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Otley fail to make possession count
Otley 26, Cornish Pirates 31
Another excellent performance left Otley with a mere bonus point, the game ending in a rather abrupt manner with the referee blowing for time when everyone expected the award of a try when Ryan Wederell was driven over.
The hosts enjoyed territorial advantage for most of the game but Pirates were able to strike when they got themselves into position and this was the difference.
Otley made the early running and Robin Kitching, having missed a 42-metre penalty chance, followed up a fine break by Ian Shuttleworth to burst through and feed back rower Rob Baldwin, who finished off. Kitching was again wide with the conversion.
It required a penalty on 18 minutes for Pirates to make a brief visit into Otley territory.
However, when they wrecked a home scrum on the 22 to gain the put-in, they got lucky when a poor attempt at a miss-pass evaded its intended recipient but bounced well for winger Aisea Havili, giving him an easy run-in with debutant fly-half Rhys Jones converting.
Taking over kicking duties, Tom Rhodes restored the lead with a penalty but good recycling by the visitors ended with No 4 Mike Barak going in under the posts.
Jones converted only for Rhodes to put his side back in touch with a fine penalty on 38 minutes.
A 14-11 half-time deficit seemed acceptable but Pirates drove over from a line-out, hooker Rob Elloway grounding near the posts for an easy conversion.
The game was being played at a terrific pace and when Nathan Bland was yellow-carded, Pirates made the numbers count. Havilli went over wide out only for Otley to hit back when 54th-minute replacement Steve Parsons made his presence felt with a strong run, which took him to the line for Rhodes to convert.
The Cornishmen extended their lead when winger Marika Vakacegu squeezed in at the corner before an interception by Shuttleworth saw him race up field and see his kick ahead booted into touch.
The line-out gave way to a scrum, where scrum half Dave McCormack broke blind to feed Parsons, who hurled himself over.
Rhodes, who had a 100 per-cent record, converted to leave Otley one score from victory.
But the prolonged hammering of the Pirates’ line failed to bear fruit and the win they deserved eluded them.