CALDY registered their ninth National Two North victory of the season but it could not have been closer at Paton Field last Saturday.

In the end a converted 77th minute try tipped the balance Caldy's way 26-25 over a hard working Otley outfit in a tense and intriguing contest.

It was sweet revenge for the Wirral side who lost to a late score 27-31 in the away clash in October.

Otley will be kicking themselves as victory just eluded them. Few would have begrudged them at least a share of the spoils.

It was not to be but at least there was some compensation for them by way of taking away a brace of bonus points.

Happily the threatened rain held off for the most part. Caldy faced the wind in the first period and did well to turn round only 12-20 in arrears.

It seemed they would comfortably redress the balance later but Otley showed true Yorkshire grit and almost got home.

Caldy were behind in the eighth minute to a try by Fred Watson but hit back immediately with Gavin Roberts going behind the posts to leave Richard Vasey an easy goal.

A missed tackle let in Tom O’Donnell for a second Otley touchdown on 14 minutes converted by Chris Gemmell and then a long kick ahead on 18 minutes saw Harry Hudson win the race to the line to make it 7-17.

Craig Ross ghosted through for an excellent try five minutes before the break for Caldy but with the last kick of the half Gemmell made it 12-20.

The home supporters awaited for the second-half onslaught but it was not until the start of the final quarter the gap was closed.

Nyle Davidson forced his way over after being set up by John Broxham with Vasey adding the extras to cut the difference to a single point.

Alas just four minutes on Jack Mackie raced over for a bonus point try for Otley after the ball bounced unkindly for Caldy from a kick ahead.

The difficult conversion was blown away and it turned out to be pivotal.

Caldy refused to lie down and strong pressure was finally rewarded when Andy Soutar breached the tiring Otley defence.

It was then down to Vasey to earn the victory and as is so often the case he made no mistake with the extras kick.

Otley tried hard to rally again in the brief moments remaining and were threatening inside the home 22 when the referee signalled time up.

Caldy are now up to seventh place in the table whilst Otley drop to fifth bottom following this twelfth defeat.

This is the 90th season for Caldy and they have a double celebration in the offing.

The club played its first match on February 27 in 1924 then under the name of Old Caldeians.

On March 1 this year, there will be a 1920s themed Gala Dinner and Marquee Ball at Paton Field preceded twenty four hours earlier by a less grand three course meal at which a top rugby speaker will provide the entertainment.

Most of the local clubs had a free Saturday last weekend. Wallasey might wish they had been amongst them as they suffered yet another defeat, this time 3-60 at home to Ormskirk in South Lancashire/Cheshire Two League.

There were comfortable Division Three successes for Oldershaw 50-12 against Helsby and Prenton 35-3 at the expense of Congleton.

New Brighton had arranged to play their Cheshire Vase semi-final at home to Crewe and Nantwich last Wednesday evening under lights but the East Cheshire club called off the tie forty eight hours ahead of kick-off.

The Cheshire Committee will now have to decide if there is to be a re-arranged date or the Blues awarded the game and with it a final place.

It is back to full league action this Saturday.

Caldy are on the road to Luctonians in National Two North and there are interesting home fixtures in North One West for Wirral against Widnes and Birkenhead Park in a cross river derby against old friends LSH.

New Brighton who are clear at the top of South Lancashire/Cheshire One welcome Sefton to Hartsfield with win number seventeen very much on the cards. Anselmians currently third take on Manchester at Malone Field whilst tenth placed Hoylake head for Winnington Park.

Wallasey try to break their losing sequence in Division Two against Vagabonds but it is a tough ask in the Isle of Man. Port Sunlight ate at home to Ormskirk.

Division Three fixtures include Oldershaw at Knutsford, Prenton at Buxton and Oxton Parkonians v Congleton. Ellesmere Port are not engaged with Holmes Chapel having withdrawn from the league.