A truly epic weekend of rugby which still, on the following Wednesday evening, I’ve not quite got over. Curtain raiser to a historic Sunday in the life of this humble photographer (see next blog) was a first trip of the season to Otley.
Given the dull and wet weather we’ve had since, it’s pleasing to report that the light was good as the game began (as it was for much of the weekend). The home side were up against Hinckley (last seen by ickledot in February 2017) who’d obviously begun the season well, occupying third place in the league table. No sweat for Otley second row Declan Dunn as he cheerfully informed me before the match that the home pack were confident and ready for all comers.
And that was how it turned out. Following initial skirmishes, Otley’s Joe Graham was moving fast as he received the ball close to the Hinckley line. As the official match report has it, he went ‘crashing over’ between the posts. After that, despite occasional bursts of Hinckley pressure, the home side seemed to be comfortable. A second try followed as Stephen Nolson went over, and Otley continued to score steadily, always maintaining pressure on the visitors.
It was a great display by Otley but, as someone who’s always obsessing about the light, I wondered why the kick off was so late (2.30). Midway through the second half it was almost dark. However, a great last move of the afternoon brightened the lens as newcomer Ben Magee dived over in the corner, right in front of me.
I’ve photographed quite a number of games involving Ben, while playing for Ilkley and Yorkshire (under 20s and seniors) and it’s great to see his continued success with Otley. I’ve enjoyed many games at Otley, particularly their memorable encounters with Harrogate, but this performance has to go down as one of my favourites. I’d say there’s much potential in this current squad. But what do I know?
You can see more shots from the game over in the ickledot shop. If all goes well I’ll be photographing them again in their away fixture at Hull Ionians. Next Saturday there’s a novel double header at Hull: Yorkshire Carnegie v Doncaster Knights in the cup at midday, followed by Ionians and Otley. Hope the memory cards can stand it!