Blaydon 7 Wharfedale 46

The Greens had an enjoyable day up in the North East with both the 1st Team and the Foresters winning comfortably and only some light rain and a gentle breeze to spoil a perfect afternoon.

In the 1st team match Blaydon started well and took advantage of a couple of missed tackles to power down the pitch to land a try for Alex Clark after 2 minutes. John Clarkson added the conversion to give Blaydon a 7-point lead. Sadly, for the home side that was their only score.

Dale opened their account with a penalty from Tom Mann after 15 minutes and after 28 minutes a superb cross-kick from Mann was collected by Robbie Davidson. Davidson still had some work to do but finished in style to cross the whitewash. Mann added the two points.

A 50-20 from Oscar Canny set up an attacking line-out for Dale and the referee awarded a penalty to Dale. The visitors tapped quickly and spun the ball across the pitch and Josh Prell scored wide to the right. Mann stepped up and landed a superb conversion to give Dale a 10-point lead at half-time.

Dale dominated the second half and notched up another 4 tries. Ben Wright muscled over for the first score of the second half with Mann again adding the extras. Mann added to his points tally with a simple penalty in front of the posts.

Minutes later Dale pinned Blaydon deep in their 22 and had a 5-metre scrum. The Blaydon 8 were put under severe pressure and this allowed Sam Gaudie to scoop the ball up and shoot over the whitewash. Mann’s conversion was close but just missed.

Blaydon’s afternoon could be summed up with one passage of play before Wharfedale scored again. They had the ball in their possession for 14 phases but failed to make much progress and eventually lost the ball. Wharfedale were soon back on the attack and a great break from Oscar Canny was finished off by Mann who also added the conversion.

Joe Fawcett rounded up the scoring with a poacher’s try in the last minute, Mann again was post-splitting from the tee. This gave Wharfedale their third 5-point win out of 4 matches and sees them sitting 4th in the League table.

It was indeed an emphatic win. Wharfedale carried on playing ambitious rugby; it was very entertaining at times; could they have scored more? There were some chances that went begging with some poor finishing but as one of the faithful commented “if you create so many chances and score 7 tries carry on being adventurous”.

This is now a team committed to playing open attractive rugby. It might be a little frustrating at times but it is great to watch. The line out and scrum were solid and gave Dale a really good platform to attack from.

Quite a few players are again adapting to new roles on the pitch and new systems, but all showed they were more than capable to take on the new responsibilities. Tom Mann is growing in stature every game and Oli Cicognini and Oscar Canny again gave good performances as centres. Josh Prell grabbed one try but he could have had a hat trick if Dale’s passing had been a little more accurate.

Head Coach, Simon Verbickas, commented “The opening was not our best; we tried to play open fast rugby but some of the decision making was poor and there was a lack of execution at crucial stages of our play. When we settled into the match we started playing some very attractive rugby. Hats off to Blaydon, despite the score, they made us battle for every inch and I wish them all the best for the rest of the season”.

Next week sees the visit of Rotherham to the Avenue. Rotherham sit one place above Dale in the league, both on 16 points with Rotherham having a superior points difference. There have been good crowds at home games so far and the Green Machine need the support on Saturday. Ko is 3pm.

Wharfedale Bullough; Prell, Canny, Cicognini (Moore 62), R. Davidson (Darwin 59); Mann, Gaudie (Cicognini 69); Beesley (Altham 48, Beesley 67) Wright, Dickinson, Borrill, Hedgley (c) (Stockton 62), Carlson, Speres (Fawcett 30), Burridge

Photos of Saturday’s 1st XV #Nat2N match against  @BlaydonRFC are available to view and download at   https://www.flickr.com/photos/128183691@N04/albums/72177720302383247

Lower quality images can be found at   https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.3383464931976958

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