Result Wednesday 16 August - Bradford Salem 10 - 35 Foresters ----    Saturday 19 August - Wharfedale v Hull Ionians (A) KO 3.00pm ----

Fylde 25 Wharfedale 21

November 22nd, 2013
Another narrow defeat, and another game in which Wharfedale found themselves facing a heavy deficit early in the second half before taking control of proceedings to mount a stirring comeback to secure a bonus reward. At Blaydon the previous week the score stood at 26-10 prior to the Greens’ rally. This time the gap was even bigger, at 25-7. A series of passing and handling errors – partly accounted for by the greasy conditions – had certainly contributed to the visitors’ adverse position at this stage. However, it must be added that they clearly had a major problem in coping with referee Craig Maxwell-Keys’ interpretation of the rules governing events at the break-down. Three times in the opening period genuine scoring opportunities were negated by the award of penalties – the justification for which was, to say the least, somewhat puzzling. Fylde had their own difficulties in this critical area of play, but to a lesser extent. On overall balance of play, having dominated much of the first half, and scoring 2 splendid tries, Fylde deserved victory – and revenge for the narrow defeat suffered at the Avenue in September. Nevertheless, they will appreciate the assistance offered their cause by 2 further controversial decisions. The score was finely balanced at 13–7 in the dying minutes of the first half when from a line-out there appeared to be a blatant knock-on in Fylde’s ranks. This was missed by the officials; Fylde were then awarded a penalty, and the ensuing line-out and well controlled drive eventually created the chance for lock Paul Arnold to break clear for the line. Within a few minutes of the restart after the interval Greens lock Richard Rhodes was yellow carded for ‘playing the man in the air’. Rhodes (supported strongly by those close to the incident) claimed that he was simply ‘contesting the ball’. Whatever the fact of the matter, his absence provided the opportunity for Fylde to set up a catch & drive, with skipper Richard Kenyon the beneficiary of a routine push-over try. Home stand-off Richard Kenyon converted the try – his sole success from 4 attempts. Had his goal-kicking matched the influential standard of his general play, the Greens’ position might well have been even more challenging. Early pressure was all from the home side, Kenyon’s straightforward penalty (5 mins) getting them off the mark, but the next score (21) came from the visitors. Wharfedale stand-off Tom Barrett, who the previous week at Blaydon had claimed a dramatic try after an 80-metre sprint, this time had just 30 metres to cover. But it was an equally impressive effort, his weaving run leaving defenders clutching thin air. He added the conversion for a 3–7 lead. The lead was shortlived. Fylde winger Oliver Viney touched down (25) for the first of a pair of finely worked tries, the Greens’ defence stretched past breaking point by a swift move to the right, Viney securing the ball off his toes before a virtual stroll to the line. Six minutes later Kenyon lofted a superbly placed cross-kick, for opposite wing Oliver Brennand to claim expertly, then swerve past the defence for the second try. Arnold’s try ended the half on a frustrating note for the Dalesmen, and Stewart’s score (49) made the possibility of the Greens gaining anything at all from the match seem highly unlikely. But, it was a different Wharfedale now. Errors were reduced, determination evident in abundance. Faster, and more effectively, to the breakdown, they had the Fylde defence under constant and increasing pressure. Despite the remainder of the game being played out almost entirely in the home half, excellent work by the Fylde defenders kept their line intact until the closing minutes. But, the fast-tiring defence just had to crack. Flanker Dan Solomi burrowed over (72), Barrett converting, and centre Joe Donkin grabbed the crucial – and thoroughly deserved – bonus-securing score. Barrett’s smooth conversion, sealing another 100% performance with the boot, was the final action. In the frantic final minutes Wharfedale had come agonisingly close to grabbing victory – a fact recognised by Fylde head coach Mark Nelson in his post-match press conference. Wharfedale coach Tom McGee, while expressing his disappointment that factors beyond his team’s control inevitably affected the outcome, was fulsome in his praise for the endeavour and resilience shown.    Fylde: Briers S; Viney, Briers C, Waywell, Brennand; Kenyon, Wallwork; Birchall, Rodaam Altham P, Arnold, Rawlings, Vernon, Stewart, Beaumont S. Replacements: Griffiths, Burtonwood, Thompson, de la Harpe, Johnson. Tries: Viney, Brennand, Arnold, Stewart. Conversion: Kenyon. Penalty: Kenyon. Wharfedale: A Whaites; L Davies (J Gough 59), J Donkin, L Gray, S Horsfall; T Barrett, P Woodhead; J Altham (A Mason 71), S Graham (I Larkin 66), M Tampin, R Brown (J Mason 66), R Rhodes, T Wareing (A Myers), D Solomi, A Allen. Tries: Barrett, Solomi, Donkin. Conversions: Barrett (3) Referee: Craig Maxwell-Lee. Assistants: Steve Halliday, Mike Firby
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