Yorkshire Vase quarter-final: Wibsey 14 Wensleydale 34

TEMPERATURES hit 25 degrees at Northfield Road but Wibsey’s bid for a double ended in a damp squib.

The champions of Yorkshire Division Four had two men sent off as they fell 34-14 to Yorkshire Division Three winners Wensleydale, who also had a player dismissed, in the quarter-finals of the Yorkshire Vase.

It would be easy to blame referee Warren Rimmer for most of the home side’s ills as first fly half Elliott Cousins and then scrum half Scott Smith were red-carded, but Wibsey’s problems ran deeper than the loss of their half-backs.

“Wensleydale were better at the breakdown, although not 100 per cent legal, and they pushed the laws a bit better than we did which led to frustration among our lads, and we definitely have to learn from that,” admitted Wibsey’s joint manager Rob Greenwood.

“We had a couple of rugby league lads in there and we were not massively competing at the breakdown, whereas Wensleydale were, pushing it to the extreme and getting away with it.

“We were ill-disciplined with our verbals and got on the wrong side of the referee and once we got our backs up, all of the 50-50s went their way and they were on the front foot and I cannot blame the referee. If we had got them it might have been more of a contest."

The visitors knocked on at the kick-off but took advantage in a big way of their first attacking opportunity in the second minute.

Robinson kicked downfield into space but long-striding 6ft 8in Wensleydale full back Fergus Chapman ran the ball back 75 metres to score, carving his way through the home defence without ever seeming to extend himself.

Jack Lawson added the conversion but Wibsey’s response was good, with Cousins timing his pass well as centre Aiden Batey showed his ability to beat visiting defenders.

Chapman was also involved in Wensleydale’s second try in the 13th minute, freeing his arms to put left winger Paul Smith over.

Lawson missed a kickable penalty four minutes later, but a turning point came in the 22nd minute when Robinson’s sweetly-timed pass put centre Robson Moore in the clear, only for Rimmer to incorrectly rule that it had gone forwards.

Home supporters howled more derision towards the referee five minutes later when Batey was sin-binned for a high tackle that looked as if it was legal.

Lawson popped over the penalty to make it 15-0 and Wensleydale blew a try opportunity by knocking the ball on before Euan Metcalfe had a try disallowed for a double movement.

Moore and Callum Murgatroyd then made good ground for Wibsey but they still conceded a third try in the first half when right winger Matthew Reed kicked inside for Heworth rugby league player Chapman to pounce a minute into stoppage time.

Lawson converted to make it 22-0, and any chance of a Wibsey revival was stunted two minutes into the second half when Wensleydale’s quick tap penalty caught the hosts napping as Paul Smith put hooker Mark Dixon in for a try.

Lawson again added the extras and things soon got worse for the home side when Cousins was red carded for dissent.

Ironically, Wibsey, who were generally guilty of conceding too much turnover ball as they failed to clear out in the rucks, then outscored Wensleydale 14-5, despite being one man shy.

Robinson went over from short range on the left in the 47th minute and added the conversion, and the match then went into a lull before it well and truly ignited in the 65th minute when Scott Smith, who showed a nice line in jab and move that Amir Khan would have been proud of a few hours later, and Wensleydale prop Dave Wheeler were sent off.

Home prop Simon Birkbeck was still running strongly however, and Moore scored a try on the left in the 70th minute, with Robinson landing the conversion.

Lawson then struck a penalty attempt under the crossbar before Sam Brown finished the scoring for the visitors with a try in the 76th minute.

Wensleydale will now travel to Leeds Corinthians, 49-10 winners at Burley, in Saturday’s semi-finals while Castleford, 22-20 winners over visitors Halifax Vandals, have a home derby against Knottingley.