Local rugby union - Otley lay solid foundation to ease club’s drop concern

Otley emerged 36-24 victors over Luctonians to ease their relegation worries in National Two North.

By Steve Heptinstall
Sunday, 15th March 2020, 6:00 pm
Connor Ward put in an outstanding display for Harrogate - at very short notice.
Connor Ward put in an outstanding display for Harrogate - at very short notice.

A strong first half started with a Ben Smith penalty, and although they fell behind to a Luctonians try shortly after they were soon off the mark.

Tries from winger Owen Dudman, second row Adam Malthouse (2), centre Elliott Morgan and scrum-half Max Johnson – with four conversions from Smith – put Otley in the driving seat at 36-5 shortly before the break.

Luctonians pulled one back through Charles Meredith again, and they stepped up a gear in the second half with two more tries.

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But the damage had been done, and Otley held out for the win.

Wharfedale also enjoyed a home win, beating Stourbridge 19-15.

Tries from Jack Blakeney-Edwards and Chris Jackson were converted by Blakeney-Edwards, but Wharfedale trailed 15-14 at half-time.

But, after the break, Ollie Cicognini touched down in the corner early on after a cross-field kick from Blakeney-Edwards, and it proved to be the final score of the game despite a full-blooded second half.

Sandal and Harrogate remain second and third respectively in the North Premier league, with Sandal scoring a 35-32 win over visitors Morpeth, while Harrogate were 29-26 winners at home against Rossendale.

Harrogate started strongly and, despite the early injury loss of prop Connor Ward, still managed to dominate the scrums. Second-row Brandon Hannam had a storming game, supported ably by Sam Brady and Tim Heaton. And Tom Driscoll, drafted in at short notice on the day, had an outstanding game.

For all their pack dominance, Harrogate didn’t have everything their own way, as the three-point final margin of victory testifies. They also led by only 10 points at half-time – 17-7 – so were kept on their toes throughout.

Elsewhere, Ilkley lost out 32-5 at home against table-topping Blaydon.

n Yorkshire Carnegie’s Championship game at Ealing Trailfinders was postponed.