Wharfedale travelled south last Saturday looking forward to enjoying a day in the warm sunshine. As they travelled down the M1 the fog came down and when they reached Leicester Lion’s humble ground the cloud was very heavy and the biting wind reminded the travelers of winter. The same could be said on the pitch as Dale started well.
This was again an away performance that seems to be in Dale’s DNA. The spirit that was so evident the previous week against Stourbridge was not evident and the Green Machine rarely got out of first gear.
The opening was Jekyll and Hyde stuff. A short kick off was retaken by George Hedgley. Three phases later a forward pass let Lions off the hook. The next attack finished when an offload went into the hands of a Lion’s player and when they spread the ball to the right weak tackling allowed Samuel Benjamin a run to the line. Eliot Bale added the extras.
The next fifteen minutes saw a period of the game where neither team had the advantage. Dale then found some rhythm. They were helped by the home side finding the ball difficult to handle.
After 23 minutes Dale had a 5 metre line out. A good catch and drive was pulled down and Mr Leahy quickly went to his pocket and Matthew Tuckey was sent to the Leicester dugout for 10 minutes. There were comments from both sets of supporters that the yellow card was pulled out rather early. There had been no warnings and no build up in the red zone. The home side were then doubly punished as the next catch and drive saw Dan Stockdale touch down for Wharfedale. Tom Barrett added the two points to level the score.
More Jekyll followed with Dale messing up a scrum and then giving away a penalty which Bale slotted from 40 metres. The game dragged on till half time with neither side scoring, but Rob Baldwin earned a yellow card with 5 minutes to go. The half was a curious mixture of mistakes from both sides and lengthy scrums with Mr Leahy resetting most encounters sometimes twice!
The only good thing was that it was a chance to pop into the clubhouse for a warm up!
Lion’s Head Coach, Darrin Power, said after the game that he reorganized things at half time and strong words had been issued. This was not in evidence from the kick off. Dale took the kick off and three phases later won a penalty for the tackler not releasing. The Lion’s bench was fuming as all they saw were players on their feet going for the ball. Tom Barrett sent the ball up to the Lion’s 22. A clean catch was followed by a nigh exemplary catch and drive and Dale crossed the whitewash at a canter with Josh Burridge awarded the score. Tom Barrett missed the conversion but Dale had sneaked into the lead.
A lion hits a brick wall
Both sides had suffered a yellow card and from this moment on a succession of yellows meant that Dale were never allowed to compete, sometimes only on the field with 13 men. Scott Jordan left first for a deliberate knock on, thirty metres out with no threat to Dale’s line. Josh Burridge followed 5 minutes later and soon after that Jordan got a second yellow from “quick draw Leahy” which even angered the Lion’s supporters. The game stopped being a contest and became a matter of how many points the Leicester side could run up. The Green Machine stuck to the task well but were obviously stretched. They even managed to mount an attack at the end of the game and only a mistake metres from the line stopped a consolation try.
After Dale’s opening try in the second half the Lions found their shape and made the most of the advantage in numbers and punished the visitors.
Devon Constant grabbed two tries, Benjamin got his second and Marco Dallavalle also crossed. With Bale in excellent kicking form Leicester Lion’s secured an emphatic victory.
The final whistle was greeted with stony silence. Not a memorable match unless you are watching the resetting of scrums and players sitting in the sin bin.
Wharfedale: – Harry Bullough; Robbie Davidson (James Tincknell 63), Tom Davidson, Jamie Guy, Scott Jordan; Tom Barrett, Philip Woodhead; Joe Altham (Ian Larkin 73), Dan Stockdale (Jordon Poole 55), Toms Asejevs (Adam Howard 55, Toms Asejevs 57, Adam Howard 66) George Hedgley, Richard Rhodes, Rob Baldwin (c), Tom Whyte (Jack Kitching 63), Josh Burridge
The match photographs are available under the Photos tab – then click on the Link to Flikr Album.