OTLEY have spoken about their devastation at having to concede yesterday's Yorkshire Cup semi-final against Sheffield Tigers.
Late last week, the Cross Greeners were looking forward to the clash against their National League Two North rivals and were intending to send as strong a side as possible to Dore Moor.
However, two injuries to props at their last training session on Thursday night, coupled with unavailability and injuries that they already knew about, left them with insufficient front-row cover.
Otley secretary Marc Lawrence explained: “Jason Moss suffered an arm injury, and I think that fellow prop Tipiloma Kivalu had a back injury.
“We were already without prop Adam Blades, who was unavailable due to his work with the RFU, while prop Will Rigg was out with a head injury and prop George Burkinshaw had a back spasm.
“That left us with no experienced cover at all, and we are devastated because we really wanted to win the Yorkshire Cup this season.
“It is extremely unfortunate and we can only apologise to Sheffield Tigers.”
Tigers’ head coach Jamie Broadley said of the walkover into the final: “It is not what we wanted.
“Our priority is the league, where we need two wins and then hope for the best, and the cup was an opportunity to give some of the lads on the fringe some game-time.
“But all of our pack that we would have fielded against Otley have played for the first team this season, as have several of the backs that we chose, plus some second-team regulars.”
Otley, meanwhile, aren't safe themselves, needing one point from their final two matches.
Tigers will now face Harrogate, who defeated Hull 25-10 in the other semi-final yesterday, in the Yorkshire Cup final on Wednesday, April 26 at a venue to be decided.
The semi-final play-off line up in the Greene King IPA Championship is also known after the final games of the regular season yesterday.
Yorkshire Carnegie, who beat visitors Ealing Trailfinders 33-20, will also face the Londoners in the play-offs.
The first leg will be at Trailfinders Sports Club on Friday, April 28 (7.45pm), with the return leg at Headingley on Friday, May 5 (7.45pm).
Championship leaders London Irish will be at Castle Park to face fourth-placed Doncaster Knights in their first leg on Sunday, April 30 (3pm), with the second leg at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, May 6 (1.15pm).
The play-off final legs will be on Wednesdays May 17 and 24, both at 7.45pm, and all six matches will be shown live on Sky Sports.
Ironically, the final games of the regular season were both play-off rehearsals as London Irish defeated Doncaster Knights 22-5 to end their hopes of finishing third.
Tries from Richard Beck, Matt Beesley, James Thraves, Andy Forsyth and Mike Mayhew ensured that Carnegie ended their regular season with a bonus-point win against Ealing.
Carnegie’s head coach Bryan Redpath made 12 changes to the Headingley side’s starting line-up, but that dropped to 11 when Chris Elder returned at full back after Max Wright was ruled out with an ankle injury.
It needed a good tackle by Steve McColl to bring down Ealing scrum half Luke Carter in the game’s first promising break, and Carnegie winger Oli Goss was then halted by a powerful Will Harries tackle.
However, two penalties that were kicked to the corner promised more for Carnegie. The home side’s rolling maul was stopped from the first, but former Otley loanee Richard Beck dived over from the second for Warren Seals to convert.
Aaron Penberthy’s penalty put Trailfinders on the board in the 25th minute but Carnegie’s man of the match Beck then charged down a Carter kick before getting the ball away to Thraves, who dived over from close range.
The visitors enjoyed their best spell of the match just before half-time, being rewarded with a penalty try which Penberthy converted to make it 14-10.
But Carnegie made a positive start to the second half, former Wharfedale hooker Matt Beesley being driven over for his first try for the club.
Penberthy landed another conversion to make the score 19-13 but the hosts then scored their bonus-point try, Elder breaking superbly from his own half before opting to pass to the supporting Forsyth, who scored.
Mayhew went over on 63 minutes, showing a potent combination of footwork and strength, and Seal’s conversion made it 33-13, but Ealing’s Will Ryan scored six minutes before the end from the back of the scrum for Penberthy to convert.