Congratulations to both sets of players for staging an entertaining game of rugby on a very wet and windy afternoon at the Avenue. Wharfedale had the majority of territory and possession, and despite the conditions manufactured five tries and kept Tynedale to a penalty. The much-feared heavy rain did not materialise and it was good to see Tynedale coming down the A1 with two teams to fulfil this postponed fixture.
Dale were soon on the front foot. Carry after carry from the forwards pushed the visitors back and intelligent kicking into the wind by Tom Barrett meant that 90% of the first forty minutes was spent in Tynedale’s half. Dale also had the lion’s share of possession and desperate defence and the conditions restricted them from being further ahead at half time.
Wharfedale’s opening foray was only halted when Barrett’s first touch kick was held up in the wind and allowed Tynedale to escape with a long clearance.
Tynedale enjoyed a short period in Dale’s 22 which ended with an interception by Scott Jordan who ran the ball up to the visitor’s 10 metre line. The speedy winger just could not get up to his normal speed in the sticky conditions, but the break was not wasted, as the support was there and a penalty was won when a Tynedale went off his feet.
Dale’s next attack resulted in an impressive drive at a scrum. It was only spoilt by clever work by Tynedale pinching the ball from Dale. The next attack was thwarted by an accidental offside. Dale struggled in this period with bodies around the ruck. There were no clear lines for the runners.
The visitors failed to use the precious possession and outstanding work at the ruck from Rob Baldwin led to a Wharfedale scrum on half way.
A good sustained build up nearly put Scott Jordan in for a try but he grazed the touchline and again Tynedale escaped. The Greens were mounting immense pressure on Tynedale and eventually something had to give. After various offences and a warning, it was the Tynedale No 8, Scott Powell, who was shown a yellow card. The next catch and drive saw Dale charge forward with consummate ease for a Dan Stockdale try. Tom Barrett missed the conversion. Tynedale were briefly back in the game with a long-range penalty from Ash Smith.
The Green Machine continued to threaten and ended the first half with a super try when Barrett gave Jamie Guy an inside pass. The centre’s strong running broke tackles, and he went over under the posts. Barrett added the extras to give Dale a 12-3 lead at half time.
Tynedale had more possession in the second half but could not break down the Dale defence. Tynedale No 8, Scott Powell, was outstanding in his efforts but often his forays were not supported. His work included selling a dummy to Jamie Guy that Phil Bennett would have been proud of! A run from centre William Miller, after a rare Dale handling error, nearly threatened, but a superb cover tackle from Scott Jordan was enough to rescue the situation.
Dale soon were back in Tynedale’s 22 and an 18 metre catch and drive stretched Dale’s lead with Lewis Wilson getting the touch down. Barrett again fell foul of the tricky wind.
Tynedale then had a period in Dale’s 22 but the Greens kept their shape, kept their discipline and kept up the high tackle count and eventually a massive clearance from Barrett took the ball up to half way. A moment of Woodhead brilliance then sent Tynedale back into their 22. First, he made a strong tackle, then turned the ball over and finished with a measured kick into the visitor’s 22.
As in the first half Dale turned up the pressure on the Tynedale line. They were rewarded when Josh Burridge scored the bonus point try. Barrett’s kick came close but slid past the upright.
The conditions worsened as the game entered the final quarter and members of the crowd were urging the ref to let the players get down the tunnel. The ball became almost impossible to handle and the wind was driving the rain and making the pitch reminiscent of a mud bath.,/p>
The game finished with a flourish as Burridge grabbed a second try from 50 metres out when he took a quick penalty and ran in unopposed. Jamie Guy’s conversion went astray but Dale had 5 vital points in the bag.
Josh Burridge on his way to his 2nd try
Wharfedale moved up 2 places to 11th in the table, 10 points above the relegation battle.
What a battle this was but a battle won. Dale not only had to fight against Tynedale but also the conditions. Ignore the rugby paper having to nominate a star man. There were 20 players in green shirts who gave everything and there was no outstanding player. As an official from Tynedale commented; their 8 may have been exceptional but Wharfedale played as a unit with everybody making a contribution.
Who said that Wharfedale need a dry sunny afternoon. The last two home wins have been on wet pitches but the commitment to play from the Greens had brought admiration from the faithful. The faithful also need a mention as they turned out in good numbers on a miserable afternoon and lifted the players with good vocal support. Rest the voices during the week and clear the throats for next Saturday – the Gate are coming!
Also, it was good to see Cameron Hudson and Huw Morgan near the tunnel lending Dale their wisdom – Morgan, still on Wharfedale’s books, making it known that he would love to wear green one more time!
And finally, for those who spotted the mistake in the short report (it was corrected fairly quickly), Adam Stockdale is very proud to have been mentioned as a try scorer for the first team and his parents are really chuffed that both sons have now been awarded tries for Wharfedale 1st XV – sorry Dan.
Wharfedale : – Harry Bullough; Robbie Davidson, Tom Davidson, Jamie Guy, Scott Jordan; Tom Barrett (James Tincknell 63), Philip Woodhead; Adam Howard (Ian Larkin 30, Adam Howard 72), Dan Stockdale (Jordon Poole 53), Toms Asejevs (James Huck 53), George Hedgley, Richard Rhodes, Rob Baldwin (c) (Jack Kitching 62), Lewis Wilson, Josh Burridge.
The match photographs are available under the Photos tab – then click on the Link to Flikr Album.