Wharfedale 1st XV 40 Macclesfield 0

Rugby returned to the Avenue with a double header. A good crowd enjoyed the sunshine and were entertained by first the Foresters playing Old Rishworthians and then 1st Team taking on old friends, Macclesfield. The results preseason are not the most important thing but it is important for the coaches to see players on the field against good opposition.

Macclesfield played some good rugby and, despite the score, were strong opponents. The match gave the players the chance to impress Wharfedale’s new Director of Rugby, Simon Verbickas. All players took the chance and played some superb eye-catching rugby.

Dale started playing the game with some flare and outstanding movement. One noticeable aspect of play was having a player in support when a break was made. Often, in the past, Dale have been guilty of not being able to carry a move on but not today. Good breaks were made and there was another player on hand to finish off the move. Also, in defence players supported each other; if there was a rare missed tackle another Green shirt was there to halt the Macclesfield attack. Downfield kicks were also followed up well and generally ended with a good territorial advantage.

Wharfedale tries came at an even pace throughout the game. Josh Prell opened the scoring with a typical burst through the defence. Jack Burton crossed soon after using 2nd phase ball following an attacking scrum. The third try came after Dan Stockdale scooped up a loose ball and put Harry Williams in for a try. Ben Blackwell converted two out of three to give Dale a 19-0 lead at the break.

Following a Macclesfield mistake on the half-way line Max Bell grabbed the loose ball and scampered the 50 metres to touch down. A scintillating break from James Coulton led to Bell scoring a second and then Coulton was on hand to finish off Blackwell’s break for Dale’s 6th try. Blackwell was 100% in the second half with his conversions. Wharfedale squad from Beesley, Stockdale, Dickinson, Hedgley, Burton, Smith, Fawcett, Williams, Darwin, Bell, Prell, Blackwell, Coulton, Cicognini, Bullough, Altham, Hirst, Matthew, Harrison, Heys, Swainson, Marsden, Laycock.

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