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Northallerton 6 pts v Old Otliensians 7 pts.

Having been told to play this Yorkshire League Four game by the RFU North Competitions Committee which was postponed by frost the previous week , on a Saturday which was supposed to be League free week, Otliensians travelled to Northallerton with a very much weakened pack.On a truly horrible cold and wet day with a cross wind, Otliensians played up the slope and were the first to exert pressure and after 5 mins wing Lee O'Donnell broke through and scored for skipper Will Foster to convert.Nothallerton were the stronger in the pack and gradually began to make this felt steadily getting on top in the set scrums and after 15 mins they kicked a penalty. Lineouts were pretty scrappy but the home side did manage to tap back ball whereas the visitors struggled to compete partly due to the new combinations in the pack.After 35 mins Northallerton kicked another penalty after some indiscipline from the Ensians cost them a further 10m but they retained the 6 - 7 pt lead at halftime.
The second half saw a pretty gritty performance from the Otliensians and despite being under strong pressure from Northallerton and losing several set scrum balls against the head managed to keep play for the most part in the home sides half. The backs made some telling runs but lack of a pass or misjudged kick saw potential chances to score not taken. Northallerton on the other hand did not look like scoring a try until deep into injury time thanks excellent tackling and defensive work from the visitors.However in the last 5 mins Northallerton began to take on the Otliensians pack with a series of driving mauls recycling the ball many times right up to the Ensians line.Whilst the Referee warned a Northallerton player for applying a boot to an Ensian on the floor the expected penalty to clear the lines was not given and the home side were awarded a 5m scrum in injury time. Northallerton won the ball , drove for the corner but were sent crashing into the corner flag and the referee blew for time giving Otliensians a hard fought win to be proud of.
It was brilliant to see the non regular first teamers step up to the plate and give good displays . A first for Otliensians was a father and son combination, Chris and Ross Myers in the front row, not to mention brothers Kris, Marcus and Nick Keinhorst. Also Joe Robinson gave a good display in the back row and was joined for a period by brother Ben in the backs as a blood replacement. On days like this experience counts and Dave Smith gave a masterclass performance at fullback in a team which was absolutely determined not to lose.

Otliensians have no fixtures next Saturday and resume League action with a home game against Garforth on 5th January. On 12th January they face Castleford at home in the 6th round of the RFU EDF Vase.

appleyr@bigfoot.com