BIG MATCH PREVIEW - Otley

by PETER WOODROOFE

OTLEY v MOSELEY, National League Division 1, at Cross Green, Otley, Saturday, October 7, 2006, KO 3.00 pm

Great setting…

The Moseley squad and supporters travel to the small market town of Otley in North Wharfedale, dominated by the Chevin, a great hill ridge with an outstanding panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

Otley’s ground is Cross Green, in the centre of the town and not far from several hostelries that sell a variety of ales, some brewed in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Great entrance…

Entrance to the ground is by the Peter Creswick Memorial Gates – an impressive, wrought-iron construction bearing the club’s coat of arms.

There is a small car park (100 cars) within the ground, with the main car park (400 cars) in Bremner Street opposite. The nearest BR station is Leeds.

Great welcome…

In the clubhouse will be found two bars and the usual food and hospitality associated with Yorkshire. The traditional rugby club atmosphere prevails, a fine place to rest after a long journey.

The Otley cricket and squash clubs are in the same complex.

Long tradition

Otley was founded in 1865, eight years before Moseley, and was reformed in 1907.

Their ground has been the scene of many exciting Divisional, County Championship and Yorkshire Challenge Cup matches. One of the great memories there was in 1979 when the Northern Counties defeated New Zealand 21-9.

Cup triumphs

Otley have won the Yorkshire Challenge Cup nine times, the latest being in 1992-3, when they also won National 3 in the Courage Clubs championship.

After qualifying for the RFU National Cup competition for the first time in 1989-90, when they were beaten by Headingley in the second round, they have qualified every season since 1990-91.

After earning three rounds’ exemption in 1993-4, they reached the fifth round defeating Wharfedale 20-5 in a local derby, before losing heavily to Sale, 58-7.

They reached the fifth round again in 2004-5, the Powergen Cup, beating Bracknell and Westcombe Park before losing 23-15 at Plymouth Albion, who had beaten Moseley 76-6 in the previous round.

Last season they achieved their best ever Cup performance, defeating the re-emerging London Scottish 46-3 at Richmond and Pertemps Bees 29-22 at Solihull, before losing 14-13 to Bedford in the quarter-final.

Encounters with Mose

Moseley and Otley first played each other when Otley won promotion to National 2 in 1993-4, after winning National 3 with a superior points difference over Havant and Exeter. Moseley did the double, winning 30-22 at The Reddings and 26-12 at Cross Green.

In the two games, such players as MIKE TEAGUE and SIMON HODGKINSON, scored points for Moseley. Otley had the likes of full-back PETER RUTLEDGE, who once held the club’s League points scoring record in a career, 991 in 1992-98, winger GLYN MELVILLE, brother of the former England captain NIGEL MELVILLE, whose early career was at Otley before winning his caps while with Wasps, and drop goal specialist RICHARD PETYT, a club record seven in the League season, though not one against Moseley.

Their other winger, SEAN ATKINSON, scored seven tries in 18 League games, two against Moseley.

Lock IAN CARROLL, was in the Yorkshire side that won the County Championship in 1993-4, defeating Durham 26-3 at Twickenham in the final. Cross Green had been the scene of Yorkshire’s 13-12 semi-final win over Gloucestershire.

MIKE HAMLIN, the former Gloucester player who was playing for Moseley at the time, was captain of Gloucestershire and scored all their points.

Otley were immediately relegated back to National 3, Moseley finishing fifth.

On the up

National 3 turned into Jewson One, which Otley won in 1999-2000, when DAN CLAPPISON scored 262 points and winger MARK KIRKBY a club record 22 tries, equalling his record in 1996-7.

Since then, they have been in National One six seasons in which they have finished 12th, 7th, 11th, 5th, 5th, and last season 9th.

After their first season in National One in which CLAPPISON was again the top points scorer with 138, along came fly-half SIMON BINNS (brother of Moseley’s ANDY), signed from Rotherham, who had scored 283 points, including five tries.

He went on to be the leading points scorer in every season since, scoring a record 310 points in 2003-4 and amassing a career record 1280 points to date, including 18 tries. Injury restricted him to 15 League appearances last season, but he was still the leading points scorer with 143.

Rivalry renewed

Moseley and Otley met again in League rugby in 2000-01, when Moseley again did the double, winning 38-17 at Cross Green and 20-15 at the University of Birmingham.

In the following season, Otley won their first League game against Moseley 39-16 at the University, but Moseley achieved a draw at Cross Green.

In their relegation season, Moseley won 30-19 at home but suffered their first defeat at Cross Green 65-27, when their fate in National One was already sealed.

Long-distance coach…

Otley’s Head Coach is long-serving PETER CLEGG, who joined from Harrogate in 1998-99, and took over coaching the 1st XV in the following season.

Players on the move

Working on a reduced budget this season, Clegg faces another challenge with props KRIS FULLAMN moving to Halifax, JUSTIN WRING going to Bristol and hooker MARK LUFFMAN to Ilkley.

Lock JASON OAKES has moved to Newcastle and No 8 GLEN WILSON to Doncaster.

Evergreen scrum-half DAVE SCULLY, well-known to us all, has continued his peripatetic journey round the Northern clubs, turning up at Doncaster.

Newcomers

Newcomers to the pack include the former England ‘A’ lock DAN HYDE from Leeds and Peter Clegg’s link with Harrogate continues with lock BENDON BACK, No 8 MAIFEA MAIFEA and winger STEVE PARSONS, scorer of 15 tries in National 2 last season, joining from Harrogate.

Other newcomers include props ALISTAIR LIVESEY from Plymouth Albion and PAUL TURNER from Cleckheaton, and locks DAVE WHITEHEAD from Blaydon and Australian SCOTT CONNOR, returning to the club.

Scrum-half NIGEL CHIVERS has joined from Cornish Pirates with another scrum-half (though playing on the wing) DANNY SMITH from Hull RUFC.

Full-back IAN SHUTTLEWORTH, centre ROBERT WHATMUFF, centre PAUL MOONEY and SIMON BINNS are long-serving experienced backs and JAMES TIFFANY, NATHAN BLAND and MATTHEW STOCKDALE are a streetwise back-row with nearly 300 appearances between them.

All part of an Otley squad that has done so well in the professional era with limited resources.

Rebound needed…

Moseley have to bounce back from two local derby defeats with only two bonus points for losing by seven points or less as a reward.

The next three matches – Otley and then at home to Newbury and Sedgley Park – have become ‘target games’ where wins will do much to establish the confidence within the squad in the first half of the season.

Unfortunately, they will be without NATHAN BRESSINGTON, who injured a knee against Pertemps Bees when so close to scoring a try.

Oh brother…

Last week it was brother against brother when scrum-half PAUL KNIGHT, who has joined Moseley this season, came up against his brother David, playing in the centre for the Bees.

The meeting of the SIGLEY brothers did not materialise as TERRY, on loan to the Bees from Gloucester, was injured, as was Moseley’s ROB

The meeting of ANDY and SIMON BINNS, due to play against each other on Saturday is in doubt as Andy injured his shoulder against the Bees. Simon, who captains Otley, has been injured this season, missing the game against his former club Rotherham (Earth Titans), but last week in Otley’s 43-20 victory at Sedgley Park, he kicked 22 points.

Tough one

Otley, lying 10th in National 1, appear to be the most difficult of Moseley’s next three ‘target games’ – mainly because it’s away at Cross Green and it has to be remembered that three out of their five games have been against full-time professionals, the Titans, Pirates and the Albion.

They have been well served by their new signings this season, nine of their 10 tries being scored by the newcomers, winger STEVE PARSONS, 3, MAIFEA MAIFEA, 3, DANNY SMITH, 2, and DAN HYDE, 1.

Beware the boot

Their two wins have been at home to Nottingham and away at Sedgley Park, in which they have won try bonus points. Moseley must also beware of the Binns’ boot – 38 points in four games.

However, it was good that OLLIE THOMAS had a 100% kicking record last week against the Bees, fifteen points bringing his total for the season to 57, and although Moseley have only won one of their five games so far, all their games have been against clubs lying in the first eight of the League.

The loss of Bressington is a blow, and possibly Binns, but the result of the game could hinge on the dominance of the packs - Moseley’s well-knit unit against Otley’s that has been rebuilt after the loss of several key players from previous seasons.

But, most of all, a disciplined Moseley performance is paramount

An intriguing game for supporters at Cross Green on Saturday.

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