Another game that was in Wharfedale’s grasp slipped away in the last few minutes. This was not a match that was full of open exciting rugby on a cold grey afternoon. It was a game where neither side managed to play with any fluency for more than brief periods. Dale could not match the level of skill they showed at Hinckley a fortnight ago, but they should have got a better result than one bonus point.
A poor first half ended with South Leicester ahead by 10 points to nil.
Dale did most of the attacking for the first 20 minutes and had chances to score. Jamie Guy missed a penalty on 3 minutes and a superb catch and drive led to Toms Asejevs going over only for the try not to be awarded.
A successful penalty after 24 minutes from Matthew Riddington broke the deadlock and a mistake in defence allowed winger Blaine Howe to collect a cross kick and canter over for a try. Riddington added the two points.
Dale came out for the second half playing with much more commitment and energy. The Greens (playing in red and white) dominated proceedings and George Hedgley destroying the South line-out. Two penalties for Dale from Jamie Guy that opened the second half were scant reward for the rugby Dale were now playing. After 17 minutes of the second half the pressure told and a superb catch and drive was only stopped illegally and a penalty try awarded plus a yellow card to South’s hooker Adam Johnson. Guy slotted the extra two points. It was beginning to look like an afternoon to remember.
Nothing is ever easy though for Wharfedale and they allowed South back into the match by dropping the restart and then conceding a penalty at the scrum. Riddington levelled the score at 13-13 from the tee.
Phil Woodhead, in his 100th start for Dale, was beginning to be a problem for South and his sniping runs were pushing them back. Dale attacked again and charges from Jordon Poole were supported by the forwards and led to Adam Howard crashing over. Guy’s conversion gave Dale a 7-point lead with nine minutes left.
South now attacked and with club skipper Rickie Aley on the pitch they went through 12 phases and were rewarded with a Rickie Aley try. Aley then missed the conversion to leave Dale leading by two points. “No pens” was the cry but this was Wharfedale.
Aley grabbed the chance when Dale gave the penalty away and won the game with a kick from 40 metres out.
Another heartbreaking end to a difficult afternoon on a very heavy pitch which was partly responsible for Dale’s attacking flair to be affected. Despite being pushed back at the scrum the stats show that Dale had the better of the encounters, winning all their own ball including a penalty, whilst South only won seven from nine. The line out was another area dominated by Dale. They won 11 out of 13, which included a not straight, but South could only win 5 out of 9.
Adam Howard v South Leicester
Hats off to South Leicester for not allowing Dale to rack up a score and then pinching the result at the end but this was a game that Dale should have won.
Congratulations to Phil Woodhead on his 100th start and to Jack Kitching on his first appearance for the 1st team.
Two performances on the road have again seen Dale lose, but the standard of rugby being played has improved since the early part of the season and with good support they will be able to overcome Luctonians at home next Saturday.
Wharfedale: – Scott Jordan; Robbie Davidson, Harry Bullough (Jimmy Bullough 72), Tom Davidson, Josh Prell; Jamie Guy, Phil Woodhead; Joe Altham, Dan Stockdale (Jordon Poole 63), Toms Asejevs (James Huck 63), Adam Howard (Jack Kitching 72), Richard Rhodes, George Hedgley, Tom Whyte, Josh Burridge (c).
Replacement not used Ian Larkin.