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Tynedale 32 Wharfedale 31

November 22nd, 2013
The fine setting in glorious sunshine did not compensate Wharfedale for a hugely disappointing outcome to this excellent match, national rugby as its best. Despite having conceded a soft early try, completed with more than a hint of a forward pass, the Greens got into their stride and after 35 minutes had turned the match on its head to lead 22-7 with close-quarter tries from Aaron Myers and Tom Wareing, and a lung-bursting interception try from  Christian Georgiou. Tom Barrett added two touchline conversions and a penalty; a fourth try might have been scored when hesitation seemed to overcome determination. It didn’t seem to matter too much that by half-time the home side had got one try back, because the Greens would be playing with the wind, and the fourth-try bonus point, and with any luck the victory, would make their day, if not their entire season. If anyone thought that, they would soon be disabused. The second half began with the home side in command, but a long-range drop goal from Barrett in the 47th minute and his penalty in the 54th ought to have settled the visitors’ nerves  to restore a lead of 28-14. However, errors had begun to creep into the Wharfedale game, promising positions were squandered through mistakes and infringements, and Tynedale soon hit back with a try from their increasingly confident backs. Now they were on the front foot, repeatedly testing the Greens’ defences, and even their scrum, which had been one of Wharfedale’s assets, was becoming dominant. Defence being much more physically and mentally exhausting than attack, gaps were beginning to appear, and Tynedale, themselves strictly not out of danger of relegation, were smelling blood. Orchestrated by scrum-half Harry Peck, the home side were running the ball at every opportunity, and Wharfedale were just holding out, thanks on one occasion to cover defence from Adam Whaites which was simply outstanding. Three unconverted Tynedale tries followed, one a brilliant solo effort from the halfway line by Peck from a tap penalty, and the home side was in the lead by 29-28, the first time their noses had been in front since the eighth minute. But Wharfedale were not finished, and as the clock ran down were awarded a penalty chance on the ten-metre line. Iceman Barrett, having a fine match, made no mistake: the Greens were back in the lead and all they had to do was run the clock down. But from the kick-off possession was conceded, and there was an inevitability about the easy penalty concession, when the Tynedale scrum-half was impeded at the base of a ruck – the kind of error under pressure which must make the management tear its hair out. As the ball sailed between the posts, Tynedale’s elation matched Wharfedale’s dejection. So with Macclesfield losing their home match albeit with two bonus points, Wharfedale, with three games to play, find themselves needing to record two more points than Macclesfield. Macclesfield’s remaining two matches look very difficult (Blaydon away then Fylde at home) underlining the importance of Wharfedale’s match next Saturday when Richmond make their first visit to the Avenue. Wharfedale: Christian Georgiou; Lloyd Davies, Joe Donkin, Luke Gray, Adam Whaites; Tom Barrett, James Gough; Chris Steele (c), Ian Larkin, Mark Tampin, Adam Howard, Richard Rhodes, Tom Wareing, Aaron Myers, Richard Brown. Replacements: Neil Dickinson, Steve Graham, Jim Mason, Simon Horsfall, Philip Woodhead.  
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