A hard fought match ended with Dale camped in Chester’s 22 but they could not convert this pressure into points. The halves were equal in that Chester dominated the first 40 and then Wharfedale took control for the second period.
Chester opened the scoring with a penalty from Liam McGovern after 8 minutes and Robbie Davidson brought the scores level after 26 minutes. Chester did break the Dale defence after 30 minutes when Andrew Baston broke a couple of half tackles to score. McGovern’s conversion gave the home side a seven point lead at half time.
Despite plenty of hard work, especially from the forwards, Dale could not add any points in the second half.
The wet conditions contributed to a low scoring contest. Handling errors were made by both sides.
This was a strong performance by the men in green but the team have got to learn how to get tries. The pack were outstanding. They drove Chester back and won penalties at the scrum. Both props, Reece Ward and Toms Asejevs, were magnificent at the set piece. New boy, Jordan Annett, gave a solid performance at stand-off whilst Joel Gill was the pick of the backs.
Analysis of the stats again show that Wharfedale were competive throughout the game. Both packs were 100% on their own ball but Wharfedale drove Chester back in the second half and five of the seven scrums resulted in penalties. Dale were also accurate at the line out. One got away but 93% is an excellent completion rate especially compared to Chester’s 73%.
Why then did Wharfedale not go on to win? This question will dominate training and talk in the Dale all week. This was the second game when Dale did not get full value for the pressure they applied. The Otley game, back in September, was another, when Dale had the upper hand throughout the game, but lost.
The Chester supporters were honest in their comments after the match and all said that a draw would have been a fair result and would have had no complaints if Dale had gone on to win. The Chester skipper, Andrew Ford, summed up the game by using the old cliché that “it was a game of two halves. We dominated the first half but did not score enough points and Wharfedale dominated the second half and also did not score points” These were more unbiased comments than found in the Rugby Paper which stated that “Wharfedale were lucky to go away with a point” and gave the Star Man award to one of their props!!!!!!
The conditions did not help with both sides having trouble with a slippery ball. Despite the mistakes, despite the score line, certainly despite the comments in the Rugby Paper, this was a performance of which all the travelling faithful were proud. The lads should hold their heads high and regroup for next week’s encounter at home to Blaydon. The losing bonus point was enough to move Dale one place up the league, above Blaydon, to 14th.
Wharfedale: – Robbie Davidson; Ralph Wellock, Joel Gill, Tom Davidson, Oli Cicognini; Jordan Annett, Phil Woodhead (c); Toms Asejevs, Dan Stockdale, Reece Ward, Richard Rhodes, Adam Howard, George Hedgley (Simon Borrill 74), James Tyson, Tom Whyte (Steve Graham70).
Replacements not used: – Jake Parkinson, Kieran Frost, Archie Hancock.
The end of the game was similar to France vs Wales where the game should have been brought to an end earlier. Thankfully, and I say this as a Son Of Glyndŵr, the French got the score they deserved. Wharfedale did not. There was much discussion after the game about the ending and the six scrums on Chester’s 5 metre line. All I will add to the discussion is…….
20.9 Scrum – general restrictions
(a) All players: Collapsing. A player must not intentionally collapse a scrum. A player must not intentionally fall or kneel in a scrum. This is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick
Line Outs – Wharfedale 13 out of 14 – 93%. Chester 13 out of 17 76%.
Scrums – Wharfedale 12 from 12 including 5 penalties. Chester 8 from 8.