Wharfedale came up against a confident Caldy team who punished all of Wharfedale’s mistakes and ran in six tries by half time.
A lot of the Caldy support spoke highly of the Dale effort and one even said that the Green Machine were among the best teams they had played this season and they played an exciting brand of rugby with some exciting players. The ref was fulsome in her praise as well, saying that Wharfedale had “played well; they had stayed together as a team and never gave up”
The outline of the game was as follows.
The first two tries were the direct result of missed tackles allowing Forbes Edwards and Jack Lavin to touch down under the posts. Lavin converted both.
Wharfedale then came back into the game with the try of the match. Fifteen phases saw Dale press the solid Caldy defence before moving the ball left. Harry Bullough ran a superb line and fed Robbie Davidson who rounded the full back to touch down under the posts. Tom Barrett made no mistake from the tee.
Minutes later Caldy responded with a good move in midfield. Hooker, Oliver Hearn, accepted a lovely offload and crossed under the posts. Lavin again added the two points.
If the third try was created by Caldy the fourth was another gift. Dale handed Caldy the ball at the back of a defensive scrum which enabled Josiah Dickinson to score an unconverted try.
Lady luck then briefly swung in Dale’s favour; Robbie Davidson scored his second try for Dale when he intercepted the ball and ran in from 70 metres. Barrett’s conversion slipped past the upright on the wrong side.
Dale’s indiscipline then cost them field position. Having won a penalty in their own 22 the decision was reversed for foul play. Caldy then created another good try using four phases before giving standoff Rhys Hayes a little room to work some magic. Superb footwork and balance took him under the posts and Lavin grabbed another two points.
There was still time for Dale to create another try for Caldy. The Greens took the restart but three phases later Jack Lavin pounced on a pass and ran in himself under the posts for yet another easy conversion.
Take away the gifted tries the score might have been 14 – 7 to Caldy; as it was the home side were cheered in at half time leading 40 points to 12!
Dale dominated the opening period of the second half. Breaks by Scott Jordan and Tom Barrett looked good but were not followed up effectively. Dale then found themselves with an attacking five metre line out. The line out was lost; a pity as this area of Dale’s game was so effective all afternoon. An exchange of kicks saw Wharfedale back in their 22. A chip out only found the Caldy team advancing and Dale still returning to defence. The ball was quickly spun right and Royle had another easy try but too far right for Lavin to convert.
Dale again pressed and had good territory and possession. Only poor execution cost Dale and gave Caldy time to regroup. Dale had the ball 20 times in the second half and lost the ball 13 times by not getting the basics right.
Dale were again broken when Jack Lavin went through the middle of the defence. Good support followed his break and he was on hand to finish the move himself and add the extras.
Royle grabbed his hat trick by following up a hack and beating the defence to touch down first. Lavin was again wide but his personal tally for the afternoon was an admirable 24 points.
Many travelling supporters were not dismayed with the performance and returned to Yorkshire with the warm words of the Caldy committee and support.
It was heartening to see Phil Woodhead, Adam Howard and Scott Jordan back in action in the first team and all three came through unscathed and make an impact when they were on the pitch. All players contributed to an exciting afternoon of rugby. On another day this brand of attack, attack will bring great reward.
As with Sedgley Park two weeks ago the statistics show an odd story compared to the score. Dale had as much possession as Caldy and probably a territorial advantage. Caldy were clinical in punishing Wharfedale’s mistakes of which there were far too many. There were 15 scrums in the second half and Caldy had the put in 13 times. Dale matched Caldy in so many areas but basics, basics. Thirteen Caldy scrums meant thirteen Dale errors and only two from Caldy. Not a complete picture as the Greens Machine balanced this a little by forcing 5 turnovers.
The set piece was again good; only one scrum penalty given away and parity at the line out with both sides just losing one apiece.
One thing that all the folk watching and playing agreed upon was the performance of the ref. I try not to comment on the whistleblower but what a difference a strong, clear and effective ref means to the game. Having seen Claire Hodnett in charge before, she did the Cheshire vs Yorkshire game last season, I was not surprised and hope that she makes an appearance at the Avenue before the end of the season.
Team: – Harry Bullough; Robbie Davidson, Andrew Hodgson (Oli Cicognini 51), Tom Davidson, Oli Cicognini (Scott Jordan 40); Tom Barrett, Jimmy Bullough (Phil Woodhead 38, Jimmy Bullough 68); Joe Altham (Adam Howard 51), Dan Stockdale, Toms Asejevs (James Huck 28, Joe Altham 68), Richard Rhodes (Elliott Ward 33), Alistair Allen (Richard Rhodes 65), George Hedgley, Tom Whyte (Toms Asejevs 65), Josh Burridge (c).