AN extraordinary scoreline cropped in National Two North last Saturday, as Otley and Preston played out an almost unprecedented 0-0 draw.

It was only the second scoreless game in the history of the National Leagues, with the other one as far back as November 1990.

Otley’s director of rugby Charlie Maunder said, even after an attritional opening quarter, that the final result was unimaginable, but he insisted it was a much better game than the scoreline suggests.

He said: “It had 0-0 written all over it early on, but you never thought it would happen. I’ve been involved in games that were still 0-0 at half-time but nothing like this.

“We had plenty of possession and territory and Alex Beaumont was through for a try, but it was given as a forward pass, which it was, and he still had to beat the full-back anyway.

“We were penalised for technical errors in a couple of lineouts and we didn’t really threaten with the drive.

“Preston defended for 70 minutes and it was like they had an extra man. We had all the possession but just couldn’t break them down.

“But they’d missed two drop goals by the 79th minute and were camped on our line for the last 10 minutes, so we could easily have lost.”

A Preston player was yellow carded late on for a foul on Otley’s Paul Petchey, with Maunder admitting a bad call immediately afterwards probably cost his side.

He said: “We were a little bit disappointed (not to take advantage of the yellow card). We’d been taking scrum penalties, or not shot, but from the yellow we took the penalty for goal.

“It probably wasn’t the right option. We should have gone in the corner, or taken another scrum, to stay camped in their half.

“They had all the possession after that miss and we couldn’t get back in their 22.”

The game was played in appalling weather conditions, but asked whether that had an effect, Maunder said: “Not really. We’ve played in worse.

“Last week at Scunthorpe wasn’t far off either and there were 80 points scored there.

“The ball was covered in mud a lot, so I suppose we should have been smarter with our play. But really we just missed that killer instinct.

“We made plenty of half-breaks while we were on top and we often had numbers out wide but played the ball too early. For a 0-0 it wasn’t a bad game to watch.

“I would say that everyone on that pitch, for both teams, played at 100 per cent throughout, for themselves and their coaches.”

Otley will hope to get back to scoring points in their next league encounter, a visit to third-bottom Huddersfield, a game which Maunder feels will be a test for his side.

He said: “Huddersfield is always tough. Similar to us, they have a long injury list, but they’re often stronger with their backs against the wall.

“They fight, they play for each other, they’re strong, physical and show plenty of grit. The weather won’t be great either.

“We have to have high energy, execute the plan and finish off our chances. It will be a tough challenge.

“Huddersfield will aspire to get higher in the league and like everyone, they’ll be going after Otley.”