After a cancelled fixture the week before, Wharfedale set off for their first away fixture of the season to take on Bradford Salem seconds. A mixture of work commitments, injuries and general lame excuses meant that only 14 men made the journey including a number of faces stepping up from the 4th team. Salem kindly lent us a man and a lot of credit must be given to Josh Clay who stepped up to have a go a propping despite little experience.
Despite the shortage of numbers and a smattering of new faces, the lads in green looked focused and started the game sprightly with strong carrying, Elliot Stockton, Dave Hickling & Michael Beer most noticeable. Hickling nearly scored himself but was just short, the ball was recycled and fed out to the right wing where new signing James Raper drew his man and put second row Stockton in at the corner. Fly Half and captain for the day, Jonathan Davies, added the extra 2 with an excellent conversion and we were 7-0 up.
Salem then came back and kicked deep into the Wharfedale 22. The ball was well fielded by Sam Arkwright and he opted to run as there was a head wind. Unfortunately, strong defence by the home side caught the full back and managed to turn the ball over. Two quick passes out to the right and they were in for their first try. The conversion was missed but the scores were fairly tight at 7-5.
After a few honest efforts in the scrum, it was decided by all that Josh Clay was a little out of his depth in the front row, so for safety reasons, the game went uncontested, but again, lots of credit for having a go when the majority wouldn’t. The Salem coach then suggested that they could lend us a prop to keep the game more competitive and structured. A real mark of generosity and hospitality from a community club.
Suki, the loanee from Salem proved useful in the set piece and one such solid scrum was the platform for the opening score of the second half. The good ball allowed Davies to break clear. Stockton was on hand in support to cross for his second. Davies with the extras from in front, 14-5.
Dale were gradually becoming the dominant side and were increasingly full of running. A move started by Arkwright and Ed Walker took the Greens into the Salem half. James Ardron, playing in the centre and Matt Wareing continued the move only for it to be stopped by a borderline forward pass call from the ref. At the resulting scrum, the ball was won against the head,.Wareing picked from the base and fed Davies who showed good footwork to cut through and score. Once again he was on target with the boot and we were 21-5 up.
Later in the half, at another scrum, Suki was getting the upper hand on his club compatriot. This was all great news for the visitors, until his opposite number went down injured and had to limp off. Back to uncontested. Ce la vie!
Salem then came back into the game and on the attack. After some loose play by the visitors, Salem managed to score a try out on the right. The conversion was just inside the posts and they were well back in the contest at 21-12.
Wharfedale were then straight back on the attack until a high shot stopped Wareing in his tracks. Davies added the penalty to the score sheet to take the final score to Wharfedale 24-12 Salem.
It was a really pleasing win borne out of hard work and determination. Credit to the lads who played out of position and stepped up to the challenge and a massive thankyou to Bradford Salem for selflessly lending us a man for the sake of a good game of rugby.
1. Josh Clay
2. Ben Rymer
3. Thomas Walker
4. Tom Rymer
5. Elliot Stockton
6. Dave (Salem Man, then Suki who played prop, then Dave again)
7. Max Metcalfe
8. Matt Wareing
9. Dave Hickling
10. Jonathan Davies
11. Ed Walker
12. Michael Beer
13. James Ardron
14. James Raper
15. Sam Arkwright
Tries: -Stockton (2), Davies – Conversions: – Davies (3); Penalties: – Davies