WITH a number of first team players unavailable for selection due to a stag-do near North Berwick, Old Otliensians defied the odds to snatch a thrilling 21-18 win at Halifax Vandals in Yorkshire Three.

Centre Ollie Eaves, in one magical moment, dropped a long-range goal with minutes remaining to seal a late comeback.

Otliensians tested the home defence first, following a penalty in their favour, with winger Connor Paley making a strong run towards the Vandals’ line.

But the game soon moved upfield, with the Otley forwards having to win a scrum against the head to halt the Vandals' progress.

A penalty awarded after the scrum had broken up gifted three points to Halifax, and for some time they pressured their opponents' line.

However, following a penalty and an excellent touch kick by centre Will Prest, full back Will Cooper entered the back-line at speed and, from way out, scored the first of 'Ensians’ three tries.

For the next 20 minutes Otliensians’ forwards and backs combined to produce some excellent rugby and their second try saw forward play at its best.

Flanker Dougie Elgar rose to catch a line-out on the Vandals’ 22 metre line, and the entire pack combined to drive over the try-line for Rob Arbuckle to score.

Halifax came back with a penalty almost from the restart, but ‘Ensians’ progress was not to be halted.

A third try came when another touch kick by Prest gave the forwards the opportunity to win the ball and drive to the line, where Ryan McIlorum rounded off his excellent half by scoring.

'Ensians held a home player up over the line five minutes into the second half, but their relief was short-lived when the resulting scrum was lost, and the Vandals crossed for a converted try.

Fifteen minutes later, Halifax went ahead with a converted try scored almost from under their own posts to make it 18-15, and Otliensians’ line was then besieged as the home side sought to press home their advantage.

Only the great efforts of all of ‘Ensians’ forwards denied Vandals a further try, before Will Cooper slotted over a penalty to level the scores.

The visitors then mounted their own lengthy period of attack, forcing the home side to concede several penalties, but, despite both sides striving for a win, it began to appear the game might end in a draw.

That possibility was not in the mind of Eaves however, whose fine drop goal put 'Ensians back in front.

In the remaining minutes, Halifax did all they could to win the game but to no avail, as the visitors skilfully retained possession until the final whistle.

The final score of 21-18 was just reward for an excellent ‘Ensians’ effort.