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Otley's late revival shows how much they have progressed
Otley’s director of rugby Tom Rock was a relieved man last Saturday night after his side had scored three tries in the final eight minutes to preserve their 100 per cent record in SSE National League Two North.
They trailed 18-9 to Midlanders Bromsgrove with five minutes of normal time remaining but then scored tries via Jack Mackie, Daniel Temm and skipper Adam Blades to remain second in the table.
“We were never in control of that game but our win was down to fitness and character,” admitted Rock.
“Last season we would have lost that game after the way the first 60 minutes had gone but we found a way to keep going for 80 minutes and we pulled together.
“The impact of our four replacements in the last 25 minutes was massive – hooker Henry Walker, who made his debut for us, Kirk Arundale at scrum half in his second spell at the club, William Magie in the backs and Tom O’Donnell in the back row.”
“The referee’s interpretation of the contact area meant it was never going to be like the other games,” said a critical Rock, making reference to the 210 points scored in the Cross Greeners’ first three matches.
However, although there is general optimism at Otley, the rosy view of their prospects wasn’t shared by Bromsgrove skipper Jonathan Critchlow.
He said: “We finished eighth last season and want to come in the top six this season but I can see Otley being top of those not challenging for promotion.”
Otley Saracens also triumphed last Saturday, winning 43-10 at Sheffield Seconds following two narrow defeats.
Showing sound game management and a patience that had been lacking in previous outings, with the defence in particular much im-proved, this was a fine team display.
Rucks created space for Andy Lowdon to get Saracens’ first try and fellow winger Ben Crossley bagged the second, running from his own 22.
Full back Oliver Snook scored the third, Joe Barker then marking his return from injury at centre Ross Bannatyne’s try put Saracens 26-0 ahead by half-time, and second-half tries followed for debutant Ben Fairclough, Crossley and fly half Nick Coupland.