Sat 09
1st XV
S Depledge (2)M Johnson
S Casey
S Depledge
Otley RUFC  5  -  20  Sheffield RUFC

Otley RUFC 5 - 20 Sheffield RUFC

By Roger Keegan
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Sheffield reap the rewards of their endeavours to score a third victory in the league and the first away from home

Otley RUFC 5 - 20 Sheffield RUFC


Team Selection for Saturday, 9th December 2017

15. Fergus Wood
14. Rupert Broadley
13. Jamie Pearson
12. Frankie Robson
11. Gareth Morley
10. Matt Law
9. Steve Depledge

1. Tommy Marples
2. Sam Graham
3. Dan Rylance
4. Dom Parsons (Capt)
5. Dave Clayden
6. Connor Mitchell
7. Sean Casey
8. Gareth Burns

24. Joe Cooke (FR)
20. Sam Whitworth (FR)
17. Angus Hughes (FR)
19. Thulani Kuyumani
18. Lewis Bowman

Sheffield travelled to Otley, who like Sheffield were keen to play the match despite the weather, overnight snow and freezing temperatures. The only change to the team that manufactured the late win over Leicester Lions last week was the withdrawal of prop forward, Ben Whitney which resulted in Tommy Marples moving up from the bench to the starting fifteen and hooker Sam Whitworth coming in to the squad for only his second match. The squad is still without the services of Tom Womack, Jonny France, Ryan Seabright, Ianto Jones and Andy Hodgson. Back row player Thulani Kuyumani, also retained his position in the squad.

Otley kicked off playing toward the clubhouse and Sheffield were soon on the attack with a strong run from Frankie Robson and two penalties to give the visitors both good territory and possession. However the attack seemed to have come to nought when fly half was held up in the tackle and the ball was turned over to Otley for a scrum on the Otley twenty two, but Otley were penalised for taking the scrum down to give Sheffield a kickable penalty. Steve Depledge obliged with the three points to give Sheffield the lead after 9 minutes. The penalty and the loss of three points seemed to spur Otley on and they went straight on the attack breaking down the right, but a chip through from the Otley wing, Mark Barlow crossed over into the in-goal area and was touched down by Fergus Wood. However, from the drop out Otley were able to mount another attack, this time through their pack down the left side of the field. A clean break by the number 8, Freddie Watson, through the Sheffield defence and as he was tackled he managed to off load to scrum half Max Johnson who scored to the left of the posts. Unfortunately, he injured himself in the act of scoring and had to b e replaced from the bench by Paul Petchey. Fly half Ben Smith inexplicably missed the conversion, but Otley had the lead after 13 minutes by 5 points to 3. Sheffield battled back and were soon on the attack again and creating enough pressure to force Otley into giving another string of penalties, resulting after 18 minutes with a yellow card to Otley's inside centre, Phil Dench. Steve Depledge converted the penalty to take Sheffield back into the lead at 6 points to 5 after 19 minutes. The match descended into a stalemate with both sides making far too many errors and giving away too many penalties. However, Sheffield appeared to get into the ascendancy in the last 10 minutes of the half and pressured Otley's defence and a further penalty gave Sheffield a line out on Otley's 5 metre line from which the Sheffield pack drove forward over the try line with flanker Sean Casey able to touch down for a try wide out on the left. Steve Depledge added the conversion and Sheffield had increased their lead to 13 points to 5 after 35 minutes, which is how the half finished.

The half time team talk in the Otley dressing room fired the home team up and the pressure was very much in Otley's favour and Sheffield's defence had to battle very hard indeed to keep Otley at bay, but hey did and slowly began to gain ascendancy again. A penalty in Sheffield's favour allowed Sheffield a line out just outside Otley's 22 metre, which allowed Sheffield to drive forward toward to Otley try line. Referee Astle deemed that Otley had pulled the maul down and that a try would have been scored and ran under the posts to award Sheffield a penalty try and to despatch Otley's second row, Brett Mitchell to the sin bin with Sheffield leading by 20 points to 5 after 48 minutes. The battle raged with both teams making mistakes in the freezing conditions, and Otley upped their efforts to get back into the match, but Sheffield's strong defence and a number of unnecessary penalties from Otley prevented them from gaining sufficient ascendancy to score, although they did come very close once or twice. Otley's real chance came after 66 minutes when prop forward Joe Cooke was sent to the sine bin for an offence at scrum near Sheffield's 5 metre line. Otley elected to take the scrum for the penalty, but some fine work from Steve Depledge forced Otley to knock on at the back of the scrum. Sheffield were then awarded a penalty at the resulting scrum and were able to clear their lines. Then with only 2 or 3 minutes to play Otley were trying to run the ball from everywhere to try and get something out of the match and a forced pass out on Otley's right was intercepted by Sheffield wing, Gareth Morley. The Sheffield supporters thought for a second that he may get away and score, but Otley were quick enough the catch him and as he tried to off load, he knocked on. Otley had the scrum just outside their 22, but managed to knock on at the back of the scrum and referee Astle decided we had all had enough and blew for time. Sheffield had therefore, secured a second win in two weeks and a third for the season.

The challenge next week will be all the greater with the visit of 4th placed Sedgley Park to Abbeydale, 2:15pm kick off.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 09, Dec 2017



Meet time



National League 2 North

League position