On a bright, sunny autumnal day, the Devs hosted Ripon 2nd XV hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the league season. Wharfedale had a few usual faces unavailable but the benefit of others returning to make their first appearances of the campaign.
The home side started strongly and a good scrummage platform enabled a typical break to be made by Dan Solomi (who was making his 3rd team debut) who offloaded to the supporting Jack Kitching who had the strength to cross the try line. 5-0 to Dale.
Ripon responded with a break through midfield and the scrambling home defence gave away a penalty at the ruck. 5-3.
Credit must go to George Altham, who started the game for Ripon as the Foresters had no fixture and the visitors were short of props, but he and his team mates for the day found the home side front row a handful. Great scrummaging by Thomas Walker and Matty Close caused a turnover at one scrum, the ball was then ‘shovelled’ out by Sam Mason to Ben Booth, who showed enough skill to cut through the defence. A successful conversion by Harris Catley took the score to 12-3.
The home side then started to impose themselves on the contest and scored again. This time a try out wide by Sam Smith and Catley converted from the touch line. 19-3. Ripon responded with another penalty, but the next try was also Wharfedale’s. Excellent work by the forwards with a driven lineout that powered over the line. James Ardron claimed the touchdown and another touchline conversion, this time by replacement winger, Joe Gill. 26-6.
The second Half started as the first finished with Wharfedale utilising their driven lineout to good effect. This time Jack Kitching with the touchdown. 31-6. Wharfedale then scored again after a break then a chip ahead by Catley was kicked into touch by Ripon. From the resulting lineout win, ‘Dale spun the ball wide where Smith beat the remaining defenders with pace to score in the corner. 36-6.
The game then came to a halt, firstly as a Ripon player received a nasty knock to the head that required stitching, then following the resumption of play, a suspected neck injury to Joe Gill sustained whilst defending the home side’s try line. Gill was stretchered off and taken to hospital for further checks, which thankfully showed nothing too serious. He was discharged on Saturday night. With 15 minutes of the game remaining and a lengthy delay looking likely, both sides agreed to call it a day. Special mention and thanks must go to Dr Sam Lyles for his efforts and we hope to see Joe back on the field in the near future.