Wednesday 24 April - Wharfedale 3rd XV v Ilkley 2nd XV (A) KO 6.30pm -------    Saturday 27 April - Wharfedale v Lymm (H) KO 3.00pm ---- Foresters v Sandal 2nd XV at West Leeds RUFC KO 3.00pm ......

Sheffield 12 Wharfedale 38

A superb display of fast flowing rugby saw Wharfedale travelling back up the M1 with five totally deserved points. We may have snuck the home match in the last minutes but this was a totally different story. Sheffield had a brief spell either side of half time when they managed to score two tries but the rest of the match was dominated by Dale.

Sheffield were guilty of handling errors early on and Dale soon took full advantage. Sheffield had a scrum on their 22 which they won and sent a kick down field. The ball was run back and Dale went through 12 phases before Henry Macnab crossed for an unconverted try. The Sheffield restart went straight out so Dale had a scrum on half-way. Six phases later a break by Louis Verity was finished off by Tom Mann who also added the extras.

The Wharfedale defence was magnificent and this showed when the home side went through 15 phases without gaining ground. Sheffield’s best passage of play came just before half-time when they actually got in to Dale’s 22. A deliberate knock-on from George Altham saw Dale reduced to 14. Sheffield opted for a scrum and good pressure led to a try from Eliot Fisher which he also converted.

The second half started with some more enterprising play from Sheffield which saw them with an attacking line-out in Dale’s 22. Their big pack won the ball and drove forward, the ball was then spread wide and Chris Hooper scored in the corner. No conversion but the score was 12-12.

Verity broke the deadlock with another good run and his offload saw Sam Dickinson with the ball. He rounded the fullback and touched down. Mann added the extras. From the restart the home side were soon pinned back again. Dale attacked and Oscar Canny chipped over the defence, collected the ball and ran in for a bonus point try. Mann’s conversion took the score to 12-26.

The rest of the game was all Dale. Sam Gaudie crossed but the try was disallowed for a forward pass. Minutes later Wharfedale had Sheffield on the rack again and after 10 phases in the home 22 Josh Walters added Dale’s fifth try. Mann missed from the tee but minutes later converted Gaudie’s effort when he picked up a loose ball and ran in from the 22.

Wharfedale stand-in skipper, Oli Cicognini, said after the game “I would like to say it was a great pleasure and honour to lead this set of lads out today. From the 1st minute I thought the intensity and drive was excellent. We were sensible with our exits and when we got in the right position on the field we opened up and spread the ball wide. The lads were focused and sharp in all areas of play and I thought our attacking play was phenomenal. The guys who made the debut and played out of position stood up and made a great impression today. The work rate of all players was amazing; some of them could barely walk after the match; this showed the amount of effort which they were prepared to put in to the Green Shirt which made my life as captain a lot easier. Having two class scrum halves on the pitch led to us getting quick ball all the time which enabled us to dominate large parts of the match. I was extremely proud of how we played for the last half an hour and this win sets us up for the last two matches against Chester and Preston.”

There were brilliant performances by all players who donned the green. Every player stepped up and played a big part in the victory. There were also some outstanding performances. Louis Verity showed great maturity at 10 and was a constant threat to the defence; he set up two of the tries with superb runs and precise offloads and his field kicking from hand also caused Sheffield problems.

Ben Blackwell, playing his first game at 6 for the 1st XV, was a strong presence throughout. The Wharfedale pack were nigh insuperable. The Sheffield pack came with a big reputation having dominated Fylde’s pack two weeks ago, the first scrum was going to be interesting. Dale did not move and hardly budged an inch all afternoon. The line-out stuttered early on but soon worked out what was needed and became solid.

The Green machine play their last game at home next week against Chester. The away match was lost in the last minute with another penalty in front of the posts! Please be there to support the lads and enjoy the atmosphere of the last match at the Avenue.

Wharfedale Mann; Gaudie (Hirst 38), Walters, Cicognini (c), (Prell 63), Canny; Verity (Hodgson 71), Macnab; J. Altham (G. Altham 34, Gaudie 48)), Weston, Dickinson (G. Altham 61), Stockton, Green, Blackwell (Borrill 69), Smith Jnr, Beresford.

Fabulous TeamBurridge photos of Saturday’s 1st XV #Nat2N superb performance  against @SheffieldRUFCare available to view and download at   https://www.flickr.com/photos/128183691@N04/albums/72177720307380194 Lower quality images can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/489145011182617

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