deep into the home side’s 22. Powerful drives forward from newcomer McIloram saw the ball released out to Cowdell, who smashed his way through for the final try of the match. Cooper took the score to 31-20.