Otley 36 Sedgley Park 29

Another exciting performance from Otley’s youngsters has the side now firmly settled in mid-table, two points above their opponents who gained two bonus points from this encounter.

The way they started a bonus point looked to be a certainty for Otley but again there were occasions when a little steadiness would have brought the required result and after sweeping to a 23-5 lead they were pegged back by Sedgley’s use of their more experienced pack, losing the try count five to three.

Fly-half James Murray’s form continues, ever threatening with his runs and deadly accurate with his boot.

He enjoyed success from all angles and distances converting all three tries; kicking five penalties, hitting the upright with a sixth which almost led to a try from the rebound; and just being short with an off-balance drop-goal attempt.

He was in business from the kick-off, adding a second five minutes later and when James Twomey, benefiting from a break by centre James White, beat two defenders with slick change of pace to cross in the corner he stroked over the conversion.

It was all looking too easy but a penalty set up Sedgley Park with a five metre line-out and they duly drove over, lock Ed Norris grounding.

A penalty at a ruck on half-way gave scrum-half Stephen Depledge the chance he craves and he stole away to find full-back Ben Hough coming up at speed and he was unstoppable, going in under the posts. The visitors were sensing that their salvation was through their forwards and they began to put Otley under pressure.

Prop Gareth Denman fell foul of the referee to get a yellow card and in his absence former Otley lock Paul Williams was driven over and Norris added a second.

When, four minutes after the break, full-back Richard Wainwright came into the line to score, and winger Matthew Riley converted, there was just one point in it.

A brilliant cameo from Twomey was the response. He received the ball and chipped the cover only to be shoulder charged to the ground but he regained his feet to chase and dive onto the ball as an attempt was made to touch down.

Murray obliged with the conversion and added a penalty Stealing the ball at a five metre scrum under the home posts enabled Sedgley Park to hit back with a try for Riley, who then converted, and the game was again in a state of flux.

Step forward Murray, with a 40 metre penalty to put Otley a score ahead. The visitors, who lost centre Andy Craig,59 minutes, and fly-half Phillip Jones, 72 minutes, to yellow cards, though threatening were unable to effect any change.

l On Saturday Otley break new ground when they travel to the Forest of Dean to play Cinderford, who broke their duck on Saturday at Manchester with an identical score to that of Otley and are currently lying third from the bottom of the table.

Keighley 15 Otley Knights 29 OTLEY Knight’s pace saw them 19-0 ahead after 20 minutess. Thinking they could play festival, sevens-type rugby they then conceded 15 points to a determined and more experienced Keighley side. From the kick-off Otley took on the bigger Keighley pack, driving them back in scrum and ruck. A strong run from Kris Cottenden, after a big forward drive, put the supporting Stuart Costello in for a 20 metre sprint to the line after only a minute of play.

Cottenden scored after mazy runs on 11 and 20 minutes, both converted by skipper JH Johnson. That’s when Otley lost the plot and conceded two tries. A wise decision from Johnson to kick for three points kept Otley one score ahead at the interval, 22-15.

Half-time saw a review of Otley’s tactics and commitment. The whole team rallied and controlled the second-half, Keighley rarely getting into the Otley half.

Whilst the only score was a second Costello try it came after sustained Otley hard graft up front in the Keighley 22, converted by Johnson.

Winning 29-15 whilst not playing well shows the talent in this young side. There is plenty of bottle in them and after this game they know better how to use it.