Aire-Wharfe Cup 1st Round
The Development XV welcomed old friends and rivals Keighley to the Avenue for the first round of this year’s Aire-Wharfe cup. Over the season the lads in green had the upper hand with 2 wins from 2, but were all too aware that cup rugby is a different prospect and that Keighley knocked us out of last year’s competition.
A cool and breezy evening didn’t put off the supporters as a healthy crowd of both home and visiting fans assembled to cheer on and critique the encounter.
Wharfedale played up the slope but with the benefit of the wind and spent a good portion of the opening exchanges in their opponent’s half but the game was almost 20 mins old before the deadlock was broken. Following a good period of patient attacking play, Jacob Taylor went close with a powerful drive, the ball was recycled well and passed out slickly to the left wing where Sam Smith was put into space for one of his easier scores. The tricky conversion was missed but we had the lead at 5-0.
A big knock on at the restart, surprisingly by Benson and not Bowers gave Keighley an opportunity but loose play returned the ball to the hosts. A kick through the line down towards the tackle shed was chased hungrily by Taylor and Lockwood and forced an attacking scrum. From the set piece the ball came to the right where Davies at fly half popped the ball ‘basketball style’ to Lockwood for the winger to score out wide. Another tricky conversion missed. 10-0.
Wharfedale then continued their period of ascendency with another determined run by the impressive Lockwood taking the play well into Keighley’s 22. The ball was recycled and fed out to the left and a neat tip on by Steely allowed Smith to cross for his second. 15-0.
As the game approached half time, Keighley found their feet a little and the hosts perhaps dropped focus a touch but to give credit to both sides it was very competitive throughout and small margins were important. Keighley No.8 Leigh Sugden powered his way deep into the hosts 22 and after several scoops and the odd penalty given away, Keighley were on the score board with a close range converted try. 15-7
Wharfedale rounded off the half’s scoring with another unconverted try. A bullocking run by Hirst, who had a fine match, uncharacteristically short of knock-ons, rumbled his was up the field into Keighley’s 22. A penalty was conceded at the breakdown, which we chose to kick to the corner. The lineout was then driven with Taylor claiming the touchdown to take the half time score to 20-7.
The home side knew that even though a 4 tries to 1 first half was very good, an early score from the visitors would bring them right back into the contest. Thankfully, from a home perspective, we were first to trouble the scorers following the re-start. A cracking break by McNabb from scrum half took us into the 22, the ball then went out to the left wing and found Steely loitering, he stepped past the first man then had the pace to storm over the line and take the ball behind the sticks for the easy extras which McNabb duly converted. 27-7.
With Keighley then back on the attack and after several penalties were conceded in our 22, flanker Taylor was given 10 minutes rest by the man in the middle. Keighley, then despite the efforts of the home side, made the man advantage pay and crossed for their second.
Wharfedale responded straight away and still with Taylor watching. A penalty was kicked to the corner and several patient scoops and short-range carries, Joe Jackson coming especially close, continued to pepper the Keighley line. Eventually the defence was breached when Hirst cut a determined angled line to crash over. 32-14.
Keighley then tried to respond and never gave up in an enthralling contest in which no side gave any quarter and both came to play. Unfortunately for the visitors the ball was spilled and Adam Stockdale was quickest to react, cleaned up the loose ball and offloaded neatly from the floor to Taylor who had the pace and power to charge down the pitch and touch down behind the posts. McNabb with the conversion, 39-14.
Keighley completed the evening’s scoring after a prolonged period of sustained pressure and patient attack of their own. The home side were determined to keep them out but eventually an overlap was spotted and the ball passed out to the right for their centre to cross unopposed. An excellent conversion saw the final score finish at 39-19.
Great win lads, fantastic performance against a very good Keighley side. Onward to the next round.
1. Chris Steel
2. Tom Carlisle
3. Jack Hirst
4. Jim Bowers
5. Tom Baines ©
6. Jacob Taylor
7. Matt Hall
8. Dan Benson
9. Rory McNabb
10. Jonathan Davies
11. Sam Smith
12. Joe Slater
13. Scott Rogers
14. Sam Lockwood
15. Tom Oakes
16. Joe Jackson
17. Max Metcalfe
18. John Stephenson
19. Sam Mason
20. Adam Stockdale
Tries: Smith (2), Taylor (2), Steel, Lockwood, Hirst
Cons: McNabb (2)