Otliensians 21 Halifax 13
Halifax travelled over to Otley looking to keep pressure on their promotion rivals for 2nd spot, writes Jason Brian
On a perfect day for playing rugby the hosts came out of the blocks much faster and looked a different side to the one twice beaten heavily at Ovenden Park earlier in the season. 'Ensians took the lead with a penalty for offside.
The Halifax side was much changed from recent months with Ben Maxwell, Luke Sturman, Niall McSharry, Elliot Fletcher and on the bench Elliot Mercer (first-team debut) all 18 or younger. Ben Ogden and Craig Smith replaced Stuart Hill and Martin Smith who were both unavailable.
They began to settle down and were awarded 2 pens of their own playing up the slope to take a 3-6 lead. A period of pressure resulted in the home side losing a man to the bin.
The self-destruct button which was evident in the early games was pressed because within a 5 min spell around the half hour mark both Booth who was very unlucky and Ryan were sin binned.
The home side levelled the scores 6-6.
Down to 13 the Halifax side showed a lot of character and when back to a full compliment Ensians scored a try outwide to take the lead just before half time 11-6.
Halifax started really well in the 2nd half and within a couple of mins Knapping dummied over from 10m out. Converted his own try as well and Fax looked to be in control 11-13.
However a couple of great breaks by the youngsters Mcsharry and Fletcher who both made 60, 70 metres went begging.
'Ensians took the lead with a pen In front of the posts for offside 14-13.
20 mins from time the hosts scored a great try down the far right to extend their lead 21-13. The game was slipping away and the resilience and belief shown over recent months was not evident on this performance.
Morris who replaced the injured Curtis as captain earlier in the game was desperately trying to rally the troops. Mercer came on to the left wing for Simpson and showed no nerves for a 17yr old but it was not to be as they again lost West to the sin bin late on as the game fizzled out.