The highs and lows of watching our beloved Wharfedale are so evident in the space of a week. The euphoria of an away win at Fylde followed by an uphill struggle at Sheffield. This should have been a battle of two teams in good form but Dale had to spend 30 minutes reduced to 14 and struggled to find any fluency. The report in the Rugby Paper does say that with Dale reduced to 14 in the first half Sheffield scored, but fails to mention that the 17 points in the second half were also gleaned when Dale were a man short. Moan over; this was not Wharfedale at their best. They may have entertained nearly 1,000 at Woodlands but this was not a spectacle to draw the crowds and only 250 were there to witness the event.
Dale return to the Avenue at last for next week’s League match with Billingham and we all hope and pray that the real Wharfedale will turn out.
Wharfedale started strongly and set up camp in Sheffield’s 22. The South Yorkshire side could have watched a video of Dale’s defensive efforts as they kept the visitors out. Dale could have got on the scoreboard with an easy penalty kick in front of the posts, but opted for a scrum. Eventually Sheffield won a penalty and a few penalties later they were in Dale’s 22. Jake Armstrong was yellow carded and Rob Burrows crossed to open the scoring. The next try was even more perplexing as a penalty was awarded to Sheffield and scrum half, Elliot Fisher, standing, it seemed, in front of the mark, tapped and ran in. Fisher converted both scores.
The second half started with Dale at full strength and also getting a few decisions. 7 minutes into the half Jake Armstrong crashed over and Robbie Davison converted. Normal service was soon resumed and Rhys Green was sent to the naughty seat. With Green watching on, and Dale forgetting how to tackle effectively, Sheffield added two more tries. Robert Fawdry and Dominic Parson both touched down and Fisher was successful from the tee both times.
Back up to 15 players Dale were more effective and space was created for Rian Hamilton to round the defence. Davidson slotted the conversion. Sheffield finished the game with a Fisher penalty after Tom Beresford earned Dale’s 3rd yellow card.
Thankfully for the faithful these poor matches are few and far between and we all look forward to returning to the Avenue on Saturday for the visit of Billingham.
Wharfedale: – Hodgson; Davidson (Meehan 22, Davidson 31), Coulton, Cicognini, Hamilton; Verity, Gaudie (Darwin 19); Dickinson, Collinson (Wills 58), Armstrong, Stockton (Beresford 67), Hedgley (c), Green, Markey (Fawcett 74), Baldwin