Otley 10

THIS was simply another match Leeds were expected to win. And win they did in a quite confident manner by six goals, four tries to two tries at the superb Headingley Stadium on Saturday.

To say Otley, who were depleted and have no real strength in depth, were never in the game would be unkind.

They were and they often threatened but were unable to capitalise on the chances they made. Mind you had they done so it would not have been enough because Leeds were in rampant mood and always looked as they were going to score. It was just a question of when.

Leeds, who lost 30-21 at Cross Green on October 25, were determined not to lose this a second time while Otley, who until recently had been enjoying a run of success had to try and pick themselves up following a drawn game at Wharfedale and a home defeat to Rosslyn Park the previous Saturday..

During the early stages of the match it looked as if Otley had overcome this problem and there was a suggestion that they may even cause Leeds a few problems but once the home side opened their account with a try in the 18th minute Otley wilted a little and another Leeds try came within two minutes.

In their hearts the Otley players must have felt that being 12 points behind was already too much for them to overcome and that another defeat was looming. That the defeat was so shattering must have upset the Otley camp tremendously.

On the day Leeds were in a class of their own. Their forwards won plenty of line-out ball and their backs ran hard at pace. Despite the scoreline Otley tackled well but they were beaten by pace, skill and determination on the part of Leeds.

Leeds put on a superb display to run in

10 tries before a crowd approaching 1,000. Towards the end of the game Otley had no answer to Leeds' blistering attacks and the last 17 minutes yielded them 24 points to give them yet another massive win.

To Otley's credit they tried to play rugby to the bitter end and were in fact trying to score points right up to the final whistle. This was Otley's heaviest defeat for quite some time.

Sateki Tuipulotu, the Tongan full-back enjoyed a running game often deep in his own half while fly-half Colin Stephens, who has won four caps for Wales, produced some deft passing which opened up holes in the Otley defence.

In the forwards Christian Radacanu, their Romanian international lock, won plenty of ball in the line-outs.

For Otley Peter Rutledge, not yet back to his full pace following a groin injury

tried to assist his backs by linking up with them. He tackled well and received due applause when he was substituted late in the game. It must have been a disappointment for him not to have got on the score sheet for a third successive week.

Skipper Neil Hargreaves - what a fine acquisition he has been for Otley - was once again everywhere and certainly led by example. Left winger Tony Greig showed plenty of determination which led to him scoring a try.

Leeds were fortunate to have such experienced players as Christian Saverimutto, Mark Luffman (hooker), Martin Whitcombe (prop), Mark Perego (former Welsh international) and Ralph Zoing (fly-half) on the bench.

During the early stages hooker Stuart Kneale was replaced by Luffman, the former Otley and Ilkley player.

Within 33 minutes Leeds had built up a 26-0 lead through tries by scrum-half Mike Cawthorn (18 mins), No 8 Tim Fourie (20 mins), right winger Simon Middleton (30 mins) and centre Ian Wynn (33 mins).

Full-back Sateki Tuipulotu converted three tries. Middleton's try was well orchestrated. Lock Christian Raducanu won a line-out and Mike Cawthorn gave to Colin Stephen . The former Welsh fly-half timed his pass perfectly to Middleton and the right winger accelerated through the Otley defence for a superb try.

Then on the stroke of half-time Tony Greig, the Otley left winger, received a pass from centre Simon Hawkins and strong running a determination took him through the Leeds cover for a well deserved try. Peter Rutledge was just wide with the conversion attempt.

As they had done before the interval Leeds dominated the second-half and scored a further 36 points.

Tries came at regular intervals from flanker Lee Denham (45 mins), Raducanu (50 mins), lefet-winger Richard Mathias (63 and

75 mins), Cawthorn (78 mins) and Tuipulotu (80 mins). Tuipulotu improved one of the tries and Colin Stephens converted two tries.

Otley's scrum-half Chris Thornton was rewarded with a 57th minute try to add to the two he scored against his former club at Cross Green earlier in the season.

Former Scotland A full-back Mark Appleson has left Leeds and joined Widnes.

l Otley, who have now gained only one point from their last three matches have another tough assignement on Saturday when they travel to Newbury. They beat Newbury 33-22 at Cross Green on October 18. The following week (February 7) they entertain Lydney at Cross Green.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.