Saturday 5th December 2015 – Match Report.
On a very windy, but thankfully mostly dry afternoon, the 3rds traveled to Huddersfield YMCA to hopefully get their league campaign back on track after the agonising defeat at West Leeds last time out.
In the first half Wharfedale played into the strong, blustery conditions on a pitch which had a very noticeable side slope to add to the testing conditions. This was no afternoon for champagne rugby. Good old fashioned up-the-jumper, hard earned yards, gritty stuff was the order of the day.
The traveling side took to the task well and many players really looking at home in such close quarter rugby. James Huck led from the front all afternoon and was ably supported by the rest of the forwards including Dan Benson who was showing no ill-effects of his beer fueled, mincing thespianism the night before.
Despite the conditions favouring the home side in the first half, Wharfedale scored first with a typical blistering run by returning winger Sam Smith. He showed good pace and skill despite having gained a festive paunch in November and received many a comment from beaten home defenders of “He’s bloody fast for a fat lad”. Harris Catley added the extras and we were a pleasing 7-0 up.
This was to be the only score of the first half, but it was Wharfedale who threatened the most, Benson was denied by the ref after driving close to the line, then reaching for the touch-down. Unfortunately, YMCA’s ‘Square in the Air’ was malfunctioning, probably due to the weather conditions.
Wharfedale now had the wind and initially looked to take advantage of this but soon realised this was easier said than done as kicks ran dead and left the Greens defending a scrum in their own 22 rather than an attacking lineout deep in opposition territory. Back up the jumper the ball went and as the half progressed Wharfedale made deeper inroads into the home defence as they tired. Matt Hall was the first to capitalise with a well taken try from close range. Catley again converting in the testing conditions. 14-0.
Fly Half Tom ‘Gazza’ Murray then claimed a score only to be done for a double movement by the referee. But Wharfedale were steadily gaining the upper hand and scored their third try. Another blistering run by Smith saw him claim his second. Unfortunately Catley missed the extras but not by much in a very challenging wind. 19-0.
Wharfedale then secured the victory and the bonus point. Centre Joe Slater, who had been impressive all afternoon, went over unopposed after collecting a neat inside pass from scrumhalf Sam Mason. Catley converted and the game finished off 26-0.
This was a really pleasing performance and result. The forward pack as a whole were outstanding and this was with the added frustration of uncontested scrums from the start, an area in which the lads usually fare well. Matty Wareing was at his ball carrying best and the work rate of Matthew Hall and David Wade was outstanding.
1. Matty Close
2. Ian Close
3. James Huck
4. Dan Benson
5. Mathew Hall
6. David Wade
7. Andrew Bode
8. Matty Wareing
9. Sam Mason
10. Tom Murray
11. Sam Smith
12. Michael Beer
13. Joe Slater
14. Sam Lockwood
15. Harris Catley
Subs: 16. Tom Carlisle, Slats’ mate Will.
Tries: Smith (2), Hall, Slater Cons: Catley (3).