Broadstreet Rugby Football Club made the seven hour round trek to Cross Green in picturesque Otley with sixteen out of ninteen on-line league pundits predicting a win for Otley. The predictions looked good until the last ten minutes when visiting ‘Street; stung by a length of the field interception which looked to deny them a losing bonus point when going from 15 – 8 to 20 – 8 down, suddenly came alive and ran in two converted tries to take the spoils with a 20 – 22 win, writes Bob Harcourt.
Although finely balanced, until those last ten minutes, the game was littered with mistakes by players from both sides. A bitterly cold wind and a slippery ball accounted for some aspects of error, but, for ‘Street, particularly, inaccurate kicking and too much forward attrition, led to the loss of territory and possession, far too often. Otley kicked off with the wind and downhill advantage and ‘Street absorbed the early pressure. Mistakes dominated the first fifteen minutes until ‘Street put together a great passage of play from the right, which ended with right winger Jefferey Gregson touching down wide left. Ben Palmer missed the long conversion attempt; Otley 0 Broadstreet 5.
Thereafter, both sides slugged it out amidst a catalogue of dropped passes, knock-ons, forward passes and so on! Otley broke the stalemate after 27 minutes when awarded a penalty on ‘Street’s ten metre line and kicked for the left corner. From the penalty lineout the home pack drove and scrum half Steven Depledge claimed the touch down. He missed the conversion from wide out; Otley 5 ‘Street 5. Normal service resumed with neither side able to put together meaningful phase play. ‘Street lost tight head Henry Sandys to injury on 38 minutes with Joe Foreman taking his place, but already dominant up front, Otley benefitted from a grubber kick being taken over ‘Street’s line, giving the home side a 5 metre scrummage from which they drove over for number eight Fred Watson to dot down. Depledge added the conversion this time and Otley led at the break by 12 points to 5. Half Time: Otley 12 Broadstreet 5
‘Street re-started and pressured Otley into conceding a two minute penalty which Palmer, gratefully, stroked over for three points; Otley 12 Broadstreet 8. On his debut, long time injured, winger Dominic Lespierre put in some powerful runs and even looked to score on one, but seemed to question his pace as he stepped in-field, having looked to have the beating of the last defender. It will come, Dom! More pressure by ‘Street gave Palmer another shot at goal seven minutes later; but this one sailed wide. Depledge took his turn with a penalty kick at the end of the third quarter resulting from a binding offence at a scrum and made no mistake; extending the home lead to seven points; Otley 15 ‘Street 8. Then disaster struck for ‘Street following a scrum on half way. Number eight Jack Gibbons broke right and good support play and ball retention took the visitors within metres of the Otley goal line wide right. With a score looking highly likely, a loose pass went to ground and left wing Nazir Karim scooped the ball up and outpaced the cover for a 75 metre try in the left corner. Although unconverted, Otley now had a healthy 20 points to 8 lead with only nine minutes left to play.
From the restart, ‘Street slipped up a gear and drove into Otley territory. After ‘Street forwards had bombarded the Otley goal line in the left corner for some time, the ball was quickly moved right, where Otley were short of defenders. This allowed Ben Palmer and full back Ben Cooper to execute a perfect switch for the latter to cross under the posts; Palmer converted; Otley 20 Broadstreet 15 and less than five minutes to go. ‘Street now had their tails up and pushed for the winner, which came as Otley offended under pressure and Palmer kicked for the left corner. ‘Street’s penalty lineout drive was disciplined and tight, allowing open-side Jamie Harrop to touch down behind his fellow forwards. With the score now all square at 20 – 20, Ben Palmer had an angled kick to take the win. His usual calm and clinical preparation being employed, Ben’s kick sailed through the uprights to put ‘Street ahead for the first time in the game, and only two minutes of added time to go. Although ‘Street had to defend from the restart, there was no way that they were now in any mood to capitulate, having taken the chance to steal the spoils from under their host’s noses.
Full Time: Otley 20 Broadstreet 22.
Thought for the Game:
Last week’s win against Hull pretty well secured safety in this league and came as a relief; this having been a particularly difficult first season, for a host of reasons. Newly promoted; too many early away matches; being at the bottom end of the table, along with usual share of injuries and squad management decisions, inevitably puts pressure on performances. Taking the foot off the gas this week is understandable, [albeit not desirable], but this and all of the matches have been tough and every one of them needed to be approached with a steely determination. Clinical organisation and execution of all of the game’s requirements are not always going to go without a hitch, so, all’s well that ends well! To pull this particular result out of the fire, specifically, and to survive in the league, overall, illustrates a huge amount of character in everyone. I am not alone in being very impressed gents! [Mrs F would have loved watching this one!?]
Squad: Ben Cooper; Jefferey Gregson, Andrew Murray, Beau Carney, Josh Palmer; Ben Palmer, Nick Thatcher; Jake Dodd, Michael Worthington, Henry Sandys; Aaron Crofts, Matthew Solomon; Gareth Turner, Jamie Harrop, Jack Gibbons. Joe Foreman, Stewart Pearl, Chris Wood, James Otutaha, Dominic Lespierre.
Off the Records:
For this away match ‘Street fielded thirteen of the twenty players who had played in the home match; whilst Otley fielded fifteen out of their previous twenty selected. Otley took a 17 to 3 lead at Rugby Road and were 20 to 8 up this time round before ‘Street overhauled both deficits to clinch the wins. Back then it was Otley 6th versus us 12th. Last Saturday – Otley 6th versus us at 8th. In the home game Jeff Gregson ran in a length of the field interception try; just as Nazir Karim did in Otley. Funny old game rugby!