BASEMENT boys Wharfedale, trailing 15-0 at half-time, showed true fighting spirit to only lose 20-17 at leaders Hinckley in National League Two North.

And there would have been no complaints if the visitors had gone on to win as they took the lead with ten minutes to go, only for Hinckley to produce a match-winning try.

The opening half an hour was dominated by Wharfedale, with Hinckley struggling to get out of their own half, but Dale however could not turn this into points and Hinckley scored the first two tries against the run of play.

The first came when Dale won a line-out just outside Hinckley’s 22, but the ball was lost and Thomas Wheatcroft was allowed to run out of defence to halfway, finding winger Sam Driver, who sprinted to the line.

The second try was similar, with Dale having possession but being pinged for accidental offside on the Hinckley ten-metre line.

The hosts won the scrum and three phases later spread the ball wide to the left, with a missed tackle allowing Driver the room to again race to the line.

Driver’s third try was more of a team effort. Hinckley gathered the restart and worked through 15 phases, with good work from the pack and backs, and eventually space was created for an overlap on the right, with Driver finishing off the move.

More pressure from Dale resulted in a shot at goal from Tom Barrett, but his 43-metre effort hit a post.

However, the Green Machine dominated the second half after a great leap by Kieran Frost stole a Hinckley five-metre line-out.

From then on it was Wharfedale that looked like the promotion-chasing side, and a penalty try was just reward after 55 minutes when Hinckley pulled down a rolling maul.

The visitors’ next try started with the backs running the ball from a defensive scrum up to Hinckley’s 22.

Adam Howard charged forward, and an exquisite nudge from Tom Mann, even though he was under pressure, ended with Hinckley being dumped over their line for a Wharfedale five-metre scrum.

A scrum penalty followed and Dale had a penalty advantage from the next scrum but Phil Woodhead dived over to score, Barrett converting for 15-14.

How Hinckley got away without a yellow card or another penalty try during this period was perplexing, but two phases after the restart, Mark Deaville was sin-binned on halfway for an innocuous deliberate knock on. Barrett’s kick to touch was a beauty and Dale had a line-out seven metres out.

By now the setpiece was purring and it looked like being rewarded with a try but neither official had seen the grounding. Six phases later, Barrett dropped a goal to put Wharfedale in front.

With minutes to go, a sliced clearance kick was run back by Hinckley’s Jamie Skerrit, who delivered the heartbreaking scoring pass to Mitchell Lamb, Joseph Glover again missing the conversion.