OLD Otliensians won a thrilling match 22-20 against Northallerton at Chaffer's Field on Saturday.

After giving Barnsley “the chop” with a memorable victory last week, 'Ensians returned home ready to face a strong Northallerton side, lying third in Yorkshire Division Two and lacking nothing when it comes to weight in the pack.

Fortunately, the weather was perfect for Otliensians’ open, attacking, style of rugby, and the match turned out to be a thriller from start to finish.

Playing in their traditional blue and white, and with the wind to their backs, the home team received the kick-off, and full back Ronan Maloney returned the kick which put the ball within metres of the Northallerton line.

There they remained for more than 10 minutes, as the visitors desperately kept them at bay. A well-kicked penalty after 20 minutes appeared scant reward for ‘Ensians’ efforts.

The visitors then showed their strength, as their forwards and backs combined to drive toward the home try line where, following a penalty and resulting line-out, sheer weight of numbers eventually carried them over for an unconverted try.

Undeterred and after a brilliant break by fly half Will Cooper, ‘Ensians were soon back on the visitors’ line, where their scrummaging drove the larger pack almost off the park, and when one penalty followed another, the referee was obliged to award a penalty try to the home team, restoring their lead to 10-5.

Northallerton came back and were quickly back on the home team’s try line. Almost 47 minutes had elapsed when, after a series of scrums and penalties, the scores were levelled at 10 all with another unconverted try.

The second half began with Maloney again showing impressive skills, and young winger Matt Peattie proving to be an excellent addition to an already strong set of Otliensians’ backs.

It was from those backs that the next score came when, within minutes of the restart, Ollie Eaves passed to centre Joe Warner, who scored under the posts.

Northallerton, having lost their No 8 to a yellow card for dissent, they soon found themselves facing the ‘Ensian’s forwards, led by flanker Doug Elgar, charging towards their line and Matt Taylor scoring an unconverted try in the corner.

Not yet in the fourth quarter, and a score of 22-10, the visitors regrouped and their winger scored an unconverted try from a set piece.

Northallerton put pressure was on the home side, and twice crossed the ‘Ensians’ line; on one occasion they were held up and on the other they were penalised for off-side.

Northallerton scored their fourth try in the 80th minute, but with the conversion kick missing by a whisker the scoreline remained at 22-20 as the referee blew his whistle.