Loughborough Students 7, Wharfedale 27

Wharfedale started off the new year with a great win at Loughborough Students as the victors climbed to fifth in SSE National League One, following Coventry's postponement for a waterlogged pitch.

This was also sweet revenge for the defeat inflicted on the Dalesmen at The Avenue earlier in the season.

The Greens were made to struggle in the first half playing up a slope even more pronounced than their home ground.

They stayed in the game well and, with a last-minute drop goal by Tom Barrett, went in at half-time leading 10-7.

The other scoring in the first half was a converted try each.

The students scored first when Wharfedale's defence took a break and allowed prop Mike Daniels to stroll in from 15 metres. A successful conversion gave Loughborough a justified lead after 19 minutes.

Dale fought hard and, with Loughborough kicking a lot of possession, Wharfedale were able to play a running game.

There was a ding-dong battle at the scrum, with both sides competing for the ball and Dale often being driven back.

This battle was edged by the Green Machine but full credit to the students for working at this aspect of the game.

Dale drew level after moving the ball into the students' 22 and winning a well-taken line-out.

Good attack from Rob Baldwin and Chris Steel then took the Greens close to the try line and, after  four pick and goes, Richard Rhodes picked the ball and drew the defensive tackle and a superb - one could even say intelligent - offload put Jack Barnard over, and Barrett made the score 7-7 after 36 minutes.

Wharfedale did more than enough in the second half to overcome the stout Borough defence.

Barrett's fourth drop goal in as many matches had put a spring in their step, and it was Barrett who extended the lead with a successful penalty attempt after 51 minutes.

He also put Wharfedale deep into Loughborough's 22 with a well-directed kick. This led to Wharfedale possession and the ball being moved right and then driven by the forwards.

When the ball was then moved left, the defence was stretched and an overlap created. Tom Davidson cut back in past a floundering defence to score after 64 minutes, and Barrett made no mistake with an easy conversion to stretch the lead to 20-7.

From the kick-off, Wharfedale forced a turnover, and then fine running by the backs was followed up by Scott Jordan, Baldwin and Rhodes interchanging passes, which gave Jordan a clear run-in.

Barrett again confidently added the extras to put Dale out of reach at 27-7 with only 14 minutes of play left.