A breathless afternoon saw mistakes abound from both sides but Dale’s backs had a field day. A purple patch at the start of the second half saw the Dalesmen grab four tries to put the match beyond Hinkley’s reach. The Midlander’s came back into the game and deserved the bonus point for scoring the required number of tries.
The first half was a closer encounter and Dale just went in with a two point advantage.
The visiting pack were a dominating force and Wharfedale were full of running. Handling errors by Dale cost them possession and territory but they hung on and kept in the game.
Scott Jordon crossed in the first minute for Wharfedale and Jamie Guy added the two points. Joseph Glover and Guy exchanged penalties before Callum Dacey and then Alex Norris touched down for unconverted tries for Hinckley. Glover and Guy again exchanged penalties before Dale grabbed the lead with a Lewis Wilson try converted by Guy.
Wharfedale Head Coach, James Doherty, said after the game that the next 20 minutes were “some of the best rugby I have seen played by Wharfedale”.
A great run from Scott Jordon was followed up by Josh Burridge and then the ball was set up for Rob Baldwin to charge over for a converted try.
Dale ran the restart and Robbie Davidson broke down the left touchline. Josh Prell and Scott Jordon took the ball up to the line and only a professional infringement stopped them from scoring. Scott Hamilton, Hinckley’s fullback and captain, was shown yellow and, after consultation with the touch judge, a penalty try was awarded. Guy made no mistake from the tee.
Minutes later Dale won turnover ball in midfield. Ian Larkin and Scott Jordon took the ball forward and Will Lawn was on hand to finish off for another converted try. Again the Hinckley restart saw Dale pour forward. Skipper, Rob Baldwin, surged down the middle. Lawn was again available to move the attack on. He fed Ralph Wellock and then looped around to take the ball again. Josh Burridge was there to receive the scoring pass and to end one of the best moves of the game.
To their credit the visitors did not give up and forced themselves back into the match. In the next twenty minutes they scored three tries to earn themselves some satisfaction from their trip to the Dales.
A well worked overlap saw Callum Dacey in at the corner. Terrible defence by Wharfedale allowed George Marsden to score and a poor pass was intercepted and finished with Craig Fillier crossing the whitewash. Mark Lord converted the second of the three tries.
The scoring was finished off by Wharfedale when Harry Bullough intercepted the ball on half way and flew away to score under the posts. Guy’s fifth conversion took Dale’s score to 51 points and his personal tally to 16.
At last there were smiles at the Avenue. There were questions as well. There were still mistakes. Doherty added to his earlier praise by saying “we still have things to work on”. He was “very, very pleased with scoring 50 points at home” He added “This is what I want. The lads showed ambition and, at times, brilliance. It was a struggle in the first half but we stuck to our guns and game plan and really showed what we are capable of”
One of the visiting players, when asked about the scrums, said “you don’t need to be able to scrummage when you have got backs like that”. Only half a story as many of the flowing moves involved both forwards and backs.
Highlights of the day? For your humble scribe there were two. Watching a prop intercept a ball is amazing enough but then seeing Bradshaw run a full 50 metres was amazing. A pity he did not hang on to the ball at the vital moment but a great cover tackle from a Hinckley defender saved the try. The second was also from Mike Bradshaw. A burst in midfield was one thing but to bamboozle the defence with a dummy was outstanding.
Wharfedale Scott Jordan: – Josh Prell, Andrew Hodgson (Tom Davidson 26), Harry Bullough (Ralph Wellock 41), Robbie Davidson (Harry Bullough 59); Jamie Guy, Will Lawn; James Huck (Mike Bradshaw 61), Jordon Poole (Dan Stockdale 51), Mike Bradshaw (Ian Larkin 29, James Huck 65), Elliott Ward, Alistair Allen (Anthony Oxley 47), Rob Baldwin (c), Lewis Wilson, Josh Burridge.
A selection of photographs is available under the Photos tab.
A couple of interesting statistics out of yesterdays game.
It is Wharfedales first score over 50 since we beat Cambridge 51-23 on 10th November 2012.
We don’t have to go back as far to find the last time we crossed for 7 tries in a match. It was at Blaydon on 19th September last year.