Dale make it four in a row
With extra training on Friday morning, after generously being let off training on New Year’s Eve, this was a great start to the New Year. There were strong performances from all players and this will be a difficult side to break into. We have strength in depth at the moment and some of the players who kicked off on the back pitch will have to prove their worth to get into this squad. It was pleasing to see Adam Howard (not Howarth as in the Rugby Paper) get the Star Man but this must have been a close call as many players deserved the accolade. Matt Beesley in defence and attack was a force to be reckoned with, Alex Powell was busy and stole a superb line out from the visitors, the back row gave us another outstanding performance with tackle after tackle. The backs came into the game more and more and it is good to see that three of the tries were scored by them. Cico showed solid work in defence and came close to breaking through, Cameron Hudson improves every game and is starting to gain yards with every carry, Tom Davidson was Tom Davidson and gained reward for perseverance scoring one and setting up another, James Guy is growing in confidence and finished off with a real confidence boosting conversion from the touch line. Lloyd Davies was another candidate for Star Man. He had a superb all round game, under the high kick he was safe and his speed and skill in attack gave us the try of the game. Skipper James Doherty had one of his best games since coming back to the Avenue, not only as a player but also organising and exhorting the team to produce more and more.
From the kick off Tynedale had the ball for the first six minutes of play but were only able to creep into Dale’s half and were held at the 10 metre line. Wharfedale weathered this sustained period of Tynedale possession. Even though we didn’t touch the ball in this period it was a great display by the Green machine. Dale had dug in and it was a case of ‘Ils ne passeront pas’ as skipper James Doherty urged his men on and on to absorb wave after wave of Tynedale attack. Cries of ‘No pens’ went up and having kept their discipline, we waited for the visitors to make a mistake.
The visitors duly obliged by knocking on. From the scrum Wharfedale looked much brighter and more purposeful with the ball and soon were into Tynedale territory. A penalty was the result of a Taylor Prell break down the middle and Tom Davidson put the ball into the 22 for an attacking line out. Good work from Cameron Hudson set up a maul five metres from the line and Dan Solomi made the most of the situation with a trade mark dart to score the opening try. Jamie Guy just missed the conversion.
Tynedale again had a better period but the Dale defence was proving too strong. Strong running from Cameron Hudson and Adam Howard stretched the defence, and eventually an overlap was created for Josh Burridge to add the second try for Dale after 25 minutes. Guy missed from the tee but added a penalty to give the home side a justified 13-0 lead at half time.
Tynedale started the second half strongly and pushed Dale back, despite some sterling work from Matt Beesley, into their own 22. A successful catch and drive led to the ref going under the posts for a penalty try, Matthew Outson taking the score to the maximum, and the North easterners were back in the game.
Dale responded with great character. More Tynedale possession was met with strong defensive work all along the line, and when Alex Powell turned the ball over in midfield Taylor Prell put the Tynedale defence on the back foot. From the maul, a run and superb inside pass from James Doherty sent Lloyd Davies through. Davies still had work to do and finished off a fine move with a try under the posts to which Guy added the extras.
Wharfedale stretched the lead to 27-7 with another, converted, try from Cameron Hudson. This was after Doherty had shattered the defence with a searing run into the 22; with greater support the try was on. As it was it led to good field position and when Tom Davidson had tried to bludgeon his way to the line Hudson was on hand to grab the score. This gave Wharfedale a bonus point and a substantial lead.
Wharfedale were reduced to 14 men, after 72 minutes, when a rare moment of indiscipline saw Chris Steel yellow carded for foul play. One commentator said “he was tackling somebody from Darlington Mowden Park it was that late” another defended him by saying “he only raises his arms when holding a pint”. Chris himself seemed to think the yellow card was for a technical offence and was hurt by the mention of foul play.
A solo effort from Jack Harrison, which was converted by Outson, gave Tynedale some hope of getting a bonus point with another try. Dale gifted Tynedale the ball in the visitors half and Harrison broke tackles and raced away. He chipped ahead and won the race to gather the ball and score.
Dale finished the stronger adding a fifth try when Tom Davidson refused to pass and with a combination of dummies, side steps and ineffective tackling scored wide out to the left. Guy finished the scoring with an excellent kick from near the touch line.
Coach, Jonathan Feeley, summed up everyone’s feelings by saying after the match “A good day for the club with the Forresters starting off the afternoon with a very strong performance. After strong performances before Christmas they have continued to show what they are capable of with several players pressing their claims.
To come away with 5 points against a team who have traditionally caused us problems at the Avenue was really pleasing. A great way to start the New Year. Tynedale had a great deal of possession in the first half and to come in at the interval without conceding showed terrific resolve in defence. Again in the second half the forwards in particular were outstanding with the number of driven line outs they had to defend on our own line. We were disappointed to concede at all. Our attacking patterns were good enough to score 34 points, but our cohesion wasn’t as consistent as it had been prior to the Christmas break and we will look to improve this. However, the work ethic was strong, Adam Howard again carried relentlessly and Dan Solomi`s form since returning this year has been excellent. In addition, to score three tries in the backs shows how this young group are starting to gel and perform.
This group of players are a very strong unit, they work hard through the week and their commitment to each other has been a privilege to see. We move into a series of fixtures which are as challenging as we could face, but these players are already looking forward to meeting it.”
Skipper, James Doherty, added “Delighted with the win, it was by no means a perfect performance but there was a lot to be positive about. Some great efforts in defence and we had an attacking threat in all areas of the pitch. A great way to start 2015. We are in a good vein of form at the minute with 20/20 points, the atmosphere in the side is excellent as ever and the support we are receiving is brilliant. There seems to be a real buzz about this season. We are a young side (apart from Solomi, Steely and myself) and with youth comes an infectious hunger. We go into a tough run of fixtures now but we couldn’t be in a better place to take the challenge head on. ”
Tynedale coach, Tom Borthwick, commented that he was “disappointed as we had been in the game for 60 minutes. We made too many handling errors and all our basic skills let us down including lightweight tackling.” He was however pleased with the spirit and guts of his players as “we are paper thin but the players out there put in a great performance”.
I am sure I can say, on behalf of most, if not all Wharfedale supporters, that we wish Tynedale well for the rest of the season.
Wharfedale: Taylor Prell (Huw Morgan 62), Lloyd Davies, Cameron Hudson, Tom Davidson, Oli Cicognini; Jamie Guy, James Doherty; Joe Altham (Matt Beesley 41), Dan Stockdale (Ian Larkin 22), Jake Armstrong (Chris Steel 54), Adam Howard, Alex Powell, Jack Barnard (Jake Armstrong 78), Dan Solomi (James Tyson 67), Josh Burridge.