National League Two North: Wharfedale 14 Otley 17

THE only statistic that matters is the final score.

A game dominated by Wharfedale was brilliantly won by Otley, who stuck to their guns, defended obstinately and took their chances when they had them to win by three points.

Wharfedale had the better of the opening minutes and could have taken the lead but a penalty kick at goal was wide of the mark.

Otley then attacked, and with Dale’s poor efforts at exiting, ended with a scrum advantage on the Dale's ten-metre line.

Otley took the lead with a try from Joe Rowntree after the forwards had set up good field position, with Rowntree adding the conversioon.

Wharfedale then attacked again and drove deep into Otley territory, winning a penalty just to the left of the posts.

The three points, however, were missed as the ball grazed the wrong side of the posts, although Otley were given a warning from the referee for repeated infringements.

The next five minutes were played in midfield, with Dale having a great scoring opportunity when Robbie Davidson fielded a kick ahead and ran the ball back with interest.

He linked up with Joe Altham, who seemed to give a scoring pass to Ben Parkinson, but an amazing cover tackle from Alex Beaumont took Parkinson into touch.

Strong running from Otley took them to nearly halfway and they were awarded a penalty, where an optimistic kick at hit the bottom of a post, and Dale cleared.

Otley attacked from the line-out and won another penalty in front of the posts, and this time Rowntree had no problem, giving the visitors a 10-0 lead.

Dale then attacked and attacked, and another 'final warning' was issued by Mr Sharp when Otley again slowed down Wharfedale possession illegally.

Dale did not take the opportunity of three points but went for the corner, and again Otley kept Dale out, this time at the expense of a yellow card.

The hosts opted for an attacking scrum but the ball was dropped, and Otley escaped as Dale gave away a free-kick at the ensuing scrum.

Still Wharfedale pressed but Otley never gave in and defended their line with tremendous enthusiasm.

Things improved in the second half for the home side, and they were rewarded with a penalty try to close the gap.

The Otley skipper had received another warning about illegal work close to the line and Mr Sharp had had enough (but no extra yellow card).

Otley were confused, as were a lot of the crowd as Dale ran back to the halfway line while the visitors gathered under the posts. However, a penalty try is now seven points with no conversion needed.

Dale were growing in confidence, and strong straight running saw them dominate again, a break from scrum half Phil Woodhead being finished off by Jack Barnard, with Davidson converting.

Wharfedale's players were running with more purpose and, more importantly, not making mistakes.

Otley had a brief foray into Dale territory, which ended when a box kick from Woodhead was followed up by Oli Cicognini, a perfectly-timed tackle dumping the Otley ball catcher into touch on halfway.

More good work followed but as Dale swept forward the scoring opportunities were not taken.

The home side did everything to try and score but resolute defence stopped them, coupled with pushing the referee to the limit.

Eventually another yellow card followed but no tries, despite the Otley line being battered.

Otley broke away from a line-out in their 22, and 13 phases later scored wide right to retake the lead, winger Henry Roberts finishing off a superb move and Rowntree slotting the touchline conversion.

Dale attacked again but another poor pass ended a promising move and Otley closed the game out.

Otley should be proud of their efforts and have the bragging rights - for the moment.

Wharfedale: R Davidson; B Parkinson (Cicognini 29), Gill, Dunne, Prell; Hainsworth (Booth 72), Woodhead; Altham (Graham 75), Stockdale, Ward (Asejevs 33, Ward 59), Hedgley, Borrill (Mason 60), Barnard, Tyson (Mason 6, Tyson 23), Burridge.