Otley Under-9s won the Preston Grasshoppers festival without conceding a try. Ten boys travelled to Preston for a festival which has an excellent reputation with many top clubs entering.

The day was sunny and warm and offered an excellent opportunity for some festival rugby. The Under-9s played four group games and won the first three against Tarleton, Preston Fireflies and Sedgeley Park comfortably scoring 17 tries and conceding none.

The stiffest challenge came from a very athletic and courageous Chester team. Otley tackled with fearsome determination and maintained pressure on the Chester team throughout the game. The victory was secured with a superbly taken try from Mark Cooke after a period of excellent handling from the Otley team.

Having topped their group the Otley squad faced a stiff test in the semi-final against a strong Fylde team. Despite the support offered to them by the ex-Fylde and England captain Bill Beaumont Fylde could not match the aggressive and decisive Otley team which won by three tries to one.

In the final Otley faced the Preston Grasshoppers in front of their home crowd. The team played at their very best and secured an emphatic three tries to nil victory. Mark Cooke collected the trophy on behalf of the Otley squad.

It was a great day for the Under-9s who have threatened all season to provide such a display of committed and skilful rugby against quality opposition.

The manner in which they played their games earned them the respect of their opposition and spectators alike.

The level of determination and control coupled with their skill and athleticism left nobody in any doubt that they were the deserved winners of the festival.

The final festival of the season is on Sunday, April 30, at Harrogate. Otley's try scorers at the Preston festival were: Jack Farrar (9), Mark Cooke (7), Steven Costello (3), Stuart Costello (2), Alex Lunn, Tom Drake and Will Mason.

The rest of the squad was Amorino Morosini, Harry Garforth and Ian Craven.

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