Otliensians travelled to Sheffield last Saturday to face mid table Stocksbridge. An away fixture at ‘Bridge, is always a daunting task, and more often than not, a very cold one, with winds constantly blowing down from the Peak District over their exposed hilltop ground.
Much to the protestations of the ‘lively’ home supporters, the game had to be played with uncontested scrums. A seventeen man away squad, and more importantly an incomplete front row, gave Otliensians no other option.
With a recent win over Aireborough, ‘Bridge started the game with intent, pinning ‘Ensians in their own ’22, for what seemed to be the first 10 minutes of the game. Strong tackling denied the home side sight of the try line, but eventually a penalty gave Stocksbridge their only points of the game.
Otliensians came back with all cylinders firing. A deep kick from Ollie Eaves and tenacious challenging from Noel Gillson, resulted in Will Rigg’s inaugural try for Otliensians (see photo). A clean conversion followed from Jake Bentley, giving ‘Ensians the lead.
Despite no further points in the first half, there was plenty of action in both halves of the pitch.
In the second half Otliensians cleverly, took advantage of the South Easterly corner of the sloping pitch. Fly half, Ollie Eaves using his trusty boot, to take play deep into the opposition's half on several occasions. Ensians lead was increased with scores from Jake Bently and two tries from winger Will Howarth The final score 32:3
If the RFU do introduce their plans of below waist tackling in amateur rugby, teams like Stocksbidge will need to go back to the drawing board, as the whole game was marred with dangerous high tackling. One of which resulted in a cut eye for centre Luke Cowdell, and three yellow cards and one red card for the home side.
Despite a convincing win, the battle for the promotion zone remains unchanged, with Halifax and Rotherham firmly holding the top two places.