An exciting game of rugby which ended with Caldy taking 4 points back to the Wirral. The visitors knew they were in a tough match as Wharfedale competed strongly for the full 80 minutes.
No tries in the first half but Caldy went in at half time leading by 6 points to three. Caldy got the first penalty when Dale charged in at the side of a ruck to clear out, Ben Jones slotted the kick. Jack Blakeney-Edwards responded minutes later to level the scores. Jones gave the visitors the lead with another shot from 35 metres.
Caldy came out for the second half and played with more purpose. A turn over resulted in early possession in Dale’s 22 and a penalty followed. A quick tap led to a try for Star Man, Cameron Davies. The conversion was missed but Caldy extended the lead to eight points.
Dale had a penalty at the restart for a touch of afters after the try had been scored and the home side worked hard at gaining a territorial advantage. A yellow card to Caldy’s Edward Stagg then gave them numerical advantage as well. Blakeney-Edwards soon cut the lead to 5 points with a penalty.
Dale then attacked from the restart and a great kick and chase resulted in Wharfedale possession in Caldy’s 22. George Hedgley then burst from the ruck to score. The conversion was missed leaving the scores level.
George Hedgley goes over
Caldy got their rolling maul going and soon had Dale pinned in their 22. A yellow card to Dale’s George Hedgley saw the home defence depleted. Caldy opted for a scrum from the penalty award and pushed Dale back for Josiah Dickenson to score. No conversion left Caldy with a 5-point lead.
The match ended with a long-range penalty attempt by Caldy. If successful it would have denied Dale a losing bonus point. The attempt went close but to nearly everyone’s relief just missed.
Caldy won the battle up front with a much heavier pack. This was certainly true in the second half when they got their rolling maul working with great effect. The visitors were effective at managing the break down, they had good defence and discipline. Dale played some good entertaining rugby.
Caldy Head Coach, Matt Cairns, commented after the game “We were in a tough game played in front of a loud crowd. We knew that Wharfedale would provide us with a challenge and they did. I was proud that our lads eeked out a win at the end” He had “challenged the forwards at half time to perform” and was “pleased with the way they controlled the maul and the scrum”.
Jon Feeley, Wharfedale Head Coach, said after the game that “but for a few key moments in the second half, this was a game that could have gone our way. We matched them physically and played the better rugby, but their game management saw them home. We’ll learn from that. I am very proud of our effort and the manner in which we conducted ourselves”.
Many of the faithful would have taken a bonus point at 10 am on Saturday morning but this is Wharfedale. Many sides have come to the Avenue down the years with long winning streaks and enormous reputations only to find the going too tough to handle. Caldy came with a reputation of fast, open running and scoring tries. They seemed to be wary of moving the ball around too much and, a la South Africa, seemed content to kick the ball downfield.
The Green Machine showed a different brand of rugby to how they played at Chester. There was more cohesion in their play; more structure and a lot less mistakes. The scrum may have struggled but the line out purred at 100%, plus stealing the odd Caldy ball as well. The faithful urged the team on, realising that this was a game that Dale could win.
It was good to hear the shed in full voice and given the accolade by one disgruntled Caldy supporter that “this was the rudest crowd he had come across all season”. (I thought they had won).
Do not moan about the Caldy supporters based on one or two. We have the odd one that speaks out of turn occasionally!). The vast majority enjoyed their trip to the Avenue and were good rugby folk; a couple commented that they were relieved that the last gasp penalty kick just missed as it would have been a total travesty as Dale deserved at least a bonus point. The Caldy players that I spoke to also enjoyed being involved in a good hard game and more than one wondered how Dale, if they played to such a standard, were in the bottom part of the league.
Keep the home crowd burning!!
Wharfedale: – 15 Rian Hamilton, 14. Josh Prell, 13. Oscar Canny (Ben Blackwell 70), 12. Jonny Moore, 11. Oli Cicognini, 10. Jack Blakeney-Edwards, 9. Sam Gaudie (Henry MacNab 70), 1. Matt Beesley (Ben Patchett 41), 2. Dan Stockdale, 3. Jack Hirst (Sam Dickinson 67), 4. Rob Baldwin, 5. George Hedgley (c), 6. Matt Houghton, 7. Matt Speres, 8. Josh Burridge.
Sub not used: – Simon Borrill
Penalty count – 17 against Wharfedale; 10 against Caldy. Wow, that ref wasn’t half intimidated and never gave Caldy anything!!!!!