A Trip To Otley & Other News

Oh dear. Oh … dear. I really have left it such a long time since my last blog post. More than a month in fact. I think this is probably the longest time I've not written something for you. And it's not as if there hasn't been a lot going on. There have been a host of rugby matches and other rugby related photography, some non-rugby photo-shoots and a quick trip to Italy. All perhaps a good excuse not to write but conversely, plenty to write about.

Snowy hills beyond as the pre-match huddles form

Most recently there was a first visit of the season to Otley. Those who've looked at this blog before will know that several of ickledot's most memorable matches have been at this grand old ground so it's perhaps a surprise that it's taken until the third month of the season to go there again. Time goes so fast. Otley have made a steady rather than dramatic start, lying around mid-table with the day's opponents, Sheffield, just one place below at kick-off.

Steely determination on the face-off the Sheffield players

It was bitterly cold and cloud covered, the third Saturday in a row where the day has begun brightly and then the light has disappeared with the start of the game. Very difficult from a photographic point of view. Perhaps that's been part of the reluctance to blog. It proved not to be a great day for Otley either.

Otley's Max Johnson moves in for his try

All seemed positive when Otley's scrum half Max Johnson ran in the first score but joy turned to disaster as an over exuberant defender leapt on to him after the ball was grounded, causing an injury which ended further participation in the game. Whether this had an effect on the outcome one can never know but certainly the home side scored no further points that day.

A glint in the eyes of the scheming Stephen Depledge

It was somewhat ironic that Max's opposite number and predecessor as Otley's first choice scrum half, Stephen Depledge, played supremely well in his new colours, having much influence on Sheffield's ultimate victory.

Deep into the second half it was very dark by the time this was taken, hence its grungy look - quite like it though, with snow in the background

Hope you like some of the shots from the game - there are more over on Flickr. When the close action is rare you've really got to look for other interest. It also helps to get there early for pre-match warm-ups and then stay until everyone's left the field, just in case a portrait or other reflective shot comes along.

The famous viaduct at Huddersfield

The famous viaduct at Huddersfield

In other news, ickledot is proud to announce that some of his photos have been featured in the first issue of a new Rugby magazine, the Rugby Journal. It not only covers the top players and teams but also the grass roots of the game. As you know, I always like to take shots of the ground and surroundings when covering a game and so the magazine has used a number of these to look at some northern clubs, including Skipton, Sandal, Huddersfield, Halifax Vandals and … Otley!

Chris Hallam

ickledot also provided some of the pictures for an article about the occupations of rugby players after they leave the game. With journalist Jon Newcombe, ickledot visited former professional Chris Hallam to learn about his new work as a designer and creator of jewellery. Very proud!