Blaydon 19 Otley 23

By Oscar the Otter - January 7 2008
Blaydon 19 Otley 23 Otley extended their unbeaten run to six games when taking the spoils at Blaydon against a side who have proved a difficult proposition on their own patch. A professional performance in the first 60 minutes put Otley 5-23 in front but a disjointed last quarter saw the hosts earn a bonus point.

Otley withstood some early pressure before turnover ball in midfield allowed Otley to launch a series of first half raids. Blaydon narrowly escaped an early catch-and-drive attempt but Otley registered their first try after 10 minutes.

Following good mauling work by the forwards, the ball was transferred to the right. Full-back Ian Shuttleworth fed right winger Steve Parsons who absorbed 3 defenders with a strong run before slipping a pass out of the "back door" back to Shuttleworth who had looped round to create the extra man. Shuttleworth outpaced the covering defence to dive in at the corner. Adam Greendale, who produced another assured display at fly-half, missed the difficult conversion but Otley led 0-5 and had placed an early marker.

Greendale converted a penalty chance after 15 minutes to make it 0-8 before Otley added their second try. Blaydon were struggling to cope with the Otley forwards who took advantage by marching them backwards at every opportunity. When Otley were awarded a penalty and kicked to the corner, the next score seemed inevitable. Flanker Nathan Bland was driven over the line for the try to make it 0-13 after 25 minutes.

The scoreline remain unaltered until half-time as Blaydon remained under the cosh which was not helped by their poor kicking from hand.

Greendale extended Otley's lead to 0-16 early in the second half and were in complete control. Nevertheless, Blaydon persevered and a few Otley players started to pick up some niggling injuries. Blaydon centre Adam Dehaty profited as he made a break from inside his own half. His pass out to left winger Andrew Fenby was collected around his boot laces as the prolific wingman crossed in the corner. Kyle couldn't land the conversion into a difficult wind. Blaydon 5 Otley 16.

Otley kicked for territory and forced the error with aggressive defence. They soon found themselves in possession and a good bust by replacement left winger John Buchanan created the space for Greendale to dart over in the left corner. Greendale kicked a magnificent conversion from the touchline to make it Blaydon 5 Otley 23.

The last quarter saw Blaydon run in 2 tries as Otley's injuries started to take their toll. A number of penalties facilitated the home side's momentum as Otley were forced into defensive mode. Fenby scored his second try of the afternoon this time on the right wing after Blaydon had worked an overlap. Kyle converted to make it 12-23.

Otley did have another opportunity to score with 5 minutes of normal time on the clock. A penalty under the posts was kicked to the corner as Otley sought the bonus point. It looked like the visitors' pack were about to plough over but a mistake saw Blaydon clear their lines.

Blaydon added their 3rd try in the 10th minute of stoppage time when Chilean back-rower Patricio Desmond was on the end of an overlap on the left. Kyle converted and the referee immediately blew for full-time. Blaydon 19 Otley 23.

Another excellent away win for Otley against a Blaydon side who are difficult to beat on their own track. Whilst the quality of the performance wasn't maintained for the full 80 minutes, a "win is a win". The encouraging thing was that despite underperforming they came away with the spoils.

Next weekend sees a break from League rugby as Otley welcome back old National 1 adversaries Bedford Blues to Cross Green for a 4th Round clash in the EDF Energy Trophy. These sides have had a number of bruising encounters in the past and a large crowd is expected for what should be an intriguing contest.

Blaydon:

Otley: Shuttleworth (capt); Parsons, Whatmuff, Mooney, Dench (Buchanan 25); Greendale, McCormack; Trethewey (Wederall 55), Steele (Plevey 65), Fullman; Snowball, Williams; Tiffany, Bland (Parr 60), Stockdale

Referee:

MATCH STATISTICS

Blaydon 19

Tries: Fenby (2), Desmond

Cons: Fenby (2)

Otley 23

Tries: Shuttleworth, Bland, Greendale

Cons: Greendale

Pens: Greendale (2)

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