Ovenden secure thrilling derby win

Both teams got a good taste of summer rugby in early October, the hard ground and strength-sapping heat taking a toll on the players before Ovenden ran out worthy winners.

The score changed hands throughout this Group C Conference match with Ovenden only grabbing the upper hand in the closing stages.

Even then Elland hit back to score through Kyle Bishop and he was close again a few minutes later as they looked to get back on terms with their Calderdale rivals.

Ovenden had an early chance when a kick through by Luke Sandland could not be collected and a knock on occurred. Shortly afterwards it was Elland’s turn to miss out when another kick through was dropped.

The home side then put Elland under pressure with strong breaks by Chris Sykes and Matt Collins which paved the way for the first try. Liam Walsh went for the line and as he was tackled the ball was offloaded to Tom McAdam who scored.

Phil Taylor and Dave Webb got Elland moving while Junaid Malik set Alex Fairburn haring for the corner but a superb cover tackle by Collins stopped him close to the try line.

Play then switched to the Elland line with good runs from Tom Palmer and Matt Turner, but wrong options and poor handling let them down.

As often happens Elland went straight up to the other end where a charging run by John Howarth gave him the chance to send Malik over and then take the lead with the conversion by Taylor.

Ben Lister went close for Ovenden from a kick through before Elland extended their advantage, Liam Sowerby relasing the ball to the supporting Malik who claimed his second touch down, Bishop adding the goal.

However, the home side hit back just before half time when a break by Sandland was finished off by Luke Sutcliffe, Sandland’s conversion leaving Elland holding a slender two point lead.

The game swung back to Ovenden when Brett Durkin created a try for himself, breaking the defence to score a well earned try. But back came Elland and once again Malik was involved, his well timed pass sending Sowerby over.

The home side regained the lead when the ball was moved along the line releasing Shawn Smith, who raced in to touch down near the posts giving Sandland an easy shot at goal.

Ovenden then went further in front after a break by Durkin. Walsh chipped over the Elland defence for Sutcliffe to follow up for his second try which Sandland converted and when an opening was made for Smith to score his second, a home victory was on the cards.

However, Elland were not finished and Bishop broke through a non exsistant defence to score a superb try and add the extras to put the visitors back in the hunt.

He nearly repeated the feat a few minutes later but Ovenden’s defence stood firm this time.

The scoring was completed with a try from the excellent Tom Palmer who drove over in the corner to secure a hard earned victory for his team.