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TV screening of Otley's historic rugby day
ONE of the greatest days in the proud heritage of Northern sport will be recalled in a Yorkshire Television production on Friday night (11pm).
That glorious day November 17, 1979, was the day when Otley Rugby Union Club's rustic Cross Green ground saw England's Northern Division beat the famous New Zealand All Blacks 21-9. The scoreline shook the rugby world and gave Otley an indelible place in rugby union folklore.
Defeats for the mighty All Blacks at the hands of non-international opponents have been few and far between, which made this Northern victory all the more special.
But arguably more memorable than events on the field was the back-cloth to the game. For while the tries by Steve Smith, Tony Bond and Alan Old were captured for posterity by the press cameras, the image which best captures to occasion is that of determined supporters festooning the poplar trees at the end of the ground to get a view of proceedings on a wet, dreary autumn day.
There were many more in the ground than should have been to see and mighty All Blacks humbled by Bill Beaumont's team and all will have rejoiced at being able to say: "I was there!"
This year brings the 25th anniversary of that occasion and with it a celebration dinner at Cross Green.
For rugby followers either keen to re-live the famous occasion or discover what all the fuss has been about down the years, Yorkshire TV will be screening a documentary of the game and the occasion at 11pm tomorrow, Friday.
This will include match footage and interviews with some of the leading personalities involved, including captain Bill Beaumont, Fran Cotton, Steve Smith and the All Blacks' Stu Wilson.