OTLEY thumped Alnwick 59-27 with some entertaining rugby on what could have been a balmy summer’s afternoon at Cross Green on Saturday.

Alnwick, the most northerly team in the English leagues, played their part coming away with a four-try bonus and the highest score by an away team this season.

Having kicked off towards the Chevin, Alnwick were soon back in their half following Callum Irvine’s 50:22 pinpoint kick into the left hand corner. Having secured possession, Otley moved the ball across the pitch with Gavin Stead skirting around the Alnwick defence to score after two minutes.

Stead was nearly through again a couple of minutes later, but for a forward pass. Alnwick absorbed a series of Otley attacks, but having got out of their half, an overlong line-out gave the impetus back to Otley.

The home side were quick to pounce, Adam Malthouse taking the ball down the left hand side before passing to Irvine who nearly made it to the uprights before being tackled.

Alnwick gave a penalty at the breakdown, Joe Rowntree’s quick tap and go saw him force his way over under the posts. Four minutes later Stead scored in the left hand corner, to which Rowntree added his third conversion.

Having nearly got the bonus point try, Otley gave away three penalties allowing Alnwick to come within touching distance of Otley’s line. Having peppered the line, Alnwick got a fourth in front of the posts allowing Ewan Moir to add the three points.

Alnwick reduced the deficit after some good interplay which got Ed Cuthbert to within touching distance of the line, Ben Golthorp coming through to take the pass and score. Otley’s response came after the visitor’s clearance kick was gathered, Otley moving the ball from left to right with Stead getting his second in the corner which Rowntree converted.

The remainder of the half belonged to Alnwick, Ryota Kawase’s kick into Otley’s dead ball area was smothered by Finn Dewar to prevent a try. However, Otley gave away a penalty as they tried to get out of their half and from Alnwick’s line-out Hugh Todd went over to make the half time score 28-13.

A potential 50:22 kick by Irvine was taken into touch, Otley then spread the ball wide before throwing it out on the full on the other side of the pitch. However, Otley regained possession at the line-out. Moving the move back into the centre Irvine’s deft pass to Elliot Morgan, who was coming through at speed, gave the winger an easy run in.

As Otley came out after the restart, Alnwick were penalised for coming in at the side which put the ball into their 22. They conceded two further penalties allowing Otley to keep up the pressure, Irvine changing the direction of play preceding his side-step run to the line.

Alnwick’s Charlie Farmer broke through the Otley defence on the home side’s 10-metre line and nearly reached the line before being tackled, winger Alex Robson coming through to finish off the move in the right hand corner which Moir converted. Later Malthouse’s run took the ball into Alnwick’s 22, but later in the attack it was lost just before the line. Otley pushed the visitors off their scrum, Ben Gould diving over from the back of the scrum.

Otley were penalised in the opposition half for not releasing from which Alnwick launched a great attack that got them within 10 metres of Otley’s line, only for Finn Dewar to pinch the ball and run it back into their half. Having regained possession, Alnwick’s Andre Moralee run from within his own half to set up Ben Golthorp to get their bonus point try, converted by Moir.

Otley finished off the game with two further tries. Alnwick were caught offside on their 22, the ball going further towards the clubhouse corner. Malthouse caught the line-out and finished off the move from the back of the maul on 72 minutes. Rowntree’s conversion marked his 200th point of the season. Alnwick reached Otley’s five-metre line three times but could not get any further being penalised at the third attempt. Otley’s kick took them out of danger, Dewar taking the ball into their half before passing to Eddie Crossland who went onto score under the posts.

This week Otley go to Burnage before returning to play the league’s bottom placed team Northwich on April 9.