BRAVE WHARFEDALE GO DOWN AT RICHMOND
On a cold breezy day at Richmond the pitch was in perfect condition for running rugby. Unfortunately in the early exchanges both sides were riddled with ball handling errors.
After eight minutes Wharfedale were awarded a penalty for a high tackle and possession was retained from a lineout. Several phases later and a tap penalty resulted in a well worked try in the corner for Max Labasse. The conversion was missed out wide by Harry Skelton.
On twelve minutes Wharfedale conceded a penalty which was converted into a 5 metre lineout. The resulting catch and drive was touched down by Jack Alcock. Rob Kirby added the extras making the score 7 – 5.
In the nineteenth minute Wharfedale enjoyed a good passage of play and Cameron Hudson made an excellent break. Quick re-cycling of the ball saw Dan Tai score in at the corner. Harry Skelton added the extras to make the score 7 – 12.
Richmond started to exert more control of the game and possession and won a penalty which Rob Kirby converted to make the score 10 -12.
In the last ten minutes of the half Richmond dominated and scored tries through Chris Davies (Playing his 150th game for the club) and Callum Grant, Rob Kirby converted one to make the score at half time 22 -12.
Richmond came out in the second half and played with great pace and tempo and by the fortyfifth minute had increased their lead through tries from Will Warden and Rory Damant to 36 – 12. Both tries were converted by Rob Kirby.
Wharfedale defended bravely but found it difficult to break out of their own half. Pressure finally told and further tries were scored for Richmond by Rory Damant, Sam Stuart and Adam Gadsby, two of which were converted by Rob Kirby, which took the final score to 55-12
Andy Hodgson, a Wharfedale coach commented: –
“Contrary to the scoreline, this week’s performance and endeavour by the players in the first half especially was a great improvement from the previous weeks and I thought we constantly caused Richmond problems when we had the ball . Our two tries by Maxime and Dan showed glimpses of our ability to play expansive, exciting rugby, linking both forward and back play, something that got our loyal travelling supporters possibly thinking that we had found our ‘mojo’. For twenty five minutes we had, we looked sharp in attack, varying our lines of running, width of play, controlled our offloads and were a constant threat , put together with Will Bell varying his attacking kicks and an aggressive defensive effort where our contact skills were as good as they have been all season things looked very positive. Unfortunately an old foe came back into our game; basic catch and pass skills in crucial areas against a side on top of their game. Their four visits to our half ending in four tries, one on the stroke of halftime, didn’t reflect how close the game actually was.
‘The old Half time curse’ Wharfedale tweet, ‘Real power and pace from Mond in the 2nd half’ Richmond tweet, were two that I read on Sunday. The second described it perfectly, as much as I don’t want to talk about Richmond, it shows why they as sitting at the top of the table.Their forwards physical running and the new number 9’s speed round the breakdown was to the fore of this. This and our lack of field position, compelled us into defending the majority of the second half, and with that amount of possession and pressure Richmond had, the inevitable always happens. As tough as it was with tries being conceded, the lads never let their heads go down and threw themselves fearlessly into collision after collision, chased down what seemed certain tries, and when the opportunity arose, mainly from our line ,we still had the desire to take the game to them.
For me it proves that the players have the ability to compete with any team in this league, but we have to get the basics right first, something the players and coaches will be working hard on throughout training to correct. I have been in this position before with Wharfdale and it was the hard work and determination of all involved that put us on a 10 game winning run. The spirit in the camp is great with the players and we know they are due a big performance at the Avenue so let’s get the16th player, the supporters, to turn up this Saturday and get behind the team for the full 80 minutes.”
M Labasse (H Bullough 60); O Fewtrell, C Hudson (H Morgan 77), H Morgan (W Davidson 60), D Tai, W Bell, H Skelton; J Altham (M Beesley 70), S Graham, C Steel (D Stockdale 55), S Willett, A Powell (A Wade 55), G Hedgley, T Whyte, J Burridge.