First Game of the Season
By Simon Ferguson
Hello and Goodbye
On what was a very damp day the U14's travelled to local rivals Wharfedale to kick start our season. Having lost a number of players to injury and illness prior to Sunday the team still travelled with 16 players including debutants Billy and Isaac. The warm up completed and positions rearranged the team were led out by Cameron, playing his first and last game of the season, before travelling to the southern hemisphere with family.
We wish him and his family well on their new adventure.
Wharfedale got us underway playing 12 a side and last years rules due to their shortness of numbers. The conditions dictated the game with handling errors from both sides proving frustrating, however it was Otley who had the better of the early exchanges with fast, aggressive rucking at the breakdown, quick ball by Matt and slick hands from Harry and George, Otley tested Wharfedale's defiance and resolve. Against the run of play and after a scrappy exchange Wharfedale's fly half launched a speculative ball under pressure that Otley failed to control with the resulting bounce dropping into the Wharfdale's No9's hands who stepped two defenders before going in under the posts, with the conversion secured Wharfedale led 7-0.
Once again, scrappy play resulted in a number of scrums and from one of these the ball was released to George who sliced through the Wharfedale defence to run under the posts, drop goal conversion by George 7-7.
At this stage Wharfedale were winning the close contact areas and after a mister meaner from Otley the resulting penalty saw the Wharfedale winger cross in the far corner. Conversion missed.
Changes made for the second half with Tom B and Kane entering the fray, helping Otley secure better ball at the breakdown and Otley were determined to run the ball despite the conditions. Mistakes were made which allowed Wharfedale to run in a further try from close range with the conversion successful the score as 19-7.
Otley were forced into further changes with an injury to Billy, who had a great game on debut, which allowed Sid to return to the centres, where he enjoyed success last season. A defensive scrum was awarded to Otley and with the ball secure Sid did the rest running the full length of the pitch to score under the posts. 19-12.
Otley kept piling on the pressure and once again Sid broke free and scored his brace, and with the scores level at 19-19 we were treated to a thrilling end. Wharfedale kept kicking possession away and Otley returned through guile and determination, Matt making his customary snipes down the blindside and great rucking resulting in Cameron receiving the ball in space to try to score the winner but was chopped down just shy of the corner. And breathe!
Great result bearing in mind the enforced changes in personnel and positions, great debuts for Billy and Rory and we are going to be a force to be reckoned with this Season.