AN exciting, enthralling game of rugby resulted in Otley stealing victory from Wharfedale, with the hosts claiming a 25-24 victory on Saturday.

The visitors had the better of the early exchanges. The first of Rhys Green’s jackals led to good field position. A dazzling run from Tom Mann was followed up by Oscar Canny and great pressure was exerted on the Otley line. The hosts were pinned in their half and a second jackal from Green meant that Mann could send the ball close to the Otley line for an attacking line.

From there, an efficient catch and drive was rewarded with a penalty try after it was halted illegally by Otley’s Elliot Morgan who was awarded a yellow card.

Four penalties, a lost ruck and a knock on from Dale gave Otley outstanding field position with a 5-metre line out. The initial catch and drive was held up, but two phases later Otley stand-off Eddie Crossland cruised through for a try. Callum Irvine squared the match with his conversion.

Dale were guilty of gifting the home side numerous penalties and Ireland converted one to take Otley into the lead.

The restart was claimed by Dale who then went through five phases, and Ryan Carlson nearly crossed the whitewash with a penalty advantage waiting. From the resulting penalty, quick hands from Robbie Davidson saw him go over in the corner – with Tom Mann converting to put Wharfedale 14-10 ahead at the break.

In the early stages of the second half, the game swung back in Otley’s favour after a touch kick was missed by Dale. Three phases later an unconverted try was awarded to Adam Malthouse to take the home side back into the lead, 15 – 14.

Mann then notched up three more points from the tee to take Dale back into the lead, this coming just before the visitors’ stand out try. Oscar Canny started a free-flowing move that involved exchanges between himself, Mann and Louis Verity. The ball was then delivered to prop Sam Dickinson who took the scoring pass and crossed the line to extend Wharfedale’s lead to 24-15.

Six penalties, two yellow cards (Hedgley on 65 mins and Beesley on 72) and a penalty try later, the gap had closed to two points. With the full-time whistle closing in, Otley were awarded a penalty in front of Dale’s posts to pinch the game, and they did just that to seal a 25-24 victory.

It’s the second game this season that this fixture has been decided by a single point in Otley’s favour. This weekend, it’s a trip to South Yorkshire for Wharfedale as they travel to take on Sheffield in the rescheduled fixture. Initially the contest was meant to go ahead on March 11 but the home side’s pitch suffered a beating from the Arctic weather.