It's been a little while since ickledot's last blog. As mentioned right at the end of it, I've been across the Atlantic to Florida, for the Photoshop World convention and a little bit of a holiday. Returned on Friday, straight into a two match weekend of rugby.
To Otley on Saturday for their final game of the season, against league high fliers Sale. Unfortunately for Otley, as well as facing opponents quite a few places further up the table, Sale were still very much in full competitive mode, chasing a promotion play-off place. Otley, on the other hand, are safely ensconced mid-table, neither fearing relegation nor hoping for promotion.
Whether this affected their play or not is unclear, particularly against such a strong side. While the home side were able to score two tries, one in either half, Sale were always threatening; quick in open play and strong in the pack.
Sale's superiority really began to show in the second half and by the end they'd amassed an impressive 44 points to secure that play-off place. Although disappointed, Otley must be satisfied with their season overall, particularly on a day when local rivals Harrogate were relegated. More pictures from the game here and even more in the ickledot shop.
To Doncaster on Sunday for the Knights first leg of their semi-final play-off with London Irish. As related in my previous post, Knights had been well beaten by Irish in their final game of the regular season so hope was tinged with trepidation for this latest encounter.
Such fears were justified as Irish attacked from the start and were rewarded with early points. Quick in offence, the visitors also had a defence which Knights were only rarely able to penetrate beyond the 22 metre line. The Knights' reward for an afternoon's toil was a mere three point penalty while Irish totalled 35. There's a more detailed account of the game on the Knights' website - while you can never be sure in sport, they surely have an uphill task in overcoming a 32 point deficit, particularly away from home.
So, over the course of two games in two days, ickledot saw a total of 77 points being scored AT THE OTHER END OF THE PITCH! Quite frustrating, especially in a game when the team one is photographing has hardly any time in the attacking half of the field. As mentioned before, this can be overcome to a certain extent by moving to the side of the pitch for a greater portion of the game.
This does give you opportunities to photograph other aspects: lineouts, scrums from the side, the opposition passing and kicking out of defence, your own side tackling - you can get some really interesting shots. Has to be accepted though, from a rugby point of view it's not quite as satisfying when not balanced with a few of your team's runs or tries - no player, coach or supporter wants to see endless pictures of their team defending.
Better luck next weekend for the Knights hopefully but also for ickledot with Yorkshire Under 20s and West Leeds on Saturday then Yorkshire Ladies on Sunday. Have a great week!