Odsal hang on for Batley revenge
A Scott Smith double help Odsal Sedbergh to hang on for a 26-20 victory over Batley Boys on Saturday.
Smith's first half brace and tries from Luke Dawson and Ben Cousins had opened up a commanding lead.
But Sedge had to survive a Batley Boys second half comeback, before Dawson's late penalty secured the league points.
The game was a chance of revenge for an Odsal side who had been soundly beaten in the reverse fixture in Batley.
Half-backs Smith and Paul Bottomley returned to a strengthened line-up, and it was the former’s man-of-the-match display which guided the hosts to a much-needed victory.
It was the visitors who enjoyed the stronger start coming up the Odsal slope, a powerful run from their centre saw him burst through and score out wide.
The hosts improved their defence, but the Boys continued to cause problems, with their second rower in particular proving a handful.
However, a series of Sedge attacks continued to mount pressure on the visitors and it wasn’t long before they found the breakthrough.
Centre Josh Tordoff went close as he was dragged down just short out wide. But the Batley defence couldn’t prevent Smith chasing a kick through to ground the ball. Luke Dawson added the extras.
And loose-forward Dawson was soon in the action again, this time carving his way through the Boys defence to touch down under the uprights. Dawson converted his own try.
The Odsal onslaught continued down the slope and it wasn’t long before they were on the scoreboard again.
Once again Smith needed little assistance as he grubbered through and collected the ricocheted kick for a try under the posts.
Dawson converted and Odsal held a commanding 24-4 advantage at the half-time interval.
Against a Batley side flying high in the Championship table Odsal knew they would have a challenge up the slope, and so it proved as the visitors produced a valiant comeback in the second stanza.
The fans continued to be treated to a feast of entertaining rugby as the Sedge right edge continually caused problems.
The trusty centre-wing duo of Robert and Oliver Priestley continued to torment Batley, with both players bursting through on runs only to be dragged down by the chasing Boys defence.
But the visitors were powerless to prevent their next assault as the pair linked up for the game’s best try.
A sweeping left to right move saw the ball shifted through several pairs of hands, before Oliver Priestley burst through out wide and substitute Ben Cousins supported well on the inside to race in. Dawson converted.
The Odsal joy was short lived however as once again the visitors replied in kind. A Smith kick was charged down by Batley’s stand-off and he raced in at the corner to reduce the deficit.
A Batley barrage continued as a shell-shocked Sedge side soon found themselves behind the eight ball as the visitors charged in for a quick fire double to reduce the deficit.
First a blind side raid saw their second-rower dive over near the corner before another attack saw their forward barge over from close range. The conversion brought Batley within four points.
It took sharp words from three-quarter Tordoff and coach Gary Priestley to get Odsal back in shape and prevent a collapse.
Powerful drives from Nick Chapman, Kris Fawthrop, James Sharp, Josh Briggs and Barnie Bland stopped the rot as Sedge looked to close out of the game.
And they soon improved their defence to keep Batley at bay. The frustration was becoming evident in the Boys camp as their centre was sent to the sin-bin for an indiscretion.
In a tense finale a Boys side returned to full compliment pressed for a winner as they continued their fight back.
A last-ditch tackle from Sam Greenwood dragged a Batley player down short of the line as the tension continued to mount.
And it took another desperate one-on-one tackle from winger Jared Priestley to bring down a charging Batley centre as he raced for the whitewash.
The winger was soon in the thick of the action again as he defused a high bomb under pressure to ensure the visitors stayed frustrated.
Once again Batley showed their ill-discipline when their second-rower was dismissed for back-chat, leaving Odsal to see out the game against 12 men.
The Black and Golds had the last say as Dawson’s penalty goal secured the two points and a second (or third?) league win for Odsal.
Odsal have another chance for league points next weekend when they play host to Allerton Bywater at Odsal Rec.