Wharfedale fought hard on a heavy pitch to secure their third win of the season. Flowing open rugby it was not, but a one dimensional Scunthorpe side never threatened the Wharfedale line. It was only the long range kicking from Steve Johnson that kept them in the game and earned them a losing bonus point.
Tom Barrett controlled the game, and his searching kicking from hand and running with ball in hand caused the visitors problems all afternoon. Barrett also kept the scoreboard ticking over with a combination of penalty kicks and drop goals.
Both defences held throughout the game and on the slower ground the Wharfedale backs never really broke free. They were more adventurous than the visitors, but, on a wet and heavy pitch, they were contained. Scunthorpe rarely had possession in Dale’s 22 and were content to pick and go and then kick down field.
The Scunthorpe pack were strong in the first half and the scrum penalty count led to Toms Asejevs being shown a yellow card for Wharfedale. The second half however was a different story. Dale proved to be almost the fitter and stronger eight.
Scunthorpe opened the scoring with a 47 metre penalty from Steve Johnson before Barrett’s excellent kicking forced the visitors deep into their own 22. Scott Jordan followed up a grubber kick and even though he was not allowed to play the ball Dale managed to recycle and a Barrett drop goal brought the scores level.
Another precise kick from Barrett forced confusion in the visitors’ defence and a penalty to Dale. The ensuing 5 metre line out was won and a catch and drive was rewarded by a try for Dan Stockdale. Barrett added the extras.
Dale then got the better of the Scunthorpe pick and go and forced a mistake. The scrum was won but then the ball was carelessly managed by Will Lawn and Tom Barrett and it looked bad for Dale. Thankfully Mr Leahy spotted a Scunthorpe hand touch a green shirt and awarded a penalty for impeding the player! Generous, but no more than allowing a massive forward pass to Scunthorpe a few minutes earlier.
Another good kick to touch from Barrett was followed by a clean line out. With Jamie Guy playing at 10 space was created for Barrett to exploit in midfield. Scott Jordan received the ball out wide but for once the speedy winger could not beat the cover and two phases later a handling error allowed Scunthorpe off the hook.
Barrett soon sent another beautiful grubber into the Scunthorpe 22 which was put into touch by the defence for an attacking line out to the Greens. The target was missed but Lewis Wilson tidied up and passed the ball to Barrett who slotted his second drop goal.
Scunthorpe tried to get back into the match but their pick and go was not as effective as Harrogate’s a few weeks ago and eventually the kick gave away possession. Barrett’s only blemishes came in this period. A sliced kick to touch was soon followed by a quick tap from a penalty and after making some progress he lost the ball (were the opposition 10 metres away?). The scrum led to a penalty and up stepped Johnson with another 40 metre plus effort.
A poor pass from Barrett was not scooped up by Jordan and the resulting scrums led to another penalty which Johnson slotted from the relatively close distance of 37metres. Wharfedale went in for a hot cuppa with a 13-9 lead.
Dale also dominated the second half. They spent 20 minutes playing with only 14 men. First, on 55 minutes, Asejevs and when he returned Scott Jordan was sent to the bin. No complaint about Jordan but Scunthorpe were relieved when none of their players were sent for rest for their part in the “handbags”.
Dale stretched the lead to seven points with a Barrett penalty. The penalty won at the scrum which the confident Scunthorpe eight had opted for! Another shot from 43 metres from Johnson brought the scores closer.
Dale’s best move of the second half soon followed. More clean line out ball was carried by Barrett and a fine chip was retaken by Huw Morgan. Morgan fed Harry Bullough and on to Scott Jordan. Morgan rejoined on the outside but just failed to reach the line with another good cover tackle from the desperate Scunthorpe defence. Four phases later Barrett landed his third drop goal to end the scoring. This is a new record for Wharfedale in a league match.
The score flattered Scunthorpe but also showed that, not for the first time in recent weeks, Dale find the last five metres very hard. This was a superb display by the Green Machine, the win that has been promised after strong games of recent weeks.
Man of the Match – work it out for yourself!!! For once it was an obvious choice. A few small blemishes did not spoil a commanding performance. Dominating field position with the boot, putting immense pressure on defenders with superbly weighted grubbers, and good running with the ball and distribution. On another day there were others that would have been in the frame. George “black eyed” Hedgley had another outstanding game especially in the line out, Joe Altham – solid as a rock, Lewis Wilson – always posing a threat and brilliant at tidying up and making good yards, Richard Rhodes – getting stronger by the minute, the centre pairing of Morgan and Guy with their motto “On ne passe pas” being adopted by the whole side and try scorer Dan Stockdale (he is my neighbour – always worth a mention).
A brief look at the team list caused comment as the Scunthorpe winger was a certain Oli Passmore! Glad to see our own Oli bounce back with a strong performance after the hammering he got for the “non-pass” the week before.
Wharfedale Harry Bullough; – Scott Jordan, Huw Morgan, Jamie Guy (Robbie Davidson 70), Oliver Cicognini; Tom Barrett, Will Lawn; Joe Altham, Dan Stockdale, Toms Asejevs, Richard Rhodes (Alistair Allen 70), George Hedgley, Tom Whyte (James Huck 62), Lewis Wilson, Josh Burridge (c). Replacements not used George Altham, Matthew Hall.
Scrums – Wharfedale 6 from 10. 3 pens and 1 free kick to Scunthorpe from not completed scrums
Scunthorpe 7 from 8. including 2 pens. 1 pen to Wharfedale
Line outs – Wharfedale 12 from 13 (lost the last one)
Scunthorpe 9 from 13. including 1 pen and 1 free kick to Dale
The match photographs are available under the Photos tab. Then click on Link to Flikr Album.