With 13 senior players unavailable due to either injury or work commitments, Otley called on 6 dual registration players as part of their link-up with neighbours Leeds Carnegie.
James Parkes, Kris Fullman, Richard Snowball, Howard Parr, Dan Hyde, Nathan Bland, Max Lewis and Will Kay were missing from the forward resources while the backline was shorn of Andy Brown, Jon Buchanan, Rob Whatmuff, Steve Parsons and Ian Shuttleworth.
On a positive side, Xavier Andre returned to the squad following a broken arm suffered in pre-season. The impressive duo of Tom Denton and Jacob Rowan (both England U-19 caps) again started at second row and openside respectively with Peter Wackett and Luther Burrell taking places in the backline. Young front rowers Phil Swainston and George Warner were among the replacements.
The team acquitted themselves very well throughout the match and could have been 0-10 up after 4 minutes but Robin Kitching was called back after a forward pass, with a clear run to the line.
Otley's only disappointment will have been a couple of poor decisions late in the first half which gave Bedford possession in the Otley '22 from which the home side scored 2 tries to take a 20-12 lead at the interval.
Otley continued to compete in the 2nd period and finished the match on the front foot. Tom Rhodes enjoyed a 100% strikerate with 4 well-struck penalties during a sun-bathed October afternoon at Goldington Road.
Apart from the opposition having greater opportunity to spend most of the week in a gym, it appears that the main difference between National 2 and 1 is how you are punished for making unforced mistakes in your own half. Otley undoubtedly have sufficient skills and the desire to work for each other and it should only be a matter of time before Otley start turning solid performances into victories especially as key players return from injury to bolster the squad.
Bedford: Burke, Harries, Roberts, Twelvetrees, Owen (Davey 55), Vass, Walshe (Chudley 66), Walsh (Cecere 55), Sammons (Richmond 61), Graham (Walsh 78), Howard (Botha 55), McKay, Tupai (Harding 66), Daynes, Gillanders
Otley: Wackett (Monks 71), Dench, Burrell, Mooney (Whittaker 75), Kitching (Smith 60), Rhodes, McCormack, Trethewey (Swainston 60), Steele (Warner 71), Wederell, Denton (McNeil-Matthews 71), Williams, Baldwin, Rowan (Andre 60), McCormish
Referee: Nick Williams (RFU)
Tries: Harries, Gillanders, Botha, Davey
Cons: Twelvetrees (4)
Pens: Twelvetrees (3)
Pens: Rhodes (4)
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