National League Two North: Otley 20 Huddersfield 20

IN WHAT was a classic 'game of two halves', Otley and Huddersfield shared the National League Two North spoils at Cross Green yesterday.

Huddersfield reckon that they should have doubled the ten points they scored in the first half when they were in the box seat, while Otley, who hit back in the second half, feel that if they that if their line-out had functioned better that they would have taken the spoils.

"A draw probably was a fair result," said Otley's director of rugby Peter Clegg, "but if we had been a bit more clinical and played with a bit more clarity we feel that we should have won.

"But we showed a real load of character to come back in those conditions, although we messed up a few line-outs in general.

"Also we have players to come back – hopefully Max Johnson next weekend at scrum half, although Joe Rowntree has been doing a job for us there, and his goal-kicking has been superb.

"We would have lost this match last season for the lack of a goal-kicker."

The derby meant an afternoon of reunions, with former Bees players Jason Moss and Brett Mitchell (Otley) and Adam Malthouse (Huddersfield) in opposition, and ex-Huddersfield player Tom Hodson at full back for Otley.

On the bench for Huddersfield was prop Adam Blades, who only left Cross Green in the summer.

He said: "It was a bit strange coming back, but I decided it was time to leave as I needed a fresh challenge and the travelling to Huddersfield is easier for me with my work commitments.

"The downpour before half-time completely changed how the match was played as we like to throw the ball about, and so do Otley.

"But we should have had ten points more in the first half, and Otley came back strongly in the second half and we needed to hang on in the last ten to 15 minutes.

"As for the season, we are looking at least at mid-table."

Rowntree and former Cleckheaton half-back Jonny West swapped early penalties before superb continuity by the visitors allowed ex-Cleckheaton skipper Richard Piper to go over from a maul on the left, West's conversion making it 10-3 in the 13th minute.

Huddersfield could have added further tries before half-time when winger Brandon Conway knocked on over the line when chasing his own grubber kick on the left, and when replacement Ollie Fox was offside when in pursuit of West's grubber on the right.

West also missed a penalty in the 32nd minute – the only errant kick at goal all afternoon – but Otley had their moments, being sparked into life by two tap-and-go penalties by Rowntree, and almost getting over on the right.

Then came the short but heavy downpour towards the end of the half, which sent spectators scurrying for the comfort of the stand, although some arrived looking like drowned rats.

West's 50th-minute penalty extended Huddersfield lead to 13-3 but Otley adapted better to the sodden conditions underfoot, and replacement Grayson Maguire got on the end of a perfectly-executed pushover try in the 58th minute, after Simon Willet had taken the line-out.

Rowntree's conversion meant that Otley were only three points in arrears, and he levelled matters five minutes later with a penalty after a high tackle.

Huddersfield's final try came out of nothing in the 67th minute.

Prop Alex Battye charged down Rowntree's clearance kick, and the visitors regained possession inside Otley's 22, West's beautifully weighted kick to the right corner giving Conway the chance to score, with West converting.

Otley replied in kind after Huddersfield's defence had been pulled over to the scoreboard side of the ground, a pin-point kick allowing centre Michael Coady, who was loitering on the right wing to out-jump a Huddersfield defender and score.

Rowntree's conversion tied the scores at 20-20 with seven minutes left and, although both sides tried to break the deadlock, neither managed to do so.

Otley have climbed a place to eighth – just in the top half – while Huddersfield have dropped a spot to 13th.