Macclesfield 28 Otley 21

OTLEY took a losing bonus point from their trip to Macclesfield and edged a step closer to preserving their National Two North status.

However, they gave themselves a lot to do after the home side raced to a 21-0 lead.

Their normally trusty scrum was unable to cope with the home side’s pack and tries for Joe Palmer and Sam Moss were taken off the back of mauls.

Otley defended valiantly and held the Blues up twice before David Marwick went over after 24 minutes.

A change in Otley’s front row had started to steady the ship and the visitors' pack started to dominate.

Despite being reduced to 14 men when Joe Rowntree received a yellow card, Otley forced their way into the home 22.

When the rolling maul was illegally pulled down the ball was put into the corner.

Sam Cook caught the line-out and Tom O’Donnell went over after the home side tried to stand off from the maul.

Ben Smith took over the kicking duties from the indisposed Rowntree and added the extras.

The visitors continued to press as they swung the ball across the width of the Blues’ back line. Jack Mackie went close, but the attack broke down when the ball was knocked-on.

Nevertheless, it was Otley who were pressing at the end of the half.

The Cross Greeners continued were they left off, dominating the territory on what was a steadily drying pitch after the break.

The boys in blue were finding it difficult to get out of their half and Paul Petchey made a great run down the left-hand side before Otley reduced the deficit.

Mackie got the ball out to Alex Beaumont, who found supporting full back Tom Hodson. He made a great run down the left flank to score a try which Smith converted.

The Blues restored the 14-point difference when Frank Barker found a hole in the Otley defence.

Undaunted, the visitors took the game to Macclesfield turning defence into attack.

Brett Mitchell charged forward from a scrum and swift passing saw Petchey sprint towards their corner before changing direction to evade a potential tackle and make Smith’s third conversion that bit easier.

A missed Blues penalty with four minutes left gave Otley renewed hope they could get something from the game, and the visitors put immense pressure on the home side.

In the last moments of the game Otley got a scrum penalty and Smith put the ball in the corner.

Otley went for the maul option but lost control of the ball going for the draw.