Otley 7 Pertemps Bees 11
Cold mushy peas, torrential rain, a freezing gale force wind and a first half that produced nothing but a solitary penalty to warm the die-hard rugby fans man enough to brave the elements around Otley's exposed Cross Green ground — they warned me it could be 'grim up north!'
And the fact that those measly points came from Bees' winger Mark Nutthall did little to lift the gloom of the home supporters, several of whom opted for an extended half-time interval in order to warm themselves in the comfort of the bar.
Few would have argued with their motives. On the rare occasions Otley looked like raising the temperature with a charge towards the whitewash all they found was a wall of yellow Bees shirts and a rock-solid defence.
Centre Simon Martin was awesome as he stopped Otley's powerful forwards in their tracks. And where he led others followed with the back row of rookie Dean Miller, Qera Akapusi and Leo Halavatau having impressive games.
An early penalty from Otley's Simon Binns lacked direction and distance but Nutthall fared better at the other end with a 25-metre kick after a storming run from Halavatau resulted in the home pack straying offside.
With the exception of some fine kicking from Bees full-back Jon Goodridge, there was little else to cheer and the warmth of the clubhouse seemed the preferred option.
But the hardy souls who stayed put were treated to an enthralling second half and the sight of a well-upholstered Yorkshire lass whose streak across the pitch brought the biggest cheer of the game — the crowd warming to the sight of her frozen assets.
Otley had centre Paul Mooney sent to the sin bin only four minutes after the restart after he tripped Goodridge as the Bees full-back raced through to collect a high punt in front of the posts. Nutthall kicked the subsequent penalty and the visitors had the benefit of a six-point lead.
More solid defending halted Maifea Maifea after he had threatened to bulldoze his way through the Bees line but it was the visitors who claimed the vital opening try.
With an hour on the clock, replacement centre Tristan Davies skipped through a challenge before passing to Nutthall, out on the left wing, who squeezed in at the corner to open up an 11-0 advantage.
Otley closed the gap with ten minutes remaining when the Bees pack, minus Alex Davidson who had been given a yellow card, was driven over the line and scrum-half Neil Chivers dropped on the ball.
Binns kicked the conversion but that was as close as the Yorkshire side could get as the Bees maintained their impressive away form.
Head coach Steve Williams was understandably delighted with the win, particularly after having to re-organise his side due to the late withdrawal of both skipper Mark Cornwell and fly-half Brad Davies. "We had to reshuffle at the last minute but the boys who came in really fronted up," he said.
"They have a massive pack of forwards but we really stuck at them. In conditions like these it was a really tough game and we just had to dog it out. Tactically we got it right most of the time and I can't ask any more from my players."
OTLEY: Shuttleworth; Kitching (Back, 79), Pike, Mooney (Xavier, 60), Smith; Binns, Brown (Chivers, 47); Wring, Sayers (Turner, 79), Barretto, Whitehead, Connor (Monks, 79), Tiffany, Stockdale, Maifea. Replacements: Steele, Livesey.
BEES: Goodridge; Billig, Knight, Martin (Davies, 33), Nutthall; Higgins, Baxter; Asi (Long, 57), Pearl (Casey, 70), Sigley (Miles, 75), Davidson, Tuohy, Miller, Qera, Halavatau. Replacements: Rawlins, Spee, Petty.