Rotherham Match Review

By Oscar the Otter - September 2 2002
Rotherham Match Review Otley were defeated by Rotherham in the opening fixture of the 2002/03 season. A crowd of approaching 2,000 enjoyed a sun-drenched Cross Green but unfortunately the home side were unable to compete with the full-time pros from 'down South'.

OTLEY 6 ROTHERHAM 53

Otley were only 10-6 behind after 30 minutes but the visitors' superior fitness levels told as three late first half tries meant the visitors went into the break 27-6 up.

The home side's back-line looked to have the edge on their opponents' line-up but any chance the hosts may have had was undermined by their inadequate supply of possession. Indeed, it was surprising that it took Otley 50 minutes to win a lineout given the normally efficient nature of their set-pieces.

The tactical kicking of fly-half Simon Binns and inside centre Phil Greaves was again effective but the home side's inability to retain possession was their achilles heel.

Rotherham used their full strength pack to good effect with the majority of their back division being ignored for most of the match.

Ramiro Pez opened the scoring with a penalty in the first minute after Otley had failed to deal with the kick-off, and a well-worked try from debutant wingman James Craig extended it eight minutes later.

Otley kicked well for position and Binns managed to kick a pair of penalties, but then came the flurry of three tries just before the half-time whistle which brought a bonus point and led to a dampened second half.

Winger Michael Wood went over shortly after the break before Otley gathered themselves and briefly stemmed the flow with the help of the steel added by former Leeds Tykes hooker Mark Luffman and ex-Newcastle back-rower Matt Holmes although the aggressive defence of both players led to short-stays in the sin-bin.

Glen Kenworthy and Leon Greeff added tries while lock Dan Cook concluded the scoring.

Otley head coach Peter Clegg noted that his team will measure itself more accurately next week with the trip to Rugby Lions on Sunday 8th September 2002. He added: "We knew it was going to be difficult". "The work you can do with semi-professionals does not compare with full-time professionals. They were very strong."

MATCH SQUADS

Otley: I Shuttleworth, N Law, R Whatmuff, P Greaves, M Kirkby, S Binns (capt), A Brown (M Bacon 40), A Pogson (P Hall 68), D Sayers (M Luffman 54), D Hall (R Kelly 40), J Oakes (N Bland 54), G Manuel, P Williams, J Tiffany, J Burke (M Holmes 48).

Rotherham: P Massey (S Lamont 61), J Craig, T Foster, M Umaga, M Wood, R Pez (J Benson 65), C Harrison (D Scully 65), N Lloyd (S Bunting 62), C Johnson (H Toews 62), C Noon, D Cook, G Kenworthy, L Greeff, R Earnshaw (N Spence 62), M Schmid (G Remnant 48).

Referee: R Debney (RFU)

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MATCH STATISTICS

Otley 6

Pens: Binns (2)

Rotherham 53

Tries: Craig, Pez, Greef (2), Massey, Kenworthy, Cook, Wood

Pens: Pez

Cons: Pez (5)

SPONSOR'S MAN OF THE MATCH

Ian Shuttleworth