Huddersfield fail to find late score and Otley hold out for derby game win.
For the second successive week Huddersfield ended up losing out narrowly to a team below them in the table, going down 18 points to 22 in a close fought match at Lockwood Park.
Otley made a good start and were 10 points up after ten minutes. Having got the better of their hosts in the first two scrummages they made good use of possession with scrum half Joe Rowntree dictating play behind his forwards. An early penalty by Rowntree plus a conversion after lock forward Brett Mitchell had crashed over from close range for the first try established Otley’s early advantage.
Not long afterwards Huddersfield made their first thrust forward. Having taken good ball from a line out they worked the ball through a few positive phases before eventually losing possession to a knock on. They got on the score sheet on 22 minutes when lock Nick Sharpe scored a try near the posts after his side had taken the ball from another line out inside the Otley half. Fly half Harry Davey took an easy two points from the conversion.
With the forwards from both sides dominating the game it was two backs who lit up proceedings in the second quarter. First to shine was Otley full back Tom Hodson who made a blistering 30 metre line break only to be halted on the 22 by some fine defensive work. Next it was the turn of Huddersfield’s Brandon Conway doing similar down the left wing. He was held up just short but Otley conceded a penalty in the process and Davey narrowed the gap with his kick.
Five minutes after half time Huddersfield took the lead. When a kick out of defence by Otley was charged down they had to scramble to clear their lines, managing to find touch with a second attempt. From the line out Huddersfield established a solid maul and marched their opponents back over the line, Conway being the man to dot down.
On 55 minutes Huddersfield lost their second half momentum. Play was halted following an altercation at the scrummage between Otley’s Laurence Sanderson and Adam Blades from Huddersfield. The touch judge stepped in having adjudged Blades the instigator and referee Woods sent him to the sin bin.
Although fourteen man Field did well in defence they couldn’t prevent Otley re-taking the lead, Rowntree landing two more perfect long range penalties.
Once back to fifteen men Huddersfield pressed again and lock Adam Malthouse touched down in the right hand corner following another strong drive by the forwards. The referee signalled the try but once again an intervention from the touch judge favoured the visitors. The try was disallowed, Malthouse deemed not to have grounded the ball properly.
Field were awarded a scrum from an earlier knock on though and when Otley were penalised at the next breakdown Davey took three easy points from in front of the posts reducing Otley’s lead to a single point.
With time running out the re-start put the ball back in the Huddersfield half and when they were penalised shortly after it Rowntree landed another magnificent long range penalty from wide left to restore the four point lead.
The match ended on the Otley 22 with their defence under pressure but when Huddersfield lost possession Rowntree punted the ball into the car park. Final whistle!
Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
Men of the match…
For Huddersfield Adam Malthouse (nominated by David Somers President Otley RUFC)
For Otley Joe Rowntree (nominated by match sponsors Simpson Wood Chartered Accountants)