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

Wharfedale 22 Sedgley Park 26

November 22nd, 2013
This match was an important one for Wharfedale. Victory over a side rooted near the foot of the table, and seemingly destined for relegation, would put a period to a disappointing run of 6 successive league defeats, and ease the club away from the danger zone. It was targeted as the apparently most winnable of the Greens’ remaining fixtures. The Wharfedale faithful rolled up in their usual high numbers (attendance recorded at 575), and in confident mood. The Dalesmen’s now almost routine slow start – by the 5th minute the visitors had forged ahead 7-0 – did little to dampen belief in a successful ultimate outcome. Even when half-time was reached with Tigers holding the narrowest of advantages at 14-13, most home fans still professed optimism. They had watched their team dominate 80% of the first half, with often exciting rugby and, with the slope in Wharfedale’s favour after the interval, more of the same would settle the matter. After all, the visitors had so far mounted only 2 serious assaults on the home line (admittedly, making both count), and spent the rest of the half in dogged defence. They would surely have to crack. Well, they didn’t. Having scented the possibility of what would be only their second win in 15 league outings, and fully aware that victory was all but essential if they were to retain any realistic National One survival hopes, they matched their hosts, blow for blow, in an evenly contested and feisty second half. The result could have gone either way. The lead changed hands no less than 4 times in the 40 minutes, the killer blow to the Greens’ chances coming in the 77th minute when Tigers full-back Andrew Riley joyously finished off a sweeping move for a try in the right corner. As already mentioned, the game began in recognisable fashion for the Greens, caught cold by an early surge from Sedgley that culminated in the ball whipped out to right winger Phil Largen, whose speed took him over near the flag. Centre Matthew Riley converted splendidly from the touchline. That was the virtually the last the visitors saw of the Wharfedale half until the closing minutes, when their second attack again reaped a full 7-point harvest. This time the attack seemed to have faltered, but up popped Tigers’ lively stand-off Steve Collins to dance through the defence and touch down under the posts. Meantime, Wharfedale had looked well set to put the game beyond their opponents. Almost continuous attacks rained down on a stubborn Tigers defence. But for all their superiority in terms of possession and territory, Wharfedale could manage just a neat drop-goal from stand-off Tom Barrett (21 mins), followed by two fine unconverted tries from full-back Adam Whaites (26 & 33), his openings created by flowing moves across the backs. The see-saw second half began with a penalty for each side within the first 5 minutes. M. Riley failed from 45 metres for the Tigers, soon followed by Barrett’s clearance from 10 metres closer to edge the Greens ahead. The excitement continued with a yellow card apiece for Wharfedale’s Richard Brown (46) and Tigers’ Scott Briggs (51). However, whereas the visitors took immediate advantage of Brown’s absence with A. Riley grabbing the first of his brace of tries, M. Riley converting, the Greens garnered just a second Barrett penalty before Briggs’ return, leaving Sedgley 21-19 to the good. With tension mounting, Barrett had 2 further penalty shots – falling short from 42 metres, then clearing from 45 – and with 10 minutes remaining the Dalesmen were in front again, 22-21. Sedgley were not to be denied, and after Riley’s late bonus-point score they repulsed the final frantic Wharfedale efforts, securing what might turn out to be a crucial triumph. Capping the Greens’ obvious frustration, a yellow card for the influential Aaron Myers – issued on the advice of the touch-judge – heralded the end of the match. Wharfedale will now be looking nervously over their shoulders. With Macclesfield also earning an excellent win, this defeat leaves the Dalesmen only a tenuous-looking 10 points clear of the relegation slots. Wharfedale: A Whaites; L Davies, J Donkin (J Tincknell 48), L Gray, S Horsfall (J Gough 68); T Barrett, P Woodhead; J Altham (I Larkin 58), S Graham, M Tampin, R Brown, R Rhodes, T Wareing (J Mason 48), D Solomi, A Myers. Sedgley Tigers: A Riley; P Largen, R Wainwright (C McShane 72), M Riley, J Harrison (T Leader 68); S Collins, P Urmston; B Black, R Oxley, N Flynn (C McGrath 66), P Hoy, J Crous, D Livesey (J Lamprey 53), S Briggs, J Bishop. Referee: Nick Cockburn
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