IT was a War of the Roses encounter between Otley RUFC and Blackburn at the weekend. Two teams at the top of their game with only one defeat between them.

In the first match between these two sides, it was indeed a gladiatorial match with neither side giving little quarter.

After an initial Otley foray led by Ben Waddington, which took the Yorkshiremen into the red zone, both territory and possession went to the opposition as both sides sized each other up. Having missed a penalty, Blackburn were able to capitalise when Otley gave away a penalty at the breakdown.

From that penalty the ball was put into the corner for a line out, and Scott Richardson was driven over by this pack.

Just as the second quarter began, Otley levelled the scores when Blackburn were penalised for holding on.

With the ball kicked into touch, Otley moved the ball along the backs for Marcus Law to touch down in the left hand corner.

On the half hour and under pressure, Blackburn knocked on at the base of their scrum and from their scrum Otley extended their lead as Ben Magee set up Law for his second, which Joe Rowntree converted.

Five minutes later the scores were level again, Otley were caught offside in their 22 and, having secured the ball from the line-out, Blackburn moved the ball inwards with Tom Burtonwood finishing off the move and Josh Jarrold converting.

As the first half came to a close, Blackburn took the lead for a second time working the ball around the Otley defence for Myles Jarrop to score in the right hand corner.

Jarrold added the conversion to make the half time score 15-19.

Having kicked off the second half, after three minutes Otley retook the lead going from left to right and back again along the stretched Blackburn line allowing Marcus Law to dot down in the scoreboard corner, Rowntree added the extras.

The remainder of the half was a battle of attrition during which Otley secured an eight point advantage through two Rowntree penalties.

With victory in the bag, Otley went all out for the bonus point. Having got a penalty at a scrum which took them to within the opposition 22, Otley forged ahead with a rolling maul getting another penalty which brought them closer to the line.

This time they bought the backs in and Gavin Stead came close to scoring but was held up over the line.

Under the old laws Otley would have been given a five-metre scrum to continue the attack, but that didn’t matter. Instead Blackburn had to kick the ball from behind their posts which they duly did.

Eddie Crossland caught it and passed it to Ben Magee in their own half, and from there Ben Magee was able to evade numerous tacklers as he made his way to the line for what was a truly momentous try and one that sealed Otley’s victory.

Otley return to action this Saturday, when they travel to Lymm (3:00 PM).

They will be hoping to continue their fantastic start to the campaign, in which they have won all six league fixtures, an amazing feet for any side.

However, they do face a tough task coming up against Lymm, especially away from as they have won all three fixtures played at their ground and they currently placed at fourth in the league standings.     REPORT BY: NICK DOYLE