*** SATURDAY 4TH DECEMBER *** WHARFEDALE 1ST XV vs LOUGHBOROUGH STUDENTS (H) KO 2PM NAT2N *** HULL IONIANS 2 vs WHARFEDALE FORESTERS (A) LEAGUE KO 2:15PM *** KEIGHLEY 3 vs WHARFEDALE RAMS (A) IS OFF ***

Luctonians 26 Wharfedale 1st XV 32

Wharfedale travelled south on a grey day but the gloom was lifted by returning home with a bonus point win. Dale did enough to win the match but a spirited fight back from the home side saw them claim two bonus points and the respect of the home crowd.

Wharfedale opened the scoring with a scrum penalty on half way which was converted by Tom Davidson. The visitors added to their tally when a knock on by a Luctonian was pounced on by Rian Hamilton on half way. Hamilton broke clear down the right-hand touch line and easily beat any cover to cross the whitewash. Davidson converted.

Hamilton’s second try was a thing of beauty. Another good touch kick from a penalty gave Dale an attacking line out. 1st phase ball was moved left and a dummy run from Davidson and a delayed pass from Jack Blakeney-Edwards allowed Hamilton to beat the defence. He then rounded the full back to score. The extras again slotted by Davidson.

Another Davidson penalty extended Dale’s lead to 20 points. Luctonians gained ground after the restart and a couple of penalties gave them an attacking line out outside Dale’s 22. They rumbled over to score on the stroke of half time, prop Connor Deignan touching down for an unconverted try. Half time Luctonians 5 Wharfedale 20

Hamilton grabbed his third try after 46 minutes. Turn over ball was kicked through behind the home defence and quickly followed up by the winger. His football skills were in evidence as he then nudged the ball forward and then won the race to touch down. Davidson was again accurate from the tee.

Luctonians then fought their way back into the game. Two converted tries brought them back to 19-27. The first after a strong break took play into the visitor’s 22. The pack then took over and Aiden Cheshire crashed over. The second scored by Thomas Jones who added the conversions.

Dale’s bonus point try came from a Luctonians line out outside their own 22. Wharfedale stole the ball and quickly moved the ball left. A long pass from Davidson gave Oli Cicognini time and space to run for the line before the cover could effectively reach him. No extras but Dale now had a valuable cushion of 13 points.

A tiring Dale side did allow Luctonians a bonus point try after 78 minutes. Scrappy play led to a break by James Wheeler who ran in to score. Jones’ conversion gave the home side a second bonus point for being within 7 points.

Luctonians tried to run the ball from the restart but did not get out of their own half before knocking on. Dale won the scrum and safely went through two phases before sending the ball to Matt Beesley who sent the ball safely into touch.

Another great day in the annals of the Green Machine. Any team that can survive a 4-hour coach journey and then turn out and play like this side deserve full praise. Yes, they did tire a little but the depth of reserve kicked in and bodies were put on the line time and time again. Luctonians had a few outstanding players who caused problems all afternoon but the threat was eventually subdued.

The travelling faithful were well rewarded for making the long trip down. The club house was in full swing before the game with an Octoberfest and the hosts were generous in their welcome and in their congratulations of the away team’s performance.

Wharfedale Bullough; Hamilton, Canny, Davidson, Cicognini; Blakeney-Edwards, Gaudie (Kincart 76); Beesley, Stockdale (Metcalfe 61), Dickinson (Wells 64), Green, Borrill, Pinder (Speres 43), Markey (Jackson 53), Burridge.

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