On a wet and windy afternoon, a good crowd saw Dale take on National Division One team Hull Ionians. Both teams had large squads and both sets of coaches had the chance to look at a variety of players. An entertaining game was spoilt a little by handling errors from both sets of players. Hull were the more consistent side winning by four tries to one.
Hull kicked off with the slope and the blustery wind in their favour. Strong running in the centre allowed the visitors to open the scoring with Lewis Minikin bursting through. Chris Lound added the two points. I’s extended their lead when a good move right allowed Steve Slingsby to squeeze over in the corner.
Soon after this a tackle from Josh Prell led to turn over ball and Mike Bradshaw went on a surging run and fed the ball to speedster Will Davidson who ran in from 40 metres.
Dale were back in the game and now had their best period. The pack started to gain the upper hand in the tight. All credit to Ian Larkin, starting his first game at loose head prop, and Bradshaw. Dale started pushing back the Humbersiders, gaining good possession and also penalties on Hull’s feed.
The clinical finish was lacking from the Greens and good play was thwarted by handling errors. The home side finished the half trailing by 7 points but would have the elements in their favour in the second half.
Both sides made a lot of changes at half time and during the second half. The game lost the flow it had had in the first period but there were still attempts by both sides to play open rugby. Dale had their chances but the merest brush with the line spotted by the assistant referees, although the local aficionados were insistent that this was never in touch, robbed Ben Parkinson of two good chances to break free.
Hull were the more consistent team in the last quarter and their forwards gained the upper hand. Poor tackling allowed Hull into Dale’s 22 and Lewis Minikin went over for his second try of the match. The Hull pack’s efforts were rewarded when a penalty try was awarded. Lee Miller converted both kicks to give Hull another victory at the Avenue.
Despite the score line Wharfedale gave a good account of themselves and silenced a few critics who were not impressed with the selection. There were growing nods of approval during the first half as the Green Machine took control. Dale’s decision making was generally sound although the wind did make the long ball at the line out a difficult move to execute.
The two warm up games have shown that Dale are starting the season with a quality squad of players and there will be healthy competition for places for the opening game at home against Preston Grasshoppers on September 3rd.
9. J. Bullough
10. T. Davidson
12. H. Bullough
13. W. Davidson
24. B. Parkinson