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James Tiffany: Cross Green target is promotion
Otley’s director of rugby James Tiffany was delighted as his team took the bragging rights in their final pre-season friendly against Wharfedale last Saturday.
They beat their local rivals 35-30 in a fiery encounter but were brandished with two cards, including a late red to centre Mike Coady for his involvement in one of many melees.
Tiffany was not happy with the discipline of some of his players but was pleased with the way in which his team performed ahead of their opening fixture against Bromsgrove on September 7 in SSE National League Two North.
He said: “It was a great game from the supporters’ point of view. The intensity was always going to be high with it being a derby match. You could tell from the outset that it was more than just a friendly.
“At times we got it wrong and went a bit overboard but we also showed some fantastic play and skill.
“I told the boys at full time though that we might have lost more than we gained from ill-discipline.
“We don’t condone what Mike did and he didn’t condone it either and apologised after the match.
“But it was a real test and I was really happy with the performance against a strong side who play to a strong tempo.
“But it means nothing now unless we can take that through to the start of the new season.”
There has been a large turnaround in players this year, with 11 players coming in and seven leaving Cross Green.
But Tiffany believes he has a squad capable of going up.
He added: “We’ve lost a few players who’ve gone up the leagues to other clubs, and it is pleasing to see them progress.
“A lot of guys who’ve played for the club before have returned and there’s a few more who I’ve coached before.
“We’ve all worked hard though pre-season and they’re all good blokes, which is the most important thing.
“I’m pleased with how the pre-season has gone. We’ve set up certain goals and achieved them but we’re still a work in progress. We’ve gained a lot of confidence and a lot of the boys are in good form and put their hands up for selection, which gives me a good headache.
“We’ve got the weekend off now, which gives us a chance to recover from all our bumps and bruises.
“It’ll be a change in focus when the season starts and if we put in place the right processes the outcomes will look after themselves.
“Our target is obviously promotion. It’s a difficult league with good teams in it but that’s our aim and we believe we can achieve it.”
Pre-season could hardly have gone better for Otley as they not only defeated Bradford & Bingley 55-19 in the annual Granville Clark Memorial Match but also won the Roundhegians Tens Tournament, which is becoming an increasingly important part of pre-season for many clubs.
Next month, apart from hosting Bromsgrove first up, Otley are also at home to Dudley Kingswinford on September 21, but also have a derby at Harrogate on September 14 and a tip to Birmingham-Solihull on September 28.
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