Wharfedale started brightly despite a less than seamless warm-up and late work commitments by JD forcing the management to select Jake Starkey in the centres. From the off the lads looked eager to get stuck into the opposition with Otto Mallalieu-Black and Ben Reece leading the way with determined carries. Such pressure had the visitors deep in the home side’s ‘20’ (we were borrowing a Rugby League pitch at nearby Leeds Trinity). The line out was disrupted and the ball then spun wide to the centres where Sam Mason cut a determined line to score a well taken try by the posts. Full back, Harris Catley, added the extras. 7-0 to the men in green.
Wharfedale over exuberance at the breakdown then cost them a penalty chance which Yarnbury gladly took and reduced the deficit to 7-3.
Following a phase or two of loose play by both sides, Dan Benson gathered the ball and straightened the attack and was rewarded with the second try, again close to the posts. Catley made no mistake with the extras. 14-3. Then a knock-on by Wharfedale in mid-field and slow reactions allowed Yarnbury to counter attack. Their man galloped half the length of the pitch to score a deserved try. The easy conversion was added and the score was now 14-10.
From the resulting kick-off Yarnbury had a bit of a lapse of concentration and thought that the ball had not travelled 10m but it had. They were looking at the wrong line, but Simon Horsfall was looking at the ball and gathered it then just had the legs to evade the remaining defenders to score in the left corner. The tricky conversion missed. 19-10.
Wharfedale then found themselves camped in the home side’s ‘20’ and opted for scrum after scrum as penalties were awarded for Yarnbury misdemeanours. The scrum went well and crossed over the whitewash on numerous occasions but No.8 Tom Baines seemed intent on making a mess of the scoring opportunities. Alternative attacking options were then sought and with Benson once again the benefactor as the ball was spun wide and the second row carried hard once more from the resulting breakdowns. Catley with the extras. 26-10.
To round the half off, Horsfall, on his first game in some time got on the end of a slick handling move, surprisingly instigated by prop Thomas Walker. The winger again showing good strength to touch down wide out on the left. Conversion missed. 31-10.
Benson then limped off in a blatant case of ‘jug avoidance’ just as the game neared half time.
The visitors started the second half looking full of running. A break down the right wing by Mallalieu-Black was quickly recycled and fed back towards the middle of the pitch, and young second row Eddie Keighley was on hand to claim the first of his tries of the afternoon. Catley converted. 38-10.
Replacement Morgan Davies then turned over the ball at a Yarnbury breakdown. It was then fed wide to Mallalieu-Black, who beat 2 defenders on his way to the line to take the score to 43-10.
Davies was then involved in another try. He fielded the ball deep in his own half but selfishly let flyhalf Andy Rhodes do the running and cart it up. A penalty was awarded at the breakdown. John Davidson at scrum half chose to take it quickly and passed to Keighley for his second. 48-10.
Matty Close then got onto the score sheet. Rumours are that he denied Keighley his hat trick by stubbornly sticking hold of the ball in the lineout maul to score wide out left. Catley added the extras with an excellent touchline conversion to stretch the lead to 55-10.
Catley then added a try to his point’s collection after a bit of juggling by Starkey. 60-10.
Rhodes then rounded the afternoon off with two more converted tries. The first after the ball was well gathered by Mason who fed Mallalieu-Black then back to Mason who made good yards deep into Yarnbury territory. Horsfall continued the move then slipped the ball to James Ardron, whose newly found bulk kept him just the right side of the touchline and then managed to put the scoring pass away on his inside. Rhodes second came after determined defending trying to maintain a second half clean sheet forced a knock on by the hosts. Starkey opted to run from his own line much to the disgust of Horsfall who felt he’d done enough but still kept the move going, eventually finding Mallalieu-Black. The ball was quickly recycled at the ruck and Rhodes had a free run in from 10. Final score 74-10.
A pleasing win, if a little error strewn at times and nice to see a few travelling support on a cold day.
1. Matty Close
2. David Wade ©
3. Thomas Walker
4. Eddie Keighley
5. Dan Benson
6. James Ardron
7. Ben Reece
8. Tom Baines
9. John Davidson
10. Andrew Rhodes
11. Simon Horsfall
12. Jake Starkey
13. Sam Mason
14. Otto Mallalieu-Black
15. Harris Catley
16. Morgan Davies
17. Jim Bowers
Tries: Benson (2), Horsfall (2), Keighley (2), Rhodes (2), Mason, Mallalieu-Black, Close, Catley.
Conversions: Catley (7)