Tynedale handled the conditions better on a day when the spectators could not see across the pitch at times with the strong wind driving the snow down the pitch. It was a day for the faithful and the attendance was very good considering the awful conditions and the lure of internationals on TV.
An indication of some of the conditions experienced at times during the match
Wharfedale started the match in fine style even though they were struggling with some odd decisions. After a fine break from the Tynedale full back no one in the crowd saw a Wharfedale hand touch a ball, but they did see a massive knock on from a Tynedale player. Tynedale had an attacking scrum on Dale’s 22. Next, Toms Asejevs was pinged for boring! Tynedale ran the free kick and attacked the line. The Green defence held but Barrett’s clearance did not find touch. Dale quickly forced another turn over and swept the ball left. A Rhys Lovegrove kick down field seemed to leave Tynedale frozen. Any one of three Wharfedale players could have picked up the ball and scored. Oliver Cicognini won the race and Barrett landed a superb conversion from near the left-hand touch line.
Wharfedale’s defence now started to hold Tynedale and pin them in their own half. Even at this stage the home side were guilty of squandering chances including losing a scrum against the head. This was compounded by giving away a penalty by having a player in an offside position getting in the way! These mistakes were negating some strong play by the Wharfedale forwards and good tackling along the line.
The visitors were also, at this stage struggling, and a very not straight line out led to a scrum, a scrum penalty and Barrett sending the ball into Tynedale’s 22. Dale’s driving maul was pulled down short of the line and the ball then knocked on. Dale then pinned Tynedale on their own line and good work from Tom Davidson and Toms Asejevs gave the Greens an attacking scrum.
It was not long before the Wharfedale scrum was driving Tynedale back and after a warning from the ref a Penalty Try was awarded. Dale were leading 14-0.
Tynedale then regrouped and started playing a more fluent game. Dale however seemed to lose their way. Dale were defending in their own 22 but failed to use the wind and clear their lines. This gave Tynedale the platform to attack and from a line out, 15 metres from Dale’s line, they put together 14 phases before Matthew Outson crashed over at the foot of one of his own players. The wind took the ball away and Jake Rodgers missed the extras.
Another poor clearance was run by back by James Spencer, from 65 metres, for a try under the posts. Spencer found a nice channel through his own players but Wharfedale should have stopped his progress as he ran in virtually unopposed. Rodger`s conversion meant the visitors had reduced the deficit to two points.
Wharfedale attacked again but were halted when Tynedale successfully disrupted a rolling maul.
In the second half, Tynedale, now with the wind behind them, used the conditions superbly, and Dale struggled to get hold of the ball or find any decent field position.
Spencer scored his second with the benefit of very quick ball from a retreating scrum and an overlap was created on the left. Rodgers missed from the tee.
Tynedale then gave a lesson in how to use the conditions when, from Wharfedale’s restart, they took one phase to set a long down field kick which had Wharfedale back in their own 22. Tynedale soon had possession and set up a walk-in try for Guy Pike to claim a bonus point. Jake Rodgers converted the last try.
Another restart by Wharfedale saw Tynedale repeat the medicine and good work by the visitors soon gave them another platform in Wharfedale’s half. Tynedale’s scrum was being destroyed but Scott Powell was working miracles at getting the ball away before his own scrum half could get back into position. Dale did briefly get into Tyne’s half but clever work at various mauls meant Dale could not make progress.
When Adam Howard was Yellow Carded on 68 minutes Tynedale took advantage and slotted two penalties.
Dale’s best chance came from a good period of positive play and they worked their way for an attacking 5 metre line out. The move ended when a long pass from Tom Barrett was easily picked off and Tynedale booted the ball into Wharfedale’s 22! A good follow up earned them a penalty and Rodgers slotted another kick to leave Wharfedale totally in the cold.
Wharfedale were in the end outgunned and outplayed by a good side but they also contributed to their own downfall. Their game management and use of the conditions did not match the visitors. The northeasterners also managed the officials better than the Yorkshire side.
Wharfedale: – Robbie Davidson; Joel Gill, Tom Davidson (Harry Dunne 40), Rhys Lovegrove (Tom Davidson 59), Oliver Cicognini (Tom Mann 63); Tom Barrett, Phil Woodhead; Toms Asejevs (Joe Altham 40), Dan Stockdale, Reece Ward, Kieran Frost Stevie Graham 59), Richard Rhodes, Matty Houghton (Adam Howard 30), James Tyson, George Hedgley