IN a highly anticipated clash between Old Otliensians and their visiting neighbours Aireborough, it would be the hosts who prevailed on Saturday with a 29-8 victory.

It was a much tighter affair than the score suggests, with the home side having to work double time to earn the win.

Ensians did start strongly, and Jake Bentley kicked a penalty after seven minutes. For the next 20 minutes, however, Aire were the more conspicuous team scoring a penalty goal and after 28 minutes taking the lead with an unconverted try.

The home team then showed their metal; Connor Bateman made a good break which came to naught, but this resulted in a period of prolonged home pressure. The visitors' firm defence held for some time but on the cusp of half time a good scrum for the home team resulted in Luke Cowdell crashing over for a try. Jake Bentley added the extras to give Ensians a half time lead of 10-8.

The hosts started the second half at a canter, and after seven minutes following a series of scrums, they drove over for another try through Luke Cowdell, which was converted by Jake Bentley to increase their lead.

Until the last five minutes most of the play was in the home half with Aire having much of the ball and putting the home team under considerable pressure. The feature of recent games has been the strength of the home defence, and this was the discipline which held Aire at bay when many teams in the league would have cracked.

However, when most of the home supporters were wishing for the final whistle to blow, the home team broke out into the Aire 22. Rob Arbuckle took a quick penalty and after a few phases the ball was opened out and winger Declan Jackson scored an unconverted try out wide.

To put the icing on the cake in the last-minute of the contest, quicksilver Will Howarth collected the ball in his own 22 and sprinted 75 metres to outpace the defence and score between the posts for the bonus point, which was converted by Jake Bentley to make it 29-8 at full-time.