AFTER an indifferent first half and a second half that seemed to be going the same way, Otley finished off in clinical fashion to defeat visitors Tynedale 32-17 in National League Two North.

A propensity to give away penalties which was compounded by them being on the wrong end of some marginal decisions by referee Ben Davis led to Otley trailing their north-eastern rivals 17-5 at the interval.

However, Otley ended in style, scoring 27 unanswered points in 25 minutes.

The introduction of fresh props in George Burkinshaw and Laurence Sanderson in the 43rd minute helped Otley to turn the screw, and they bagged four tries in 18 minutes to win going away.

“We executed the game-plan in the second half, and it could have been a similar story in the first half had we done so,” admitted Otley’s director of rugby Charlie Maunder.

“Tynedale are not an easy side to play against and if you give them piggy-backs in terms of penalties then you are going to struggle but in the second half we sorted out our errors.”

Maunder added: “We are lucky in that we have four props who are quite level in Charles Scholey, Jason Moss, George Burkinshaw and Laurence Sanderson, and we can rotate them without losing anything.

“Also winger Stephen Nolson was outstanding, as was flanker James Dyson, who does a lot of the work that does not get noticed.

“Team spirit is good and we work for each other.”

On the coldest day of the season so far, Otley played away from the clubhouse in the first half and were behind in the opening minute.

Tynedale won ball off the top of a line-out on the left and, after two missed passes, full back Robert Parker came into the line to put scrum half Matthew Outson over.

Parker missed what was a kickable conversion, but Otley responded well, equalising in the seventh minute with a try by Nolson.

Home skipper Brett Mitchell and Adam Malthouse had driven strongly through the middle before the ball was moved left for Nolson to go over.

Parker missed a second shot at goal when he fired a penalty wide in the ninth minute, and he made it nought from three when he could not convert Tynedale’s second try seven minutes later when hooker David Batey was driven over on the left after Otley had conceded two penalties.

The full back redeemed himself in part with a magnificent clearing kick that took play into Otley’s 22, and it needed a try-saving tackle by home full back Ben Magee in the 22nd minute after Malthouse’s knock on had gifted possession to visiting fly half Jake Rodgers.

Parker put another tick in his credit box when he covered centre Tom Casson’s kick down the left wing in the 28th minute but Tynedale’s third try came out of nothing three minutes later when winger Guy Pike intercepted Otley fly half Ben Smith’s pass to scoot over.

Rodgers added the conversion to make it 17-5 in favour of the visitors, prompting cries of: “Wake up Otley” from the grandstand, and the hosts did leading up to half-time, with Nolson being tackled into touch on the left after a good passage of play.

Ollie Goss, returning from injury, replaced centre Jack Mackie at half-time, but Magee needed to be alert to cover a kick down Tynedale’s left flank by winger Liam Checksfield two minutes after the interval.

With Burkinshaw and Sanderson now in place in the front row, Otley’s fortunes started to turn, beginning with a 55th-minute break by scrum half Harry Skelton that led to a penalty, which was converted from in front of the posts near the 22 by Smith.

The latter’s kick downfield then gained the home side good ground and, although they conceded some of that via a penalty, Otley soon scored their second try.

Nolson got on the end of a grubber kick to bag his brace in the 58th minute, with Smith’s conversion pulling Otley back to within two points at 17-15.

Goss went off with a neck injury that was sustained in the build-up to the try, and there was a further blow six minutes later when winger Nazir Karim sustained a shoulder injury, adding to Otley’s already lengthy list of absentees.

Lock Declan Dunn, who was making his 100th appearance for the Cross Greeners, replaced Simon Willet in the 66th minute as Tynedale’s scrum continued to weaken, having been so strong in the first half.

With eight minutes remaining, Otley won a penalty on the ten-metre line on the diagonal.

Maunder seemed to want Otley to kick for goal but Mitchell opted for a kick to touch instead, and the latter’s decision was justified when head coach Casson’s short pass put Nolson over for his hat-trick try, with Smith’s conversion putting the hosts ahead at last by 22-17.

The Otley crowd had more to cheer when Smith kicked a long touch-finder and Mitchell stole the subsequent line-out.

No try resulted but an intelligent grubber kick by hooker Joe Graham kept the home side on the front foot.

Mitchell then won back possession deep in Tynedale’s half and made it count by scoring a 75th-minute try that sealed victory.

Smith converted to make it 29-17 and finished off the scoring himself with a penalty in what was the last action of the match as Otley climbed to eighth while Tynedale dropped into the highest of the three relegation places in 14th.