A 38-12 LOSS at Wheatley Hills on Saturday will see Old Otliensians relegated from Yorkshire Division Two.

Due to various injuries in the squad, coach Kris Stafford featured in the opening line-up, wearing the No 6 shirt.

From the onset, Wheatley looked a ‘handful’ of a side with a big mobile pack and a decisive scrum-half. They dominated the game for the first 10 minutes, keeping the visitors pinned in their own half.

Some nice teamwork between full back Ronan Maloney and winger Matthew Peattie saw ‘Ensians break the home side’s line for the first time, but the outside centre was quick to diffuse any threat.

Wheatley’s powerful scrum was something ‘Ensians soon became wary of, but their big forwards were often let down by mistakes from their backs.

The deadlock was nearly broken by Otliensians halfway through the first half, with Oliver Eaves chipping through. The opposition's full back did well to gather the ball, only to be well tackled by Eaves chasing up.

A scrum on the five-metre line, won by the visitors (despite being pushed back) resulted in quick ball down the line only to be knocked on yards from the line.

The first 30 minutes was a hard fought battle for territory with more 'end to end' action, frustratingly yielding no scores for either team.

A second attempt at the home try line came from a penalty, seeing Will Cooper kick for touch, taking play deep into the home half.

With the line-out won, Dan Stevens drove forward forming a multi-player rolling maul. Metres from the line, the powerful Wheatley Hills prop managed to steal the ball and quash any hope of ‘Ensians opening the scoring.

Hills constantly on the attack, drove forward, recycling well and were eventually rewarded by a converted try for their scrum-half just after the half hour mark, taking the score to 7-0.

Otliensians found themselves in a similar attacking position following a scrum just inside the visitors half. The scrum broke down, resulting in a penalty to the visitors. Hills not content with the referee's decision, were marched back into their own half for 'back chat'.

Keeping the momentum, Cooper cleared deep into the oppositions 22.

‘Ensians won the line-out and saw Stevens and Sam Featherstone work the ball out to the backs, with No 11 Connor Paley making crucial yards before off-loading to Luke Cowdell, who burst through on the inside to score just to the left of the posts. Will Cooper’s conversion levelled the score at 7-7 at the 38-minute mark.

Unfortunately just before the half-time, Eaves left the pitch with a head injury, seeing Rob Lofthouse come on, taking the No 9 position, moving James Bagnall into the centre.

Following the res-tart, the match remained a tight contest until the latter quarter, which saw the strength and fitness of the home side’s forwards take advantage.

Their big prop powered his way through on the 60th minute, taking the score to 14-7, following their successful conversion.

The home side kept the momentum from the re-start, their hefty lock crossing the line shortly after. Their outside centre's conversion increased their lead to 21-7.

For the last 15 minutes, ‘Ensians faced an uphill challenge in this pivotal game, that if lost would dash any hopes of staying in Yorkshire Two.

Joe Armitage came off the bench to bolster the ‘Ensians’ defence.

Hills also made a substitution, seeing a very skilful centre pressure ‘Ensians for the remainder of the game.

Playing out of position, Lofthouse and Bagnall made good yards and put in some strong tackling but this wasn’t enough as the home side started to relax into their game and started to play with more confidence.

Wheatley's No 13 attempted a long penalty from near the halfway line. Failing to increase their lead, Hills gathered the ball, following the 22 drop out and forced their way back towards the visitors' try line.

Some poor tackling saw their vexing scrum half bustle his way over in the corner to take the score to 28-7, following another successful conversion.

Before the visitors had a chance to gather breath, the re-start was underway and their No 12 supported by his winger made an incisive run, cutting though Ensians’ defence, taking the score to 33-7.

In the last five minutes of the game ‘Ensians were rewarded with five points from a super try in the corner by Lofthouse following a lovely break and pass from Cowdell.

The home winger then responded to complete the scoring with a final unconverted try with the game ending 38-12 in the home side’s favour.

A disappointing end for Ensians’ and their hopes of staying in Yorkshire Two.

Old Otliensians' coach Kris Stafford said: “It has been a disappointing season beset by a high number of injuries in the 1st XV squad from the outset.

"Despite this, the players have competed well and we plan to re-group and get back on track next season in Yorkshire Three.”