Farewell To Talismanic Steve

It ended up being a bad day for Otley Rugby Club on Saturday. They lost to local rivals Harrogate, had their premises ransacked and robbed overnight and also said goodbye to their captain and stalwart Stephen Depledge.

Always dangerous when ickledot starts delving into the ins and outs of rugby but even someone with a basic knowledge of the game can recognise him as a truly talismanic figure - the sort of player who can singlehandedly turn games around and inspire others. This is above and beyond carrying out an allotted positional role and well demonstrated even during his last game on Saturday. In the midst of a second half which had seen his team concede two tries and the threat of further losses, he saw a gap, darted through it and laid on a try which set up a potential comeback.

As someone else remarked when they saw the picture above, a game earlier this season against Huddersfield, there he is in the background, looking away from the play and sizing up whatever other possibilities might be on.

And finally, here's another typical pose, playing against Hull last season - arched back, upper body a human lever to get maximum force into those legs.

So, farewell Stephen, thanks for the many memories and good luck for the future. And as for Otley - they say bad things come in threes so let's hope their three have been over and done with in the space of a day.