‘Field’ share the spoils in a game of two halves.
Conditions for rugby were perfect when Huddersfield kicked off their match at Cross Green against Otley and the teams produced a tidy start. Both were on the score sheet inside the first five minutes with Otley being first to strike when Joe Rowntree landed a penalty after their visitors were caught off side. Jonny West put Huddersfield back on terms just after the re-start when Otley were punished for illegal entry into a ruck.
Huddersfield dominated territory and possession for the rest of the half, producing some attractive, fast flowing rugby. Their first try came on 12 minutes with No.8 Richie Piper driving over in a maul after a series of phases had stretched the home defence. West’s conversion created a seven point lead. However despite their dominance Huddersfield failed to trouble the score again before half time. Brandon Conway came close, grubbing past the Otley defence but knocking on over the line after a full pitch length move. Moments later Ollie Fox was adjudged off side when Jonny West grubbed forward, seeking to take advantage of an overlap on the right wing. However the Otley defence held firm.
Just before half time a torrential downpour changed conditions underfoot for the rest of the match and it was Otley that adapted best to the heavier conditions in the second period with Huddersfield failing to re-capture their first half mojo. Huddersfield did manage to extend their lead though when West landed his second penalty on fifty minutes. His crafty kick behind the Otley defence had them under pressure and they were penalised in the scramble to make safe.
Mid way through the final forty minutes Otley were producing their best rugby of the match with Huddersfield missing their chances to re-gain control with some careless kicking out of hand. The first of Otley’s two second half tries came on 58 minutes. A clinical lineout was followed by a maul with the Otley eight in perfect body position to push the Huddersfield pack back over their line, Grayson Maguire getting the touch down. Rowntree added the conversion and another score five minutes later which put them back on terms when Huddersfield were penalised for a high tackle.
Although the home side had the wind in their sails it was Huddersfield who scored next. A brave charge down and chase by skipper Alex Battye resulted in his team re-gaining the ball inside the Otley ’22’. A diagonal punt over the Otley defensive line by scrum half Joel Hinchliffe was caught and grounded in goal by Lewis Workman running in from the right wing. West added the extras.
Otley were soon on the attack again and produced the scores to level the match with seven minutes remaining. After a good line out, some forceful drives and neat passing exchanges centre Michael Cody latched on to a final cross field kick and touched down. Rowntree converted.
Huddersfield pressed hard for the win in the final five minutes but once again the Otley defence proved resolute.