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Happy end to an up and down season for Otley
Bromsgrove 12, Otley 19
There waas nothing in it for either side in this final game of their SSE National League Two North season, Bromsgrove already being booked for the drop and Otley, despite having their five-point deduction for using an unregistered player, safe for another season at level four.
Otley kicked off into a fairly strong headwind but the conditions immediately turned for the worse, rain, at times torrential, entailing your correspondent, with no cover available, to repair to the team bus, which was suitably parked.
With little advantage gained from kicking the ball, except for some neat box kicking from scrum half Stephen Depledge, Otley kept the ball in hand, going confidently through the phases.
But inevitably come the turnover, for whatever reason Bromsgrove were happy to boot the ball downfield.
They had the chance to open the scoring – a straight penalty 28 metres out - but the attempt hit the upright, centre James White catching the rebound to turn and charge upfield and set up pressure on the home line.
A series of line-out, drive, penalty, line-out ended with the ball released down the line for Otley full back Arnie Ellison to run in at the corner, Mark Ireland hitting a superb conversion into the strong gale.
Happy to turn round only seven points down, Otley were expecting a straightforward run-in but it took them 15 minutes to improve their score, winger Harry Hudson racing in from halfway to give Ireland an easy conversion.
Meanwhile, Bromsgrove were functioning better and, taking a quick tap at a penalty in Otley’s 22, scrum half Adam Whiteman spurted through to put replacement Hugh Lockhart over but Otley quickly replied with a repeat performance from Hudson, Ireland hitting a post with the conversion attempt from the touchline.
Otley were not having things all their own way but they were comfortably keeping Bromsgrove at bay – that is until the last minute when replacement Cillian Paget was driven over, full back Jonathan Critchlow converting.
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