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Delight for Otley as Leeds Carnegie visit again
Otley Rugby Union Football Club have benefited from Leeds Carnegie’s relaid pitch at Headingley taking time to bed in.
The Cross Greeners will stage two of Leeds’ Championship games – against champions elect Newcastle and former play-off finalists Cornish Pirates.
Leeds will face the Falcons – who have just signed Otley old boy Ollie Stedman from Tynedale – on Sunday, February, 10 (noon), and the Pirates on Sunday, March 3 (2.30pm).
“Staging the Newcastle match is an absolutely brilliant prospect,” said Otley’s RUFC’s secretary Marc Lawrence.
“It is an unknown factor as to what the crowd will be but I was talking to the chairman of their supporters’ association yesterday morning and he said they would be bringing down four or five coachloads of fans, plus their support in cars.
“Newcastle have won all 13 of their matches in the Championship so far and it will certainly be a bigger crowd than when we staged the Bedford match on Sunday, December 2.”
The Falcons game kicks-off early to allow supporters to watch the RBS Six Nations game between Ireland and England, which starts at 3pm.
For the games at Otley, admission is included with Leeds’ season ticket, while match-day admission will be £17 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for juniors.
Leeds had already announced that their game against London Scottish on Sunday, March 10 would be played at Hull Ionians (3pm).
Meanwhile, Leeds have accepted the result of an RFU enquiry into their Championship game against Plymouth Albion at Headingley.
They will replay the fixture next Sunday at West Park Leeds (2.30pm).
Admission for the game will be £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and free for under-16s, with season-ticket holders able to gain entry by showing their season pass.
The club will provide a shuttle bus service from Headingley to West Park Leeds and Otley.
Leeds Carnegie’s executive chairman Sir Ian McGeechan said: “Having sought expert legal advice, we have decided against appealing the decision and reluctantly accept the findings.
“As a club we have invested in our infrastructure to produce a world-class venue.
“Unfortunately the pitch has been deemed unacceptable for scrummaging.
“As a precaution, we have moved our next three home games away from Headingley Carnegie to give the pitch the best possible opportunity to bed in appropriately and before we return for our game against Rotherham on March 31 we will put in place an independent process to show the pitch is ready for use.
“Due to unforeseen issues, we are conscious that season-ticket holders have not received full value this season with so many games away from Headingley.
“The board will meet shortly to discuss, and a further announcement will be made.
“Our focus now is on making sure that we continue our fight for the top four and an exciting run in to the end of the season.
“We will watch with interest the precedent that this case has now set when it comes to pitches deemed to be sub-standard in future by the officials and RFU.”