Otley are repelled in the mud as Ellar pounces to give Sandal late victory

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OTLEY’S second-half fightback failed to deliver points as they lost their National Two North encounter 10-8 at Chester.

Ankle-deep mud covered most of the pitch but Otley took it in their stride, securing an 8-0 lead at the break with the aid of a strong wind.

After Chester came back at them with two second-half tries, Otley launched a series of well-orchestrated attacks which almost stole the points.

Otley took the lead on seven minutes with a penalty from scrum-half Stephen Depledge following good forward pressure and it was 13 minutes before Chester got out of their half.

They began to threaten but met a solid defence and Otley went further ahead when crisp passing from a scrum on the home 22 allowed winger Nazir Karim to go in at the corner, powering past his opposite number on the way.

Chester began to make use of their big men, lock John Mackenzie and No 8 David Ford, but Otley handled them well until, four minutes after the break, the former scored from a maul to the line. Twelve minutes later, at a scrum on the Otley five-metre line, the latter picked up to crash over for what proved the decisive score.

Full-back James Ellar’s late try ensured Sandal made it three successive wins as they pipped visitors Burnage 18-13 in National Three North.

A tight first half was edged slightly by Sandal, who started in ideal fashion with a 10th-minute try. Intense pressure near the line finally allowed centre Tom Burns to score, leaving Ellar to land the conversion.

The visitors refused to be rattled and chipped away at the scoreline with a penalty before taking an 8-7 lead with a try.

Sandal finished the half in the ascendancy, however, and Ellar’s penalty provided the advantage they deserved at the break.

Back came Burnage with a try from their own half, following a neat move among the backs, but Sandal drew level at 13-all with another successful kick from Ellar.

As time ticked on, the hosts found themselves increasingly on the back foot as Burnage camped on their line.

With eight minutes remaining, though, prop James Purcell did the hard work to force a penalty in his own 22. Quick-thinking scrum-half Max Whittingham sent a kick down the left and Ellar gathered the ball nicely on the bounce to run in the winning try.

Beverley had to settle for two points as they narrowly went down 36-34 at Westoe, having battled back from a 31-8 deficit earlier in the match.

Westoe were 12-0 up after 10 minutes through tries by Chris Judson and Richard Arrowsmith and a conversion by Matthew Mellish.

Tomasi Tanumi kicked a penalty for Beverley and Junior Tupai added a try, but two further converted tries by Arrowsmith and Andrew Lawson gave Westoe a commanding 26-8 interval lead.

A fifth try by Daniel Wilson increased the lead to 31-8 before Beverley came back strongly in the last quarter despite Scott Powell adding a sixth for Westoe.

Two tries in the space of three minutes from Tupai and two tries and a conversion by Tanumi left Beverley needing a conversion to draw level at the end.

The kick from the touchline went narrowly wide and Beverley had to settle for two bonus points.