Rosslyn Park 50 Wharfedale 3

November 22nd, 2013
This was yet another fruitless trip to London which ended in a beating, but there is no disgrace in losing to a strong, fast and confident side which was only one player short of its best squad. Wharfedale, by contrast, are beset by injuries, and will be concerned that the damage to Dan Solomi’s hand may keep him out of next week’s crunch match against Macclesfield. The first quarter of this high-tempo entertaining match, played on a firm pitch and for once in glorious sunshine, had given no sign of things to come. With fly-half Tom Barrett leading the way, penetrating breaks by Lloyd Davies, Aaron Myers and Dan Solomi took the visitors to within range of the line, only imprecise finishing or the absence of support preventing them from taking a deserved lead. As it was, by half-time they only had a Tom Barrett penalty goal to show for their efforts. By contrast, Rosslyn Park took advantage of their only incursions into the Greens’ 22 to score three tries, all wide on the right, through Edwards, Broughton and Ward, all converted by Katz for a 21-3 scoreline which in no way reflected the balance of possession and play. If in the first-half Wharfedale had shown signs of being able to compete, the second half gave their  supporters much less cause for satisfaction: despite having opened the half once again in control of the ball, Wharfedale’s threat was confined to occasional bursts from Barrett and the hard-working Myers, and as the game wore on the strong home forwards took increasing control: dominance at the scrum and the lineout produced fast ball to expose holes in the tiring Greens’ defence. Influential fly-half Mugford dropped a goal for the home side, to add to his own try and others from Campbell, Edwards and Bigley. Graham and Howard worked hard at the fringes of the ruck, and Rhodes continues tirelessly in his lineout role. Behind the scrum, Whaites showed that his powers are returning to where they were before his illness, and Georgiou showed his class, albeit on this occasion mainly in a defensive rôle. Davies too showed why he enjoys playing against Rosslyn Park, but for all their efforts, none had the pace to inflict real damage on the home defences. In the second half Wharfedale had not so much as an attempt at goal, although with Park’s foot off the pedal, the Greens finally threatened in the final few minutes, but once again imprecise finishing saw to it that they would make the long journey home empty-handed – except, that is, for the consolation of the heartfelt goodwill of the crowd and the good wishes of the stadium announcer ringing in their ears. Wharfedale: Whaites; Davies L, Georgiou, Gray, Horsfall; Barrett, Woodhead (Bell 55); Steel (Altham 67), Graham (Larkin 55), Tampin (Davies R 71), Howard, Rhodes, Wareing (Mason 55), Solomi, Myers. Rosslyn Park: Katz; Broughton, Parsons, Mackey (Hamilton 55), Edwards; Mugford, Heeks (Grant 64); Bigley, McGrath (Clark 46), Ward (Graham 70), Bowley, McDonald, Baldwin, Campbell, Rowland. Replacement not used: Jones. Referee: Richard Kelly
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