Otley warm up in style with Tens victory

James Wood is leaving Otley for Macclesfield

James Wood is leaving Otley for Macclesfield

First published in Sport Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Sports Reporter

OTLEY have their first pre-season friendly on Saturday at National League Three North Lymm (2.30), and they will travel in good heart.

In addition to signing local product Will Boardman, who is now at Oxford University, and promoting outside centre Jon Brooksby from Otley Saracens, Otley, under the guise of the Saracens, have also retained the Roundhegians Tens.

Showing flair and pace in attack and graft and structure in defence, Otley scored 25 tries among their 141 points and conceded only 12.

Using a game-plan of keeping things tight until they gained possession before creating space to unleash their speedsters, Otley's edge in the often overlooked area of the front row was critical.

Props Chad Harris, signed from neighbours Ilkley, and Sam Pickering were on the field for the majority of Otley's games, only scrum half Nick Coupland having more time on the pitch.

The latter looked sharp and aware throughout, and his snappy service gave the backs the room they needed to create havoc, Calum Walker scoring eight tries and Kristian Sharples – signed from Old Brodleians – five.

In their pool matches, Otley beat Old Modernians 27-0, Roundhegians 32-0, Sedgefield 43-5 and Wetherby 10-0 in finishing top of the pile.

Wetherby were unable to stay behind to contest the final, however, so third-placed Old Modernians stepped up and played a full part in a match that was played in a fine spirit, Otley triumphing 29-7.

Otley Saracens' squad, with tries and conversions in brackets, was: Joe Armitage (two tries), Ross Bannatyne (1), Tom Barnes (1), Jon Brooksby (one try, four conversions), Nick Coupland (1), Ed Goodwill, Chad Harris, Matt Heaton (1), Jameel Karim (1, 1), Sam Pickering (1), Will Prest, Simon Raper, Kristian Sharples (5, 1), Harry Wales (1), Calum Walker (8, 1), James White (3, 1).

Boardman joins Harris, Jason Moss, Jack Smith, Jamie Sutton, Ben Wood, Sharples and Andy Taylor on the incoming list, but going through the out door in addition to Paul Hill, Simon Willet and Mark Ireland is winger James Wood to SSE National League One Macclesfield.

He moved to Cross Green from Huddersfield in July 2011 as one of eight signings by then director of rugby Gary Walker, having scored ten tries the previous season, including hat-tricks against Nuneaton and Manchester.

Wood scored on his league debut against Hull Ionians the following month, and also in the following match against Hull, adding a hat-trick of tries against Kendal in October.

However, he broke a hand the following season, which kept him out either side of Christmas, and then a finger.

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