Wharfedale in the pink after six try haul
Wharfedale played in pink socks to support the Candlelighters charity. The community club was supporting an under 10 player, Tom Slater, who is recovering from a rare cancer of the liver. Over £1,600 was raised on the day and there is more to come!
This was a game both sides were desperate to win. It was Wharfedale that applied themselves better and superb play from their backs saw them create havoc in the visiting defence.
Wharfedale made a stuttering start and losing two out of three of their own line outs gave Cinderford field position and possession. It was Cinderford who opened the scoring with a penalty from James Moffatt after 6 minutes.
Jamie Guy soon had Wharfedale on the attack. A weighted kick into space was followed up by speedster Taylor Prell. Cinderford fullback, Mike Wilcox, was caught by Prell who held up the full back so that Wharfedale were given the put in at a scrum in the visitor’s 22.
The Green Machine just won the scrum and moved the ball left and a good carry from Tom Davidson pushed Cinderford back. A dart from Dan Solomi was held but a timely off load put James Doherty in for Dale`s first try. Jamie Guy missed the conversion and he did not slot one until Dale’s sixth try after 69 minutes.
Tom Davidson was involved in the next try as his penalty kick from half way gave Dale a line out deep in the visitor’s 22. Adam Howard took the ball at the front but the catch and drive seemed to have stalled. Like a heavy locomotive the maul started to move and a great drive was finished off with a try awarded to Josh Burridge.
Cinderford had a period of possession and good work from George Evans and Luke Cole took play deeper and deeper down the slope towards the Green line. After fifteen phases Wharfedale gave away a penalty in front of their own posts and Moffatt kept the visitors in touch with another successful three pointer.
The next ten minutes saw a battle for supremacy. Cinderford were putting pressure on at the set piece whilst Dale were putting in probing kicks using great angles and the breeze.
After 36 minutes it was Dale that won the battle and had an attacking line out. The ball was eventually moved to the right and after another Davidson carry the ball was passed to Adam Howard who crashed over for Dale’s third try.
From the restart a surging run from Josh Burridge took him away from the rest of the Green machine. Because he was isolated it gave Moffatt another shot and his accuracy kept Cinderford in touch. 15-9 at the interval.
Dale’s backs then started to cut loose. A tremendous return from Taylor Prell and excellent work from Oli Cicognini set up Lloyd Davies for Dale’s bonus point fourth try.
Green’s centre, Cameron Hudson, then broke through and fed Cicognini who dived in at the corner.
Back came Cinderford, again building through the phases, with a try from hooker Luke Cole.
Another devastating run from Prell was followed up by Doherty before feeding Dan Solomi for a well deserved 6th try for Wharfedale.
Cinderford now had their best period, and good support play gave Leo Fielding a score wide to the left. Cinderford now sensed that a bonus point or two or even a win was on the cards and attacked with relentless fervour. With Wharfedale reduced to 13 men the vital score looked on.
Solomi was carded on 76 minutes and joined by Davies on 78. Cinderford opted for an attacking scrum, in the last minute of the game, but it was Wharfedale that took the ball and kicked the ball dead.
Euphoria in the Dale as the Greens look forward to their 20th season at level three.
Cinderford travelled south knowing that their survival was deeper in doubt as O.A’s had stretched the gap to 10 points with a fine home win. It was good to see the visitors in such fine spirits.
Cinderford coach, Nick Corrigan, commented that “we had been our own worst enemy. Our lack of composure cost us the game. Wharfedale capitalised on our errors and all credit to the way Wharfedale played”
There was much merriment in local hostelries during the night for many reasons. A great win had secured another year of National Level rugby. There was also the hard task of saying goodbye to the popular prop Matt Freeman who is returning, on his mother’s instructions, to New Zealand.
Wharfedale coach, Jon Feeley, commented “For 60 minutes of this game we dominated the play and created several opportunities, some of which were clinically taken. Having gone up the slope in the first half, coming in with three tries on the board and conceding none was particularly pleasing. We retained possession well, created pressure in the final third and took our chances. The second half started even better with the players showing the ability to identify space and then exploit it. The last 20 however was a good lesson in respecting your opponents. At this level you cannot afford to lose your discipline in attack or defence regardless of the score line, and the pressure Cinderford exerted in the final stages was a stark reminder of that. Our players will learn from it. But the 5pt victory was earned, and it was a fitting send off for Matt Freeman, who has been such a vital part of the squad for a large part of the season. He has been an outstanding servant to this club, a great character and we are all grateful to him.
To have secured National One rugby with 4 games left to play is terrific achievement after the trials and tribulations of this year. Everyone has played their part, the crowd have been terrific and the medical staff has worked endless hours trying to patch boys up. But the players themselves deserve the greatest plaudits. Many of them have had to step up to level 3 rugby well ahead of time, some as leaders. But they have risen to the task and I am proud of them all for that. However, there are 4 league games left to see how high we can climb and a Yorkshire Cup to retain. The season is far from over.”
Skipper, James Doherty, added “I thought the game in general was excellent and Cinderford certainly played their part. We have tried to be more ambitious in recent weeks and it was pleasing to see our back three run riot at times.
We have now mathematically secured our place at level three for next year, our 20th consecutive, and the formula has never changed. Good, honest, hard work across the board from everyone involved at the club.
Recent good results have been the product of a lot of hard work both on and off the pitch. We have developed as a side this year and the feeling in the changing room is excellent.
With four games remaining we can hopefully climb a few more places, continue our ambitious ‘all court’ game and finish the season in style.
We are sad to be losing Freeman, a true club man and we all wish him the very best.”
Wharfedale: Taylor Prell; Lloyd Davies, Cameron Hudson, Tom Davidson (Harry Bullough 67), Oli Cicognini; Jamie Guy, James Doherty (c); Jo Altham (Matt Beesley 41), Ian Larkin (Dan Stockdale 11), Jake Armstrong (Matt Freeman 32, Jake Armstrong 67), Adam Howard, Simon Willet (Jim Mason 70), Jack Barnard, Dan Solomi, Josh Burridge.