Old Otliensians 10 – 6 Yarnbury – Yorks 2 League
With the first half of the league season complete Yarnbury are at the top of the bonus point league in the division but like their local rivals Otliensians are short on wins.Hence the bonus points total for the Horsforth side while welcome is frustrating and reflects on the constant changes to selection which have totally disrupted the season so far.For this festive encounter Yarnbury again saw seven changes due to injuries and unavailability's.Yarnbury welcomed back Tom O’Brian in the centre for the injured James Endersby, Danny Pound at Stand Off and Graham Maycock on the wing.Will Marshall taking the full back spot in the absence of Joe Pinnick.In the pack Yarnbury were without Lewis Atha at prop,James Falgate second row and Tom Warriner and Jimmy Cryan in the back row meaning that side was young and enthusiastic but lacking somewhat in experience.
The conditions soon deteriorated from the kick off with hail like rain and a wind chill to boot but Yarnbury had the best of the opening quarter into the gale pinning Otliensians down in their own half.Most impressive was the young side at the scrummage as Otliensians with the much bigger pack not being able to get to grips with the Horsforth eight men.This was without second row Ian Maycock who was late arriving from work George Bowen and Tom Goldthorpe in an impressive display in the engine room.
Yarnbury looked to have scored on the counter down the blind side early on through left wing Josh Bell but a knock on prior to the final slip pass earlier stopped the score.Yarnbury were camped for long periods in the attacking half but the home defence held firm and only a solitary penalty from full back Will Marshall was to show for all the pressure.The home side look dangerous on the counter but were well marshalled by the Yarnbury defence before centre Matthew Peatty scored an unconverted try after 20 minutes.Yarnbury were not phased by the score and continued to press for a score of their own as the conditions deteriorated .Yarnbury forwards pounded the Otliensians line but failed to make the decisive breakthrough.The openings would not come and only a second penalty from full back Marshall was to show for their first half efforts regaining the lead and keeping it to the break was impressive in the conditions .The cross field kicks from Ted Stanford for the home sides stand off were caught well in the windy conditions by young Will marshall as he always tried to counter with his jinking runs keeping the pressure on the home defence.Yarnbury seemed to get over the line with another Ian Maycock touch down but was disallowed for a knock on.However,into the elements the Horsforth side seemed to be well in control of the game.
Really the second half was attrition not so much from a rugby point of view but against the conditions as the Arctic blast came sweeping down the dales.Both sides tried to produce a cutting edge to win the game and Yarnbury played the conditions well and for sixty minutes looked as though they would take the win but again were denied a try from a wheeled scrum on the Otliensians line when No8 Martin Rainey scored only for the referee to bring the play back and award a penalty to Yarnbury when a penalty try would have seemed to be on the cards as the weather deteriorated further.It was frustration again for the Horsforth side who deserved the score for their efforts in the second half playing the conditions well.
The last part of the game belonged to the home side as Yarnbury were forced into changes and the Otliensians pack found some cohesion in the scrummage.Centre Luke Cowdell getting over the line on the right to take the win in the dark and severe conditions.A credit to both sides on a day when hyperthermia was the festive cheer on offer.
Yarnbury need some consistency from their players in the second half of the season when hopefully the weather will be more conducive to Rugby.