FOR a while, those who were relying on scores from the BBC Sport website or the Press Association may have believed that Wharfedale won this National League Two North derby 24-16.

But the score turned out to be a misprint and Otley were narrow but deserving 16-14 victors, making it a fourth successive victory for Charlie Maunder’s team over their closest rivals.

The Greens had seemingly laid the platform for victory with excellent tries up the slope by Dan Stockdale and Tom Mann in the first half, both of which the latter converted.

But Otley, who had replied with an inventive try by Oli Goss and a penalty by Joe Rowntree, also scored more points up the slope with a try by Brett Mitchell and a conversion and a penalty by Rowntree.

Wharfedale also had a player sin-binned in each half by referee Daniel Woods – winger Rian Hamilton in the first half for a deliberate knock-on and fly half Will Bell in the second half for obstruction.

But while Wharfedale had given tepid displays in both matches last season against Otley, this time they were improved, although they weren’t quite good enough as the visitors held sway in the forwards and the backs.

Otley’s director of rugby Charlie Maunder said: “We dominated the second half and didn’t really give them a sniff in what was an overall team performance.

“We worked really hard in training during the week to try and give a performance like that.

“We pushed them back in two scrums and were penalised for not being safe, so we will have to look at that, but the backs were good too, and I thought that Nolly (Stephen Nolson) had got over in the right-hand corner in the second half.

“We also gave a debut to Alex Morrell on the left wing and he is a big lad and will be a threat.

“Now we have Preston Grasshoppers next week and we will try and beat them as well.”

Wharfedale have also won two and lost two, and flanker Chris Walker said: “We are only four games into the season so it doesn’t represent a crisis.

“We are still getting used to playing with each other but we must learn from our mistakes.”

Walker added: “I am enjoying working as an insurance broker rather than playing full-time rugby, but I am still on the sports side of that business so I am dealing with golf clubs and rugby clubs.

“As for the rugby, rugby players are rugby players and the lads here have made me very welcome.”

Otley kicked off towards the river in front of a crowd of 707 but it was the hosts who showed decent continuity in their first two attacks before winger Oli Cicognini almost broke through.

Then Otley full back Ben Magee made the error of taking a step to his right before trying to clear.

The ball was charged down and, although Otley regained possession, they didn’t find touch, and Wharfedale hooker Stockdale was on hand to accept Bell’s pass for the opening score in the 16th minute, Mann converting.

Four minutes later, the hosts were penalised for not rolling away, and Rowntree slotted a simple penalty.

The visitors then punished 14-man Wharfedale (Hamilton was in the bin) via a piece of brilliance down the left by Goss, who kicked infield and had the legs and the awareness to score a 27th-minute try.

But the hosts still took an interval lead via what was one of their best tries of the season so far, set up by the forwards and finished off, after choice handling, by Mann, who also converted.

This seemed to have set the derby up for the Greens as they led 14-8 with the slope to come, and that looked even more true when Hamilton went close two minutes after the interval.

But Wharfedale had precious few opportunities after that and, minutes after a fracas in front of the Shed, Otley were held up in the left-hand corner.

Mitchell’s try in the 51st minute brought Otley to within a point, and full back Ben Magee then showed pace and footwork to worry Wharfedale enough for Bell to obstruct him after he kicked ahead in midfield.

A yellow card was the verdict and Rowntree’s 56th-minute penalty attempt was true, giving Otley the lead at 16-14.

By now Phil Woodhead had replaced Sam Gaudie at scrum half for Wharfedale and he did his best to try and spark them into life, but it just wasn’t happening, and the hosts were lucky to escape without conceding a try when Nolson leapt to catch a deflected pass, beat his man on the outside and looked like he had made the corner only to be ruled held up.

Josh Burridge was also working hard for the Greens but Otley held sway and blew a try late on when Morrell knocked on with the line beckoning.

They could also afford Rowntree to miss three kicks at goal – two conversions and a penalty – while Mann also missed a penalty for Wharfedale.