This really was a pointless match at Otley RU

THERE is no exaggeration from Otley director of rugby Peter Clegg when he says the club’s bizarre 0-0 draw against Preston Grasshoppers could have ended up 26-3 in his side’s favour.

Otley Rugby Union Club.

Saturday’s National League Two North game at Cross Green made history as only the second scoreless draw since the inception of the National Leagues. The previous game came almost 30 years ago when, in 1990, Maidenhead and North Walsham finished 0-0 in National Four South.

But Clegg told The Yorkshire Post: “At the weekend, after 78 minutes, I was walking around angry that we’d not put it bed.

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“We’d created so many chances and if we’d have come off having won 26-3 no one from Preston – or from us – would have complained. We made all the pressure, dominating in the scrummage and the line-out and probably should have scored a try or two beforehand.

“Yet, in the last three minutes or so, they got a couple of penalties, kicked to the corners both times and we had to really defend like Trojans.

“In that spell, they had two drop-goal attempts – one which we charged down, the other that fell wide – and I came away with two points being delighted instead.”

The veteran former Harrogate coach says he has been involved in one 0-0 scoreline before – “but it was that long ago I can’t remember any details” – and admitted conditions on Saturday did not help matters.

Clegg said: “They were appalling; mud, freezing rain, hard conditions like you’d find years ago.

“But it was two teams who asked and gave everything. People will say it was nil-nil so must have been boring but it wasn’t for me.

“It was hard, aggressive, physical, difficult to ref’ and anything three inches above the grass was kicked.”

Ironically, it was the West Yorkshire club’s third draw of the season having played their part in back-to-back stalemates in September. They finished 15-15 at home to Huddersfield before sharing a 34-34 draw at Tynedale the following week.

Otley, who sit 11th, visit lowly Huddersfield on Saturday and Clegg said: “It’s always tasty against them.

“We’ve had an horrendous injury list and it is extremely difficult.

“But we’ve been doing all right and you can’t ask any more of the players.”