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Wharfedale on wrong end of another Avenue thriller
Wharfedale 28 Blaydon 32
The Avenue is certainly proving an exciting venue this season, with every game going down to the wire.
However, Wharfedale were beaten on their own patch for the first time, despite their visitors needing to repel a last-minute siege with a man down.
Blaydon emerged richly deserving winners as they dominated with the more incisive running and greater defensive impact.
Wharfedale claimed an early close-driven try by James Tyson, converted by Tom Davidson, but this bright start was eclipsed by three tries from the visitors, who exploited the Greens’ tendency to play too much rugby under their own posts.
First powerful towering winger Tom Jeffrey scored direct from a blindside run from the scrum leaving the back-row defence for dead. Then he followed up a home dropped ball to race clear down the touchline to score a second time. Centre Charles Incledon swiftly added a third after picking up from the side of an unattended ruck.
When flanker Morris added a bonus point fourth from a driven-scrum near the line Blaydon were running away at 25-7. And the lead would have been healthier still had not Andy Baggett hammered the upright with three successive conversions.
Wharfedale were at last able to make a desperately needed scoring impact in capitalising of overlapping yellow cards to live-wire scrum-half Hall Charlton and flanker Gavin Jones either side of half-time to score two converted tries. First Davidson put the finish to a series of short forward assaults to the line and fly half Gray collected a kick ahead out of defence to race clear to close the gap to 25-21.
Just as Wharfedale as last were able to assert themselves they were dispossessed over their line for flanker Jason Smithson to restore a two score lead.
Exploiting a further yellow card to hooker Matthew Hall, Wharfedale hammered at the Blaydon line, scoring once through Steve Graham from a powerful line-out drive, but they were unable to repeat the feat in the final minute that would have given them victory.