Otley Rugby Club

Otley Rugby Club

Saracens rue poor start

by Steve Goodwill

Harrogate, lying second in the table and having lost only once, to the league leaders, since losing heavily to Otley in November were seeking revenge for that rare drubbing and more than achieved their aim against a Saracens side that was listless and dis

Saracens rue poor start
Harrogate Georgians 52 Otley Saracens 34

Harrogate, lying second in the table and having lost only once, to the league leaders, since losing heavily to Otley in November were seeking revenge for that rare drubbing and more than achieved their aim against a Saracens side that was listless and disorganised in the first half. The poor defensive effort meant that the match was effectively lost by half time and the impressive turnaround in the second half performance was never going to do more than restore some pride to the men in black.
Let down by no shows and the late loss to injury during the warm-up of ever present centre, Alex Schofield meant the back line was much changed and slow to gel. Defensive lapses gifted Harrogate three tries before Otley got on the scoreboard. Even then, they were not totally outplayed as the forwards controlled the rucks and generated some real forward momentum. This effort was characterised by Man of the Match, Matt Stephens who gave the Saracens hope as he stretched to grab a try after a strong maul from a line out. He was again central in an almost carbon copy just before half time with Chris Matthews scoring, but not before Harrogate had gleefully grabbed three more touchdowns. Otley went into the half time huddle facing a 40-12 deficit and seemingly little to play for.
The second period could hardly have been more different with Otley playing a much tighter game and driving on through their mobile pack. This was achieved despite a growing injury list, with the entire bench used and even Harry Garforth, who had come to watch on his return from surgery, called into action. Fly half, Nick Baldwin with the strong wind at his back kicked well to pin the home side in their own half and his forwards responded by rucking and mauling ruthlessly. The maturity and nous of props, Jon Richards and Chris Booth, promoted from the Viscounts, was complemented by the dynamism of the young back row and created some exciting passages of play. Strong mauling leading to tries from Simon Baker, named joint Man of the Match and David Graham, demonstrated the Saracens’ intent and secured a bonus point. Graham’s deft box chip was gathered by full back James Matthews for his score and speedster Jameel Karim finished the game off with a flourish, intercepting and making a long run in for the second week in a row.

Tries: Stephens, Matthews C., Baker, Graham, Matthews J., Karim.
Conversions: Baldwin (2).

Otley Saracens: Molloy, Offer, Richards, Lawrence, Stephens, Matthews C., Baker, Studd, Graham (c), Baldwin, Karim, Brown, Barnes, Snook, Matthews J., Parker, Hope, Boulton, Schofield, Booth, Garforth.

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Other YRFU Premiership Results

Driffield 2nd XV 13 12 Bradford & Bingley Barbarians
Wharfedale Foresters 83 12 Scunthorpe Stags
Old Brodleians 2nd XV 30 27 Hull Ionians Hawks
Harrogate Georgians 52 34 Otley Saracens
Sheffield Tigers 2nd XV Huddersfield 2nd XV

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