Harrogate vs Otley
Otley completely outplayed Harrogate in this crucial derby match to deservedly win and, with one League match remaining, consign Harrogate to the relegation danger zone.
Peter Clegg, the Otley DOR, paid tribute to his side’s qualities in attack and defence. Harrogate’s captain, Jake Brady said very much the same thing. In the second half, Otley twice fumbled scoring chances over the Harrogate goal line so the score difference could have been even greater.
Harrogate started well from the KO building up attacks from a Jack Barnard turnover but were penalised and, after a series of Otley driving mauls, the ball was released to stand-off, Jack Blakeney-Edwards who scored and converted his try. Harrogate responded with driving mauls from a line-out and a penalty try was awarded after Tipi Loma Kiva Lu made an illegal side entry. Sam Fox converted, Loma went to the sin bin and the score was even. Otley soon conceded another penalty and Keane Naylor broke strongly from half way but was tackled into touch just short of the goal line. More Otley forward pressure followed by quick, short passing led to Tom Hodson crossing in the corner and cutting inside for another converted try.
In the last few minutes of the half, a penalty led to an Otley lineout and driving maul from which Jason Moss crashed over for another converted try. Harrogate countered and Otley were penalised for a high tackle. Fox’s successful kick made the half time score 10-21.
Substitute flanker, Aarin Yorke (who’s really a hooker) made a half break and fed hooker Tom Larder who ran strongly but knocked on in the tackle. Otley won a penalty from the subsequent scrum, drove for the line but were penalised for a double movement. An Otley scrum offence led to a Harrogate free kick, quickly taken by Phil Wickham. Otley were penalised at the breakdown and Harrogate attacked from the resulting line-out. Ben Dixon was put into space and his unconverted try made the score 15-21 which was as close as Harrogate got.
Continued Otley pressure followed but a combination of good Harrogate defence and Otley “white line fever” kept them from scoring. Harrogate were then adjudged to have illegally turned a scrum in defence and Otley’s converted penalty try made it 15-28 and, crucially, earned them the bonus point which guaranteed their League survival. More Otley attacks followed along with still more last minute handling errors but, eventually, a further backs attack was well supported by flanker
Tom O’Donnell who crashed over for the game’s final converted try.
For the remainder Harrogate attacked albeit with limited possession. Their commitment never wavered but neither did the Otley pressure which forced Harrogate into handling errors. A final home attack took play from inside their 22 into the opposition 22 but play was forced into touch and Otley were the deserving winners
Harrogate: Doherty (Rosillo 41), H Barnard, Naylor (Hebblethwaite 26), Dixon, Edwards, Fox, Wickham,
Purkiss-McEndoo, Larder, Dennis (Reaveley 71), J Brady, S Brady, Harvey, J Barnard (Maycock 73),
J Coser (Yorke 41)
Otley: Hodson (Scott-Paul 36), Petchey, Roberts, Mackie, Beaumont, Blakeney-Edwards, Johnson,
Moss (Burkinshaw 68), Steele (Blades 79), Tipiloma, Dunn, Willet (Cook 28), O’Donnell, Hudson,
Watson (White 59)
Referee: Andrew MacNeaney (RFU)