OTLEY went to the Yorkshire capital knowing that they needed to win their final game of the season if they were to be crowned champions, with their nearest rival Preston Grasshoppers snapping at their heels.

Although Otley gave away an early penalty at the breakdown, they were soon on the front foot. Henry Roberts’ run down the right hand side set up their first attacking platform, Dan Preston-Routledge then passing the ball to Elliot Morgan on the other side of the pitch who scored after just two minutes. York were caught offside on Otley’s 22 after the restart from which Otley drove forward, gaining two further penalties along the way. The second of those were in front of the opposition’s posts, Joe Rowntree’s successful kick extending Otley’s lead on eight minutes.

Otley continued to control the game, getting a penalty on the quarter hour which was kicked over the left hand side touch-line. The ball was moved into the centre with Callum Irvine coming close, but Otley were able to recycle the ball out to Morgan who scored his second which Rowntree converted.

York then slowly started to come into game, aided in part by Otley infringing at the breakdown, and the hosts then began to enjoy some possession and territory. The visitors’ pressure in the tackle stalled York’s momentum and, with Otley frequently taking line-out ball from them, they were able to frustrate York. However, as the half-time whistle loomed and Otley unable to stem the penalties, they found themselves on their try line in the right hand corner. Scrum-half Toby Atkin saw an opportunity to score and darted his way over from five metres, Liam Hessay converting it on 39 minutes. The restart went out on the full brought the half to close with the score at 15-7 to Otley.

York started the second half playing up the slope and Otley then gave away a penalty on their 22, Liam Hessay putting the ball between the posts.

That score appeared to be a wake-up call for Otley and, having gone back to basics, they moved steadily up the field. Then having got to just outside York’s 22, the ball went left and Dan Preston-Routledge scored in the corner. The conversion hit the upright and bounced back onto the field.

York’s 22 clearance kick was gathered and Gavin Stead, Jack Scott-Paul and Malthouse combined to set up Preston-Routledge who went over under the posts, Rowntree converting the easier kick.

Two minutes later Otley took the game away from York, Irvine’s run from within his own half set up Ben Magee who then ran 25 metres to score for Otley. Rowntree added the conversion.

A York kick from their dead ball line found its way to Irvine whose arching run was straightened by Eddie Crossland’s direct run to the posts, Rowntree adding his fourth conversion.

Otley were still infringing and Brett Mitchell found himself on the end of a collective yellow card.

York were then penalised for being offside at the line out and Otley were able to make their way out of the half. Referee George Ounsley, who had a good game, then red carded Luke Stockton for an off the ball punch on Ben Magee.

Otley lost the ball in play after having had a line-out in the left hand corner, and for the remaining five minutes or so both sides had the territory but neither had any real chances and so the score remained 41-10 to the visitors. The Otley camp were jubilant after the final whistle as they were crowned champions – a fitting conclusion to Peter Clegg’s reign as Director of Rugby who departs the role.

On the following day, Otley Under 16’s beat Bradford and Bingley 14-29 in the Yorkshire Cup, the Under 14’s having beaten Driffield 25-3 in their Yorkshire Cup final at the start of the month.