Halifax 17 Old Otliensians 25
Halifax scored two tries to their opponents’ one at Ovenden Park but the visitors’ six penalty goals made the difference in Yorkshire Four.
Otliensians have lost only once in 11 outings this season - in their opening game - but they did not produce form which reflected that lofty position, looking hesitant and lack-lustre in the face of some good early rugby.
A penalty in the opening minutes, however, pointed the way to Halifax’s downfall and they subsequently committed a series of offences, mainly at the breakdown.
Halifax, showing spirit and retaining the ball well, won an Otliensians scrum on 10 minutes and Mark Walton took the play on the blind side and Tony Curtis gave Luke Hamby the chance to carve a hole in the defence and scamper over from 20 metres unopposed. Joe Gallagher converted and added a penalty after impressive approach play by Halifax and a degree of carelessness from the opposition.
Otliensians’ threequarters looked solid but Steve Jones and Ben Maxwell were tight in defending centre field and tried hard to punch holes.
Halifax were competent in the tight and had the upper hand in the lineouts through the efforts of Sturman and Clive Smith.
As the half wore on, Otliensians began to look more dangerous with some strong running and Halifax tackled ferociously on their own line but were less convincing at the start of an Otliensians move.
Otliensians took two more penalty kicks well and near half time a long throw to the back of the line enabled their strong blind side flanker, aided by ineffective tackles, to carve a hole through the Halifax defence and off-load to set up the only Otliensians try.
Soon after the turn around, Halifax re-established the lead when Walton exploited the short side at a scrum and Jones and Curtis paved the way for Luke Sturman to dive over in the left hand corner. Gallagher added a tremendous kick from the touch line .
With prospects of victory, Halifax did not entirely apply themselves to the task of retaining the ball. Instead they began to force the pass, drive on too far against the odds and offending.
Sturman was sin-binned and the competent Otliensians goal kicker landed three more penalties to give his side the honours.