EXETER CHIEFS 8 OTLEY 12
It would appear from the Exeter Chiefs' website match report that Michael Fish and his weather report were the reasons why they lost this game.
Exeter's Director of Rugby Ian Bremner is quoted as saying: "...had we been given the correct forecast, we wouldn’t have played this match."
"We tried to play football but in the end the pitch and the overhead conditions beat us."
To be honest, you would have thought that a full-time Director of Rugby would have worked out that trying to play like the Barbarians on a quagmire is not the brightest move in the world!
Maybe former Otley player/coach Nigel Melville (acting as a consultant to Bremner and the Chiefs) had played a cunning part in this ludicrous tactic!
The fact of the matter is that Bremner had been out-thought by Otley coach Peter Clegg while his full-time playing unit had been outplayed by a band of part-time but extremely committed, hardnosed rugby players who thrive on a bit of 'Billy Ocean'...you know..."when the going gets tough, the tough get going"!
Having endured a torrid 8 hour coach journey to the other end of the country, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Otley would be happy just to get the final leg of the dreaded 'South West' tour out of the way. In the last 6 weeks, Otley have endured a torrid schedule with three trips to the South West interspersed with 'short' trips to London and Birmingham.
You must be kidding! Coach Clegg had his charges ready for another brutal battle between two notoriously physical sides...and well Mr Bremner...the scoreboard never ever, ever lies...you were beaten by the better side with a better gameplan!
Given the conditions it was little surprise to see Dave Scully returning to the starting line-up and it was his probing kicks that kept driving his pack forwards.
The attrition was finally broken after 20 minutes when hooker Mark Luffman crossed in between the uprights. Simon Binns goaled the extras and Otley led 0-7.
Playing up the slope and into the wind, Otley extended their lead towards the end of the first half when prop Justin Wring smashed his way over in the corner to silence the home crowd. Otley led 0-12 at the break.
Exeter's Tony Yapp kicked a penalty early in the second half to bring his side closer at 3-12 and then their replacement prop Gareth Mason scored from a rolling maul after 65 minutes to make it 8-12.
The scoreboard operator was not troubled for the remainder of the game as Otley's superb defence strangled anything that the Chiefs could muster.
A superb effort and a deserved win which sets the squad up for the next two games - thankfully seeing a return to Cross Green - against Nottingham next weekend followed by a mouth-watering Yorkshire Derby bonanza against Rotherham on Boxing Day.
Exeter Chiefs: Staniforth, Murdoch, Ward (Fisher, 51), M Fatialofa, Kingdom (Luff, 63), Yapp, Barrett (Wilson, 61), Jenkins (Mason, 56), Blythe, Liddington (Davis, 56), Bentley (Gabey, 56), Hanks, Walker (Willis, 56), Miller, Baxter
Otley: Shuttleworth, Rock, Whatmuff, Mooney (Hyndman, 56), Sovatabua, Binns, Scully (Brown, 56), Wring, Luffman, Fullman, Oakes, Williams (Parr, 68), Connor (Tiffany, 65), Bland (Stockdale, 68), Wilson. Reps (not used): Walker, Steele
Referee: Tim Beddow (RFU)
Exeter Chiefs 8
Tries: Luffman, Wring
Click here for photos of the match
And here for some more photos including crackers of Oakesy and Scott
Click here for individual league records