A clinical and efficient Hull team secured a bonus point after 30 minutes and went on to lead 5 -33 at half time. Head Coach, Gary Pearce, said after the game that “we were good in the first half and used the conditions really well and played in the right areas of the pitch. We played some powerful rugby. We gave Wharfedale full respect and they stuck to their task really well and made things very difficult in the second half”
Hull opened the scoring after 4 minutes with Latu Makaafi powering over after a 5-metre line out. Dale struck back with a cross kick taken by Harry Bullough to score.
Harvey Harding darted over for Hull’s second try with Simon Humberstone adding the conversion. Alistair Thomson touched down next and a massive overlap led to Keane Naylor getting the bonus point try. Good following up and support play put William Hall over the whitewash. Humberstone added his fourth conversion to end the scoring before half-time.
It took 11 minutes of the second half before the visitors added to their score, a penalty from Humberstone. Dale were growing into the game and had chances but it was a piece of individual skill that led to a try. Rian Hamilton collected the ball on the right wing just in Hull’s half and then made his way across the pitch before rounding any Hull players to score on the left wing. Three tacklers were brushed off and he also slipped past a dangerous high tackle to reach the line.
Hull scored a late try when another cross kick found Michael Adlard in space and he crossed the line despite valiant efforts from the Dale defence.
Wharfedale Head Coach, Jon Feeley said after the game “We knew the size of the challenge today and prepared well for it. Thursday night`s session was one of the best we’ve had. But Hull were very clinical in that 1st half and we struggled to get a foot hold in the game, especially when under such pressure at the set piece. With the possession we did have, we looked dangerous. Harry’s try was a really great example of patience, exploiting opportunity and great skill from the whole team. Rian showed fantastic individual ability for the try of the game and I thought Ben Blackwell was outstanding throughout. We move into a period of games now which are crucial for the team moving forward. We’re looking at these next seven weeks in isolation to see what we can achieve”.
Dale seemed to match Hull for a lot of the game but Hull built a big score in the first half by sheer weight of numbers and using their big players to punch at the Dale defence. The visitors did not play an attractive game of rugby but it was very effective with players in support and good clearing out at the break down. The penalty count went in Hull’s favour by 12 to 2, plus Wharfedale picking up two yellow cards. Dale had a very long afternoon of tackling which they did with great enthusiasm only to be run out of players as Hull recycled well. The Hull backs did manage to squander some opportunities when overlaps were ignored and the centres cut back inside.
Ben Blackwell had a tremendous afternoon both in attack and defence and was a close candidate for the Star Man in the Rugby Paper even though he was on the losing side. With ball in hand he was a constant threat to the Hull defence. All the Dale players can hold their heads high, especially after the second half when they were clearly the better side.
Next week sees a full day at the Avenue. The 1st XV take on Harrogate; the rearranged game from December. It is also Ladies Day and there will be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration as well.
Wharfedale W. Davidson (Viner 23); Hamilton, Blackwell, Moore, Bullough; T. Davidson, Macnab; J. Altham (G. Altham 57), Graham, Dickinson (Green 58), Beesley, Hedgley (c), Carlson (Wells 76), Pinder (Stockton 52), Burridge.
By Ed Williams
Photos of the 1st XV #Nat2N match against @hullrugbyunion are available to view and download at https://www.flickr.com/photos/128183691@N04/albums/72177720297323241
Lower quality images can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set?set=oa.725826458795241
Thank you to Ro and John Burridge for doing this every week.