Old Otliensians 19 Northallerton 21

OTLIENSIANS saw their unbeaten record ended by a Northallerton side who have won all their games.

It was evident from the opening exchanges that Northallerton wanted to keep the ball tight and prevent the home side from moving their pack of forwards around the field.

The Northallerton forward did gradually take control and took the lead midway through the half with a try following a line-out which was converted as they took a 7-0 lead.

Otliensians tried to run the ball at every opportunity but the wind and the slippery conditions led to numerous mistakes.

The Northallerton pack continued to control the set pieces and the visiting fly-half turned down a couple of penalty opportunities to kick the ball to the corners.

With five minutes of the half remaining the visitors secured possession from another line-out inside the home 22 and the inevitable rolling maul led to a second try. The conversion gave them a 14-0 lead.

From the kick-off Joe Armitage secured the ball and following some controlled handling from backs and forwards, Otliensians made a rare foray in to the North 22 where they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts.

The home side elected to run the ball and from third-phase possession Joe Armitage went over for a try. Connor Bateman added the two points to make it 14-7 at half-time.

Playing with the elements, Ensians started the second half brightly. A break from fly-half Will Cooper inside his own 22 took the ball deep in to Northallerton territory only for some last-ditch tackling to deny the home team.

Otliensians continued to ask questions of the visitors' defence, however, following another line-out and driving maul, it was the visitors who increased their lead midway through the half to 21-7

The Otliensians stepped up a gear, and with the visitors' pack visibly tiring, began to exert pressure.

With 15 minutes remaining lock Matty Taylor made a break down the blindside to score a try.

With less than five minutes to go, Ali Campbell gave a superb inside pass to Will Prest who forced his way over. Bateman's conversion reduced the deficit to two points.

Otliensians continued to knock at the door but could not force an opening.

Northallerton were awarded a penalty on the stroke of full-time and their fly-half only had to find touch to end the game.

However, Sam Featherstone took a superb catch to keep the ball in play. The forwards moved the ball towards the centre of the field to try and create a drop goal opportunity but were again penalised for going to ground. This time North made no mistake and fired the ball to touch to end a pulsating game.