This is a popular fixture with the faithful of both the “Dale” sides and it was good to welcome so many supporters from the north east. Their friendship and sportsmanship is much valued, as is that of those who play.
The game opened with a couple of minutes of flowing play up the slope by Wharfedale but, as became a feature of the match, over ambition or carelessness caused errors. From a position near the Tynedale 22 Wharfedale contrived to lose a maul and failed to stop a surge to their own 22. A penalty took play to within 15 metres and Chris Wearmouth did what he does best and had no trouble scoring wide out on the right. The try was superbly converted by the left foot of man of the match Jake Rodgers. Our kick off was superbly caught by Ryan Carlson but a later knock-on prevented further progress. After ten minutes and two Wharfedale penalties which took them to the right hand corner, more handling errors prevented a score, but after 18 minutes Mann broke through three tackles on the left to score a try which he converted.
Wharfedale were very much in the game at this point playing some attractive, but annoyingly imprecise rugby. This resulted in another opportunity for Tynedale’s pack to dominate and predictably for Wearmouth to score his second try to be converted by Rodgers. What proved to be a crucial try in the context of the match was scored in the 34th minute after the Greens had conceded yet another penalty too close to their line. From the ensuing line out Graeme Dunn leapt high, an impressive maul followed (one of Tyne’s many strengths) and Ralph Johnston scored. A successful conversion by Rodgers was never in doubt. Up to half time Wharfedale pressed, there was some great passing going left but, once again, handling errors prevented a much needed score, so it was 7-21 at half time.
The second half began with an impressive 50-22 kick to the left by Mann, but the line out was lost. Fortunately for Wharfe, Tynedale infringed and Mann was able to kick an easy penalty to make the score 10-21. The home side now had some momentum with Ben Blackwell, who had come on after 32 minutes, proving a rare handful. In addition one of his tackles was thunderous. Play was still very loose, but Josh Prell continued as he had been throughout to be a thorn in the flesh of the visitors. On a rare occasion when the visitors attacked Harry Bullough thumped a great clearance from under his posts to the opposition’s ten yard line.
On their one visit to the home line, what proved to be a match winner on 55 minutes was scored. The try was an unusual one as it seemed that the defender had taken the ball over the line. This left the score at 10-26. Great forward pressure after another Mann break resulted in a try for Oli Cicognini on 58 minutes, Mann converting from the touch line. Play was now frantic; multiple chances presented themselves but the basic errors continued. Calmness was needed but not always apparent. Tynedale were always prepared to attack from deep and a brilliant tip tackle by Joe Fawcett was needed to halt the visitors’ progress . Wharfedale continued to play expansive rugby more effectively than they had done previously. Their best play of the match followed – a brilliant Blackwell burst, an inside pass to Max Bell, a precise cross kick by Mann and a score by Carlson. The score was now 22-26.
A final penalty by Rodgers completed the scoring with the relieved visitors putting the ball into touch dead on 80 minutes. Wharfedale never gave up as is their wont.
I hope this report makes it clear that some of our team are playing exceptionally well and that includes players back from injury lay-offs such as Matt Speres, Oli Cicognini and Ben Blackwell, Foresters’ scrum half Max Bell and a rejuvenated Josh Prell. The pack never lets us down with a sound line out in the main (congratulations on his 50th appearance to Simon Borrill) and the leadership of George Hedgley. It has been a pleasure too to welcome Ben Wright to a regular spot as hooker. The coaching team want us to keep our standards high, to take pride in what we are doing and to try to prevent a situation where we are chasing the game. We must play at speed and keep listening to advice. Putting it all in in training is essential.
John Clark (match reporter)
Thanks again to Ro and John Burridge for these fabulous photos of the 1st XV #Nat2N Match against @TynedaleRFC are available to view and download at https://www.flickr.com/photos/128183691@N04/albums/72177720302915064 Lower quality images can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.520593650073649
There’s also some of the thrilling Foresters vs Raiders game here https://www.flickr.com/photos/128183691@N04/albums/72177720302914799