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Otley's maximum haul sets up tense final weekend
Otley 32, Stockport 27
Otley gained a maximum haul at home to Stockport to stay out of a relegation place with a week to go of the SSE National League Two North season.
However, the Cross Greeners, whose final game is at Hull Ionians next Saturday, can still be caught by Harrogate, who are only a point behind and are at home to Leicester Lions, who could go down themselves if Otley and Harrogate win.
Otley overcame the four tries set up by the big Stockport side with four top-class tries, backed up with two penalties and two conversions from classy full back Christian Georgiou.
The hosts set about their task immediately, attacking from the kick-off, patience and good ball retention resulting in a touchdown for No 7 Jonathan Matthews, Georgiou converting.
But Stockport, playing to their strengths, drove from a line-out before releasing for winger Myles Hall to slip over, fly half Joshua Longmore levelling with the conversion.
Otley soon hit back, Curtis Wilson, catching a high ball near touch on halfway and turning infield before evading all attempts to hold onto him.
He passed the ball to opposite winger James Wood, who made ground before finding back-row tyro Toby Williams, who forced his way over.
A penalty from Longmore kept the visitors in touch but fly half Tom Rock, with his second inside break, made space for centre Michael Coadey to race to the posts, providing an easy conversion.
However, conceding a penalty at the restart, they found themselves back on their line and unable to stem the drive, prop Jan Andrews grounding, Longmore’s conversion reducing the deficit to two points at the break.
The next 20 minutes belonged to Otley, Georgiou adding a penalty and converting a try from speedster James Twomey, quickly announcing his arrival as a replacement by chased a hack through on halfway to judge the bounce and outpace the defence.
On 66 minutes, on their first venture into home territory, Stockport struck again, replacement Daniel Eccles being driven over, and the last ten minutes were on a knife-edge when lock Howard Parr was sin-binned.
However, Otley survived, Stockport managing just one more pushover, No 7 Nicholas Smith being the try-scorer.