Wednesday 24 April - Wharfedale 3rd XV v Ilkley 2nd XV (A) KO 6.30pm -------    Saturday 27 April - Wharfedale v Lymm (H) KO 3.00pm ---- Foresters v Sandal 2nd XV at West Leeds RUFC KO 3.00pm ......

Wharfedale 31-21 Preston Grasshoppers

Wharfedale played some accurate rugby in the first half to lead 19 – 0. They had the wind with them and used it well. They carried on playing good rugby at the start of the second half and two more tries took them to a 31-point lead. Hats off to Grasshoppers for a spirited fight back and with 5 minutes to go they had closed the gap to 31 – 21.

Preston received the ball from the kick-off and tried to run the ball out of their 22. Mistakes were made and the home side had a lineout on Preston’s 22. Dale opened the scoring in the third minute with an unconverted try by Jack Pinder after good work by all the forwards. The visitor’s poor start continued when the restart went straight into touch. They then seemed to have won the ball against the head only for the wing forward to pull the ball back with his hands!

Ollie Cicognini came close to the line but mistakes stopped Wharfedale from adding to their opening score. Preston had a chance to go deep into Dale’s 22 but the touch kick from a penalty was fielded by Ryan Hodgson who cleared. Then after 10 phases (with a double penalty advantage being played) Robbie Davidson scored Dale’s second after some good passing by the backs gave him space on the right wing. Considering the wind two long passes were a risky option but Louis Verity sent the ball to Sam Gaudie who fired it wide to Davidson. He converted the try from the touch line.

Errors were creeping in to the game and there was a lack of fluency to the play. Considering the wet and windy conditions it was still a good effort by both teams. The visitor’s discipline then broke down and quite a few penalties followed. Dale added to their tally with a Penalty Try after a superb catch and drive was pulled down on the line. Hoppers number 8 earned a yellow card.

At the start of the second half the Green Machine moved a catch and drive from 12 metres out and with the defence stuck in the ruck Ollie Riddiough saw the space and dashed for the line for an unconverted try.

From the restart the Greens forwards and backs combined to move the ball down field which ended with an attacking line-out.  Ben Patchett peeled away and had the power to drive over the line.  Davidson converted.

Then Preston came to life. First Jake Pope scored with Edward Keohane converting. The second try was scored by Ciaran O’Donnell, again Keohane added the extras. There was now some urgency in the visitors play and minutes later Harvey May touched down for their third converted try before Dale then closed the game out.

Not a classic spectacle but Dale seem to be able to do more than enough to win some of these less than attractive matches. Hard work gleaned another 5 points for Wharfedale and they maintain their 4th position in the league.

Dale now have a break over Easter before returning in April to take on Billingham (a), Huddersfield at home and finishing off the season with Lymm at the Avenue.

Wharfedale: – Hodgson (Viner 63); Davidson, Coulton, Cicognini, Gaudie; Verity, Riddiough (Prell 55); Dickinson, Patchett (Collinson 53), Armstrong (Meehan 50), Stockton (Green 32), Hedgley (c), Pinder, Markey, Beresford.  

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