The two teams in third and fourth swapped places again as Wharfedale won the match and gained 5 points with Tigers going home pointless. This was the first match in this campaign that Tigers had not picked up a bonus point.
Adam Byron, Sheffield Tigers Head Coach, said after the game that “it was a frustrating day for us. A couple of plays before half time where we could have scored made all the difference, and then they scored just after half time. Lapses in concentration have cost us but we are still in a great position with all to play for leading up to Christmas”
Wharfedale started brightly and were soon on the attack. A poor clearance by Sheffield was run back by Rob Baldwin, the ball was quickly moved wide and Louis Verity ran the ball into the 22. 6 phases later Dale had a penalty which Sam Gaudie converted. Dale carried on their superb defence shown against Leeds last week and this showed after the visitor`s restart. Tigers won a lineout on Dale’s 10-metre line and the Dale tackling forced them back 25 metres. Good hands from the home side took the ball into the Sheffield 22 and Dale were battering at the try line. The try was made by scrum-half, Oli Riddiough, who held the ball long enough to wrong foot the defence and allow James Coulton space to cross the whitewash. Gaudie converted.
Tigers were finding it difficult to make progress but Dale gave away a couple of silly penalties (one of which saw the yellow card coming out) and the visitors did have a penalty 25 metres out which Mark Ireland slotted.
Even reduced to 14 Dale were still playing attacking rugby. Tigers hacked the ball into Dale’s half. Robbie Davidson collected the ball and beat the players following up and set the ball up on half way. The ball was quickly recycled and fed to Star Man, Sam Dickinson, in his own half. He broke through three tackles and nearly carried the fourth tackler over the line. The Green Machine were up in support and three phases later George Hedgley crashed over for a converted try.
Tigers lost their prop, Nicholas Bingham, for a rather cynical deliberate knock-on in the middle of the pitch on 32 minutes. Robbie Davidson launched the touch kick deep into the 22 for an attacking lineout. Strong play by the forwards led to Rob Baldwin barging over. Gaudie again converted. Tigers pressed in the dying minutes of the first half but their final drive was held up.
Wharfedale carried on their good work at the start of the second half and a break by Oliver Riddiough was followed up with Ben Markey getting Dale’s bonus point try. Gaudie added the two points.
George Hedgley was mysteriously yellow carded on 46 minutes. Dale still had possession of the ball and it wasn’t until after 62 minutes that the visitors had a good touch kick from a penalty that at last gave the them some meaningful territory. A catch and drive from 5 metres led to William Archer touching down. Ireland added the extras from wide out to the left. Tigers got their second try with the last move of the game. They were made to work for it as they had a tap and go penalty from 10 metres out. 16 phases later William Bennet scored. Ireland again converted.
Speaking for Wharfedale, standoff Sam Gaudie commented “Everyone was fighting for every tackle and that includes the bench lads when they came on. We were continually dangerous in attack, always creating space and then moving into it. This was a team effort and the whole squad are thinking as one.”
Wharfedale: – Verity; Darwin, Coulton (Kaup-Samuels 76), Cicognini, Davidson; Gaudie, Riddiough; Dickinson (Altham 67), Wills (Collinson 71), Armstrong, Stockton (Green 35), Hedgley, Pinder, Markey (Beresford 56) Baldwin (Stockton 67)