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Otley backing their home guard
Buy this photo » Otley's director of rugby James Tiffany
Otley set out on their new National League Two North campaign on Saturday hoping that their home-grown players will make their mark.
Cross Green officials were delighted that nine of the squad which beat Wharfedale 35-30 in the recent pre-season friendly had either come through the junior ranks or been students at Prince Henry’s Grammar School.
As his team prepared for their first match at home to Bromsgrove, director of rugby James Tiffany again underlined his club’s desire to build a supply line of player from its own resources.
He said: “We have a strong mini and junior section and we must work to bring players right through to the first team.
“It doesn’t happen overnight but we have seen already this year that we have many players at the club who learned their rugby and developed their skills here.”
Perhaps the best example to all aspiring young players at Cross Green is hooker Ben Steele.
Last season he made his 200th appearance for the club and was one of the nine local produce who featured at Wharfedale.
For the record, Jack Makie, Joe Garforth, Henry Walker, Mark Cooke, Arnie Ellison, Jack Scott Paul, George Birkinshaw and Chris Dyson were the others.
Tiffany, who has been rebuilding the squad after the departure of a number of key players from last season - including record try scorer James Twomey, stand off Ben Cooper and prop Toby Williams – is optimistic about his team’s prospects.
“The squad has worked hard and pre-season has been encouraging, but the real work starts now.
“We want to continue the progress the club made last season and that is going to require a big effort from everybody.”
Tiffany has no injury problems to trouble his selection for Saturday’s game but he will have to do without the services of centre Michael Coady.
He will miss the first three league games after being suspended for a month after being sent off in the match at Wharfedale.
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