Wharfedale 18

Tynedale 3

WHEN Tynedale visited the Avenue earlier this year nobody thought that conditions could have been worse.

Back in February there were periods of fair weather. Last Saturday the wind and rain did not relent and it was not a day for fast-flowing back play, more a day for the purist. Mistakes were made, but Wharfedale came away with a hard-earned 18-3 home win.

The Dale pack dominated the set piece and the Dale defence kept the usually high-scoring visitors from crossing the whitewash.

Wharfedale pressed Tynedale from kick-off and had chances to score but the visitors defence held.

Tynedale only escaped from their half on two occasions; once for a scrum on Wharfedale’s ten metre line and then for a line-out.

The scrum saw Wharfedale drive them back to earn a penalty and the line-out was stolen by Kieran Frost.

The best chance was a driving maul which was pulled down by Tynedale’s Ben Bell, the offence earned him an early yellow card only 12 minutes into the game.

The sustained attack only yielded a penalty landed by Jack Blakeney-Edwards.

The Green Machine were soon back on the attack with Blakeney-Edwards making a good break up to the visitor’s line and a driven five metre scrum led to a penalty try.

An odd couple of penalties soon gave Tynedale a line-out in Dale’s 22, but the throw was not straight and the scrum led to a Wharfedale penalty.

Tynedale could not get their phases together and Wharfedale were dominating both the scrum and the line-out.

Before half-time the Green Machine had another five metre line-out but but the referee decided that a player had got in front of the catcher and was therefore guilty of obstruction.

Tynedale’s best chance of scoring followed with a break from left wing Morgan Passman. The touchline saved Wharfedale with Passman well short of the try line and Dale scrambling to cover.

Tynedale strived to get into the home 22, but Wharfedale kept them well away from the try line.

A long kick by Blakeney-Edwards was chased by Oli Cicognini and Joe Altham; Ben Blackwell arrived and an excellent counter ruck led to a penalty.

Dale went for the corner looking for a second try, but Tynedale held the catch and drive.

An offside gave Dale a penalty in front of the posts, which was converted by Blakeney-Edwards to lead 13-0 at half-time.

This had been an impressive 40 minutes from the men in green. They made few mistakes and showed that they could play solid controlled rugby.

Wharfedale failed to escape from the start of the second half and Tynedale got a kickable penalty. This was accepted by Robert Parker to get them on the scoreboard.

Blakeney-Edwards then set up field position for Wharfedale with a well-placed kick into Tynedale’s 22.

Dale stepped up the pressure and Tynedale gave away penalties and received a warning from the referee.

A five metre line-out led to a good catch and drive, which was stopped illegally.

Dale played through the advantage and James Tyson broke off. Sam Gaudie was fed the ball and had the speed to reach the line on the outside to touch down. Blakeney-Edwards’ conversion bounced off the bar and a post before falling down on the wrong side.

Tynedale had probably avoided a yellow card by Gaudie's try, but they did not escape two minutes later when Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti was harshly adjudged to have gone off his feet when competing at the break down. Ten minutes rest was his reward.

The wind and rain got stronger as did Dale’s resolve. They closed out the game with controlled rugby to finish the game with the spoils.

However, both sets of players deserved applause for sticking to their task in somewhat atrocious conditions that just got worse as the afternoon wore on.

Wharfedale: Harry Bullough, Rian Hamilton, Ben Blackwell, Rhys Lovegrove (Will Lawn 75), Oli Cicognini, Jack Blakeney-Edwards, Sam Gaudie, Joe Altham, Dan Stockdale, Toms Asejevs (Jack Hirst 24, Toms Asejevs 67), George Hedgley, Kieran Frost, Matty Houghton (Ben Leacock 75), James Tyson, Josh Burridge (Chris Walker 57). Replacement not used: Sam Booker.