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Late try brings justified victory for Wharfedale
Buy this photo » Christian Georgiou shows his delight at scoring a try for Wharfedale
Wharfedale 21, Fylde 17
This most intense of local derbies certainly lived up to its billing yesterday in SSE National League One, providing an excellent match, a furious contest, a dramatic finale and an ecstatic final minute victory for the home side as Wharfedale confounded many critics to claim a fully-deserved victory.
For the Greens did far more than merely eventually overhaul their visitors; they outplayed them, mastered them up front and their final try, despite its late timing, had an air of inevitability about it.
The victory was richly earned against a Fylde side high in confidence and blessed with three-quarter pace to burn.
Indeed the visitors looked comfortably placed at the break - two tries to the good as a result of their superior pace wide out on the left.
First Oli Brennand combined fluently with fellow winger Nick Royle to send centre Chris Briers over, and then, after 25 minutes, Brennand was again the creator with a further bout of fluent inter-passing to send scrum half Ryan De La Harpe clear. Chris Johnson converted both and added a penalty.
Wharfedale’s sole reward for some excellent play themselves was a Christian Georgiou penalty, though some fine scrummaging near the line deserved better.
The Green’s set-piece work was taking its toll and attacking positions beginning to emerge but the 17-3 deficit still looked daunting.
Having found they now had the measure of Fylde defensively, Wharfedale’s second-half forward play grew in confidence.
Though at first clear-cut chances failed to emerge, fine scrummaging indirectly produced two early Georgiou penalties, reducing the deficit to 16-9 and the game was up for offer.
Spearheaded by their excellent captain Rob Baldwin, the Greens added marauding pressure in the loose to their set-piece dominance, and creative back play produced runs from Joe Donkin and Simon Horsfall.
A fine sweeping break from deep from Georgiou ended under the posts for an easy conversion and the Greens were only a point adrift.
An upright saved Fylde from a Georgiou penalty.
The visitors then escaped upfield with some neat possession play but seemed almost to tire themselves out in the process.
Wharfedale in turn worked themselves downfield and pressure near the line brought Chris Howick a try from a maul as Wharfedale stamped their final authority on the match.