A really entertaining game of rugby was just edged by the visitors thanks to a fortunate rebound off the post which fell to a Hull player to score.
Like last season at the Avenue a draw looked like being a fair result as both sides were resolute in defence.
Hull took the lead early on with two successful penalties from the boot of Lewis Minikin. Dale were trying to play an expansive game of rugby but mistakes allowed I’s to keep them clear of the try line. Three forward passes cost Dale any chance of breaking through and they were also guilty of being off-side. Oscar Canny split the Hull defence wide open a but his scoring pass was not taken cleanly and Hull escaped, their clearance kick was collected but a forward pass from Dale then gave I’s good field position. Dale did eventually mount serious pressure on the Hull line and after a knock on in defence Dale had an attacking scrum. The knock-on was a one-handed effort by a Hull defender which stopped Dale developing a three on two situation! The scrum was efficiently won and the ball spun left to Oliver Cicognini. Cicognini burst through tackles to score a try. Tom Mann stepped up to land the conversion to take Dale into the lead. Wharfedale soon attacked again and a great burst by Oscar Canny was spoilt by a knock-on on half way. Just before half-time the dominant Dale scrum won another penalty. With the clock on 40 minutes Mann landed the three points to give Dale a 10 – 6 lead at oranges.
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw both sides trying to gain the upper hand but no scores. One passage of play does deserve a special mention; Hull sent a deep kick close to Dale’s line. Tom Mann gathered the ball and looked in danger of being caught but some audacious play saw him outwit the Hull players and run the ball out of Dale’s 22.
Hull Ionians broke the deadlock after coming close to scoring but were held up over the line. The Wharfedale drop out was well take by the visitors who then went through six phases of good rugby and good work from their forwards. Eventually Allan Hudson was driven over the whitewash to take Hull back into the lead. Minikin was again successful from the tee.
Hull extended their lead after kicking the ball into Dale’s 22. The defence seemed to have dealt with the ball but after two phases they were very slow at using the ball. Hull sensed a chance and a well-timed charge down, which looked to be heading for the dead ball line, bounced back off the post and was followed up by Jo Makin who scooped the ball to score. Minikin took the lead to 10 points.
Dale never flagged and valiantly tried to get back in to the game. Their endeavour was rewarded with a penalty on the stroke of time. Mann held his nerve to kick the penalty and give Dale a much-deserved bonus point.
Hull coach, Graham Steadman, said after the game “It’s always a difficult game to come up here, thankfully the weather has been kind. Wharfedale to their credit are a much-improved outfit, they caused us a few problems but our defence held. We could have done with more self-discipline in the last 20 minutes and maybe have posted a few more scores”. He also thanked the travelling fans for their support.
Simon Verbickas, Wharfedale’s Head Coach said ”The score is a huge disappointment to us, to lose at home to anybody but on the basis of this display I love the fact that the lads kept trying and trying; the offloading at times did not come off but that is what we are coaching in training. I think that if you looked at both sides out there today I think we were the more entertaining side and rugby that was good to watch. If just a couple of little things stick then we are at a different end of that scoring sheet and we are four tries up with a five-point win”.
Next week sees Dale travelling up the A1 to take on Blaydon. Blaydon have had a tough start to the season losing all three games including a narrow loss at home to Hull Ionians at the start of the season. All support will be greatly appreciated.
Bullough; Prell, Canny, Cicognini (Darwin 64), R. Davidson (Moore 74); Mann, Gaudie; Beesley (J. Altham 40), Wright, Dickinson (Beesley 62), Borrill (Stockton 74), Hedgley, Stockton (Carlson 30), Speres (Mountain 69), Burridge.
Fabulous photos of the thrilling 1st XV #Nat2N match against @Ioniansrufc are available to view and download at https://www.flickr.com/photos/128183691@N04/albums/72177720302173169
Lower quality images can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.782452573085949
Thanks as ever to Ro and John Burridge for providing these.