YORK RI...........0

OTLIENSIANS in their last league game of the season secured their place in Yorkshire League Two next season with a most convincing win over York RI.

The improvement seen in recent games came together in this final match of the season with the forwards dominating play in tight and loose and the backs penetrating the RI defence to score some good tries whilst also tackling well when necessary.

Otliensians, unlike a lot of games this season when they have let the opposition open the scoring, put the first points on the board within three minutes. It was Peter Bonner, with good forward support play, who drove over after Andy Hayward had made a fine break in the centre.

This was quickly followed by Rob Arbuckle's first of two tries when he drove across the line after good penetrative running by the backs had almost put winger Tim Butcher over.

Unfortunately both conversion attempts failed. The home side were firing on all cylinders in general play and it was only another five minutes before further hard work by the forwards in the tight gained possession for Swann to send his backs off again and for Andy Hayward to have a good run into the corner for a well deserved try.

With 15 points on the board after only as many minutes Otliensians took a bit of a breather but did not lose control of the game.

RI tried hard to penetrate but without success and it was Chris Bawden at centre who was to continue th e scoring.

After good tight possession again from the pack where Richard H Smith and Dave Roberts were putting plenty of work into the engine room Simon Coates, who was having another solid game at half-back, put Bawden through for a try close to the posts. It was converted by David Smith.

Within five minutes Steve Foster put his name on the scoresheet with an excellent break from outside the 22.

David Smith added the conversion and then a few minutes later just before half-time converted a penalty to bring the score to 32-0 at the interval.

York RI were not going to lie down and opened the second-half strongly. Otliensians were however never in trouble and scrum-half Tim Swann continued the scoring with a determined blind side break from ten metres to go over.

Within a few minutes came their seventh try. This seemed to involve half the team and some excellent inter-passing saw Richard Smith go over in the left corner and the kick from wide out dropped inches below the bar.

Within three minutes Otliensians were back once more. Richard Smith gained possession in his own half and made a good break. He had good support and with some slick inter-passing Tim Butcher eventually went over.

Arbuckle, who had had a powerful game, was to get his second try five minutes before time.

The ball was kicked dead by Otliensians and from the ensuing scrum Arbuckle went over powerfully from five metres.

Unfortunately he was concussed as he touched down and had to leave the field. David Smith added a good conversion to make the final score 54-0.

Otliensians left it late in the season to show their true mettle but their manner of play bodes well for next season.

The arrival of former player Hugh Gumbs as coach a few wheels ago has certainly helped.

On Saturday in addition to those mentioned above Brett Tenniswood achieved some useful line-out possession, often on the opposition's throw in.

Marcus Drake and his replacement Mark Stevens worked hard as did Darren Hardie and Andy Rayner when they came on.

It was once again however the dominance of the front five of Bonner, Rockett, Twist Smith and Roberts that laid the foundations for a great win.

All the backs played well but Andy Hayward in particular was outstanding for his crunching tackles.

l On Saturday the club's internal sevens will be held, a fun afternoon with the ladies again probably providing the highlights. Spectators are welcome.

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