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Uncontested scrums come too late for Wharfedale
Coventry 22, Wharfedale 10
This SSE National League One game was one for the purists, and it was a relief for the travelling faithful that the match was played, the pitch only being passed fit at 9am yesterday.
There had been heavy rain in the Midlands for days and the Coventry groundstaff's hard work was rewarded.
If there was a problem with the weather, it was the wind. Wharfedale used the conditions well but were unfortunate to see two long Tom Barrett kicks go dead.
Coventry tried to clear their lines in the first half by kicking but the strong wind meant they gained very little territory.
In the second half, Dale refused to kick and spent long periods of possession in and around their own 22. This meant they denied Coventry possession and the expected points.
Coventry dominated the set-piece and the Green Machine spent most of the afternoon retreating, either losing the ball or conceding a penalty.
Relief came in the dying minutes when prop Jake Armstrong was sin-binned. With Neil Dickinson on as replacement for the injured Adam Howard, the home side were denied a chance of a pushover try as the referee was forced to call for uncontested scrums.
Coventry ran the ball well in the first half but Dale always looked dangerous.
Coventry took an early lead with a penalty after a tackle by Aaron Myers was judged as dangerous.
They increased the lead after a missed penalty was caught, juggled but grounded legally by Mark Kohler. The conversion struggled to get near in the wind before Barrett opened the scoring for Wharfedale with a long drop goal.
The try of the match was then scored by Scott Jordan. One Coventry supporter said it was one of the best he had seen and "tries like that were worth the price of admission". This took Wharfedale into the lead 10-8.
Coventry's two other tries came either side of half-time and were both after sustained periods of pressure in Dale's 22 by the Coventry forwards, Will Hurrell and Max Northcote-Green scoring the tries with Cliff Hodgson adding the extras.
Both sets of players have to be congratulated for a hard-fought game. Not a flowing game of rugby but commitment and teamwork were in evidence a plenty from both squads.
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