Double for “Grav” not enough to counter errors.
Wharfedale travelled to Heath as leaders of the Yorkshire Merit League – Championship North with high expectations of extending their time at the top. However, Heath had other ideas and the men in Green travelled back to the Dales with no points, on the wrong end of a seemingly comfortable score line. But this match was anything but comfortable for Heath and they are probably still scratching their heads as to how they managed to win at all, let alone by 19 points.
First on the scoreboard after only 2 minutes, the Heath right wing walked over the try line with the Wharfedale blindside defence completely absent. The home team might have thought this was going to be easy but it wasn’t. Wharfedale dominated possession for most of the match with their forwards on top in the loose, but they also dominated another area of the game…errors; knock-ons, dropped and missed passes, missed touch kicks, giving away penalties when in possession and any other type of unforced mistake you care to mention. In short they had a mare!
This was despite a very quick response to Heath’s opening try, with big second row Matthew Colgrave “Grav” crashing over the line following sustained pressure from Wharfedale’s forwards.
The match then began to follow an unpleasant pattern for Wharfedale; lots of possession and territory without any real penetration. Their backs couldn’t find a way through or outside a well organised Heath defence and eventually Wharfedale would become frustrated and make an error or give away a penalty which provided much needed relief for Heath and the opportunity to counter attack which they did very effectively with their backs creating two further tries in the first half to lead 19-5 at half time.
Again Wharfedale had Heath under pressure for long periods of time in the second half and they scored a second try through the forwards with “Grav” again to the fore, bulldozing his way over for a converted try. 19-12 and the Dalesmen were back in it. But try as they might, with acres of possession and opportunity they just couldn’t turn dominance into points and Heath scored two further tries on the counter… the last of which was a stunner. It seemed certain that Wharfedale fly half Ollie White would score. He was clean through with only the full back to beat and plenty of support but somehow the ball squirmed from the grasp of the attacking side, found its way into Heath arms and twenty seconds later they were under the posts.
Wharfedale will play worse and win, Heath will play better and lose. It was just one of those days that ensure we never take anything for granted in sport and still love it so much.
If Wharfedale are to finish as league leaders they will have to eradicate the errors and do much more to create chances when in charge of a game.