Otliensians on song with Jackson Five as they move within point of league title

Old Otliensians 43 Ossett 5

Otliensians moved to within a point of the league title when they produced a display of fast and expansive rugby to blow away Ossett.

The scoreline was a little harsh on the visitors in a game that was ordered to be replayed after the original fixture, seven days earlier, had been abandoned after 58 minutes.

Ossett had the advantage of the strong breeze in the first half and their plan was to push the opposition back through their kicking game.

Otliensians settled quickly and went ahead when full back Ben Hatton landed a fifth-minute penalty.

Shortly afterwards, centre Luke Cowdell made ground before releasing a well-timed pass to put winger Declan Jackson over for a good try.

Scrum half Rob Lofthouse again showed his all-round qualities with some determined tackles.

Otliensians were looking to run the ball whenever possible and a second try came when a long miss-pass put Cowdell into space for an easy run to the posts. Ben Hatton added the extras.

Confidence was high, but a careless pass on the left wing was intercepted by an Ossett three quarter for a long but uncontested run to the corner.

Ossett enjoyed a spell of pressure but the home defence was up to the test.

The Otliensians backs looked dangerous with the ball in hand and there were exciting, strong runs from the Hatton brothers, Ben and Joe, and centres Nathan Rogers and Cowdell.

Ossett began to fall foul of the referee for scrum feeding and on the half hour mark Ben Hatton was successful with his penalty attempt.

Lofthouse was injured shortly before half-time and some re-organisation saw Ben Hatton take over at scrum half with Kristian Keinhorst coming on at full back.

There was still time before the break for Luke Cowdell to breach the defence and put Jackson in for his second try Ben Hatton extended the lead with a penalty early in the second half before Lofthouse returned to the fray.

Otliensians were running well and the pressure they exerted led to Jackson going over for his third try.

With a 31-5 lead, Otliensians seemed to lose their focus a little. They also lost Rogers to injury.

The next score came when Ossett were penalised and then sent back ten metres for backchat.

Ben Hatton tapped and ran superbly before sending a long pass to Jackson who scored again.

Ossett’s forwards were still winning good set-piece ball but their backs were unable to exploit it.

Otliensians spoilt a number of moves with a spate of forward passes before rounding off the scoring.

Jackson’s fifth try of the game – celebrated with a Chris Ashton-like swallow dive delighted the good-sized crowd at Chaffers Field.

Ben Hatton added the conversion to crown a good afternoon for the champions elect.

This Saturday Otliensians face a stiff test away at Halifax in their penultimate league match. They hope they will have a title to celebrate.

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