AFTER their longest journey this season, Kyle Dench had his Otley RUFC team walk the last 20 minutes from the town centre to Alnwick’s ground in readiness for this game.

But it paid off, as they secured a fine 22-7 win to move four points clear at the summit of North Premier.

Alnwick kicked off with the wind blowing across the pitch, and having settled, Otley were able to take the ball forward with Ben Waddington’s run up to the opposition’s 22, but his side knocked on.

Straun Connor, playing at 15 and signed from Ilkley the day before, took the ball to Alnwick’s five-metre line before another knock-on brought that attack to an end.

The hosts kicked the ball into the right hand corner and pressurised Otley’s line, before Alnwick were pushed into touch on the other side.

Eddie Crossland’s run helped Otley break out, and Alnwick were caught offside at the breakdown.

Otley put the ball into the corner, and although their pick-and-goes came to nothing, Alnwick had infringed again.

Joe Rowntree stepped up for the subsequent penalty, and opened his account after 16 minutes.

After a couple of substitutions in Otley’s pack, which included Jack Scott-Paul’s return after two years, Waddington went over for his ninth try of the season.

The wind bent Rowntree’s conversion at the very last moment to make the score 10-0.

Alnwick gathered the restart and Jake O’Regan dotted down, however the try was disallowed as he had strayed over the line during his run down the right hand side.

The half ended after a bout of ping-pong, in which Alnwick knocked on just outside their 22.

From the scrum, Rowntree got the ball out to Connor, who came in from the left hand side to score under the posts, giving his scrum-half an easy conversion to end the half.

Otley came out for the second half and continued to press Alnwick’s line.

They were rewarded after 49 minutes when the forwards took the ball forward.

It was then passed out along the line to Alex Beaumont, who scored to make it 22-0, with Rowntree missing the conversion.

With half an hour to go, Otley went for the bonus point try, but Alnwick’s defence and determination kept them at bay.

As the game continued it was played more and more in the middle of the pitch.

Although Otley’s penalty count had been low, they were caught offside with some 10 minutes to go.

Having put the ball into touch, Alnwick moved the ball across the pitch, with Jake Woods bursting through to score, and the league’s highest point scorer Evan Moir adding another two to his tally.

Otley were still going for that fourth try, but Alnwick, who had only lost two home games this season up until the weekend, made their opponents work for every inch of territory, and time just ran out.