Sunday 25 February - Wharfedale U16s Rugby Festival - KO at 12.00hrs.....

Otley 0-41 Wharfedale

Dale have had a few tricky visits to Cross Green to face Otley and the first half proved to be such an encounter. Dale just edged the half and went in at halftime leading by 10 points. The second half was a different story as, apart from an opening foray by Otley into Dale’s half, the Green Machine was in awesome form and added another 5 tries and stopped Otley scoring.

Otley started confidently and had a short period of play in the visitor’s half. The first of a not-straight line out gave Dale a platform and they were soon deep in Otley’s 22. A catch and drive from 6 metres was efficiently executed with Jack Pinder being awarded the try.

A tip-tackle then saw Pinder earn a yellow card but Otley could not take advantage of the extra man. It was Robbie Davidson who then sent a kick from a penalty all the way for an attacking 5-metre lineout. A second clinical catch and drive was finished with Robbie Collinson getting the touch down. Neither try was converted but Dale were good value for the lead.

The second-half started with Otley showing some enterprise and running the ball from deep. After 9 phases of good possession, they lost the ball and Dale countered. An Oliver Cicognini break down the left was finished off by Ryan Hodgson. Davidson still could not add the extras, this time from the left touchline.

It was the backs who now were showing their paces and James Coulton broke through the defence before giving the scoring pass to Robbie Davidson for the bonus point try. Davidson was successful from the tee.

A long stoppage followed soon after this as Otley’s George Bowen received treatment and was stretchered off. When play resumed Dale were again on the attack. Clever work from scrumhalf, Tom Darwin, was rewarded with a Harry Bullough try in the right corner. Davidson came close but could not convert.

Dale were happy to kick for territory and Otley seemed happy to join in but they made a mess of one of Dale’s kicks and the ball ended up in their 22 with a Dale lineout. Another superb catch and drive led to Dale’s sixth try with Josh Burridge touching down wide to the right. Davidson landed the kick from the tee to take Dale 34 points ahead and heading for a record score.

Three ties for the forwards and three for the backs! The last try could be shared as the forwards did all the hard work and sucked in the despairing Otley defence. Accuracy was still needed and the ball was shipped to Hodgson who crossed for his second try. Davidson finished off the scoring with the conversion.

Discussions after the match were centred on who was Man of the Match. This was a difficult one as this was a real team effort from all 20 players; roared on by the faithful who were at Cross Green en masse. It was fitting that skipper George Hedgley got the nod in the Rugby Paper but any one of the players could have been given the award. It was a privilege to be there to witness this record-breaking effort.

Wharfedale: – Bullough (Prell 70); Davidson, Coulton, Cicognini, Hodgson; Verity, Darwin; Dickinson (Meehan 71), Collinson (Patchett 71), Armstrong, Stockton (Markey 75), Hedgley (c), Pinder, Markey (Green 61), Baldwin (Burridge 51).

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