As previewed, today was the latest meeting between two local rivals: Otley and Harrogate. Christmas is coming, there was fine dining in the club house, a brass band and Santa, but nobody was giving away any gifts in this close and feisty encounter. Perhaps it was the unseasonally warm temperature or the grey clouds overhead but one or two tempers certainly became a little overheated at times during the first forty and both sides saw yellow.
Harrogate enjoyed a lively opening and drew first blood with a converted try and a penalty to go ten ahead. At this point ickledot was beginning to think he was at the wrong end or at least consider remaining where he was for the second half. It was around this time, mid-half that Otley began to string a few attacks together and put the visitors under pressure. This brought rewards in the form of a converted try and three penalties, giving a score of 16-10 at half-time.
The second half saw fewer disciplinary misdemeanours though just as keenly fought. Otley went further ahead with a try down the left. The conversion and a penalty gave comfort to home supporters although Harrogate scored a late consolation try, making the final score 26-15.
As mentioned previously, this broke a run of victories for Harrogate, both during the current season and in previous recent encounters at Otley. Enough on show today though to show they'll improve their league position before season's end. As for Otley, things may not be running as smoothly as they'd like but the wins still come, particularly at home. Well done to them.
You can see more pictures of the game over on Flickr. Not a great day photographically as the light was poor despite an encouraging forecast. It was especially gloomy during the second half.
PS: If you'd like to see more images from the game and even download one or two, there's a collection of the game in the ickledot shop.