Preston Grasshoppers’ preparations disrupted ahead of defeat at Otley

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Otley 29 Preston Grasshoppers 5With the late diagnosis of Covid for Preston Grasshoppers coach Paul Arnold, director of rugby Gareth Dyer was in charge, with Ian McFarlane in support, for the trip to Otley.

The hosts stamped their mark on the game and within five minutes were three points up from a penalty 15m inside the Hoppers’ half, No.10 Callum Irvine scoring the first of his 12 points for the match.

It was just four minutes later when full-back Ben Magee scored the first try, darting out from a forward press to touch down just left of the posts. Irvine added the extras.

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Otley were fast on the attack, pouncing on every opportunity and just as the first quarter of the match had elapsed they scored their second try. Winger Marcus Law ran in under the posts which, after Irvine’s conversion, took the score to 17 -0.

Hoppers get on the scoresheet (photo: Mike Craig)Hoppers get on the scoresheet (photo: Mike Craig)
Hoppers get on the scoresheet (photo: Mike Craig)

The second half started quietly from a scoring point of view but with just under 15 minutes gone Otley had a line-out on the Hoppers’ 5m line from where flanker, Sam Waddington, went over for the third try. This time the conversion failed but the score moved on to 22-0.

When Otley took the ball from a scrum on their own 15m line and broke away up the field with a passing move that put Irvine in under the posts, it looked as though Hoppers might be facing a ‘nilling’.

The conversion was made by scrum half Joe Rowntree and with only 20 minutes left, Hoppers were facing a score of 29-0. There was a glimmer of hope when, from a line-out on the Otley 10m line, the forwards broke through and Matt Lamprey fought his way over only for the ball to be held up.

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Play then resumed as before with the forwards still battling up and down the field until, in the 73rd minute play was stopped for a short while owing to an injury to Otley’s Irvine.

He eventually left the field nursing his arm.

From the scrum restart inside the Otley half, it was Jacob Browne who took the ball and, jinking his way through several tackles, he ran in a try in the corner.

Jake Squirrel had his first attempt at goal from wide out on the wing but the ball sailed past the upright and when the final whistle blew the score was 29- 5.

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