Saturday 10th December 2016
A fine, mild December day welcomed Bradford Salem to the Avenue for the latest league encounter for the Wharfedale 3rd team.
Salem are usually a very good side with a mixture of power up front and pace out wide and todays opponents were no exception. 24 minutes had passed before the scorers were troubled. The home side were faring well enough in the set pieces but lacked the finer touches shown on previous weeks possibly due to the consumption of festive spirit by the agricultural contingent on Friday night.
A good scrum platform, well led by props Matty Close and Thomas Walker, allowed scrum half Sam Stockdale to break blind in front of the scratching shed, the ball was passed to full back Jon Feeley who injected more pace into the move before releasing Adam Stockdale for a clear run in. The ball was dotted down behind the posts and young fly half Rory McNabb made no mistake with the extras. 7-0.
Salem, with a scrum just inside their own half won the ball but as their scrum half picked, Sam Stockdale was quick to pounce and wrapped the man up. The follow up cavalry powered in and Salem conceded a penalty. The ball was then kicked to the corner for an attacking lineout in a good position. A clean catch by Eddie Keighley set up a well-orchestrated maul. Hooker Tom Carlisle eventually crashing over for the try. The tricky conversion was missed, score 12-0.
Salem then came right back into the game and played some good attacking rugby up the slope to end up camped in the home side’s 22. As the clock ticked towards half time, the home side’s defence held firm but Salem kept on coming. Eventually an excellent turnover by veteran centre Russ Aldersley at a ruck allowed the ball to be spun out to McNabb to clear the lines. This was then followed by the whistle for half time and a sigh of relief.
The men in green started the half strongly and were soon awarded a penalty. As before, McNabb punted the ball to the corner for the lineout. The ball was cleanly won again and the maul set up nicely. This time, flanker John Stephenson claimed the touchdown. The conversion was missed but not by much. The score was now 17-0 and the home side was looking all on for a bonus point.
Salem had other ideas and a hamstring injury to Aldersley helped their cause, weakening the hosts defence. Firstly, they broke away down the right flank and rounded under the sticks to take the score to 17-7. They then followed this up with a similar score down the left wing. The score was kept away from the posts but their kicker was in excellent form to reduce the deficit to 3 points. 17-14.
There were around 15 minutes of the match still to play at this stage. Salem were in touching distance of a comeback victory and Wharfedale were in with the possibility of a bonus point win. In the end great courage and character by the men in green held the score line as it was until the end of the match as Salem continued to press hard.
Final Score Wharfedale Development XV 17, Bradford Salem 2nd XV 14.
1. Matty Close
2. Tom Carlisle
3. Thomas Walker
4. Eddie Keighley
5. Jim Mason
6. David Wade ©
7. John Stephenson
8. Joe Metcalfe
9. Sam Stockdale
10. Rory McNabb
11. John Davidson
12. Russ Aldersley
13. Sam Mason
14. Adam Stockdale
15. Jon Feeley
16. Dan Benson
17. James Ardron
18. Ben Reece
19. Harris Catley
Tries: – A. Stockdale, Carlisle, Stephenson; Cons: McNabb