Old Otliensians take right road to win

Wharfedale Observer: Old Otliensians hooker Alex Albrect braces for impact against Halifax Old Otliensians hooker Alex Albrect braces for impact against Halifax

Old Otliensians 34, Halifax 0

In order to consolidate their position as SSE Yorkshire Division Four leaders, Old Otliensians  knew they would have to be at their best in their last game before Christmas against equal second-placed Halifax.

Unfortunately, the Halifax team were delayed due to their bus being literally stuck in a tiny village due to the driver slavishly following his SatNav. However, play started only ten minutes late.

In the first half, ’Ensians were playing against an almost gale-force wind blowing down the field, but, remarkably, played all but five minutes of the stanza in the Halifax half. When the visitors attacked into the home half, good defence kept them at bay.

’Ensians were gaining good possession from the line-outs, with Jack Smith, Sam Featherstone and Steve Wade prominent, and worked their way back up the pitch into the teeth of the wind.

Declan Jackson and Luke Cowdell were giving the Halifax defence a testing time, and Rob Lofthouse outflanked the cover and raced for the corner, only to be recalled for a forward pass.

In the last ten minutes of the half, the heavy Halifax pack tired a little and the home team took a scrum against the head, having earlier been struggling in the set-pieces.

The home crowd were congratulating their team for such a sterling effort when, with the last move of the half, Cowdell put the icing on the cake by outpacing the Halifax defence to score a try converted by man of the match Ben Hatton for 7-0.

Now playing with the wind, ’Ensians continued to control the game and, after three minutes, Hatton kicked a great penalty goal from 40 metres to make it 10-0.

The home team now had their tails up, and Lee O’Donnell crashed through the Halifax defence to make valuable yardage. After 12 minutes, captain Ieuen Cranswick made a break which almost resulted in Declan Jackson scoring.

However when Halifax were penalised 40 metres out, Hatton kicked another superb penalty.

With Luke Freer having kept the home line intact with two copy-book tackles, Cranswick made another quick break down the blindside and passed to Hatton, who in turn passed to Declan Jackson, who raced over for an excellent try, converted by Hatton.

In the last ten minutes, ’Ensians added super tries by Jackson and Cowdell, Hatton converting both.

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