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Fylde's elite reckon Wharfedale deserved a point
Fylde 34, Wharfedale 21
Wharfedale travelled to Fylde with more hope than expectation for this SSE National League One contest.
A weakened pack, without Rob Baldwin and Adam Howard, would surely struggle against Lancashire’s finest.
The Greens always travel with optimism, and this was evident in the commitment of the whole team to yesterday’s game.
The Fylde elite of Billy Beaument and Chris Ashton were full of praise for the way Wharfedale played. They both thought that Wharfedale deserved at least a point from the game.
There were indeed promising passages of play. Tackles were being made. Players were supporting each other at the breakdown.
The pack were again a dominant force, at least in the early stages of the game, and were never put on the back foot. The line-out generally worked well.
Despite a lighter pack dominating the setpiece, Wharfedale found themselves trailing 19-3 after 20 minutes.
The difference in these early minutes was the Fylde lock Paul Arnold, who was allowed to create mayhem in Wharfedale’s 22.
Arnold scored the first try, breaking through a maul on his own to run 15 yards unopposed.
He then created enough panic for Aaron Myers to be yellow carded, the resulting line-out leading to Wharfedale old boy Peter Altham scoring. A third charge by Arnold led to Fylde’s third try, scored by Mark Rylands.
A long-distance penalty kick by Tom Barrett was the only Wharfedale response.
But they drew on reserves of strength and battled back. The forwards exerted their dominance and were rewarded with another successful Barrett penalty.
Wharfedale then worked the ball to the Fylde five-metre line and won the line-out. A typical Wharfedale drive led to desperate Fylde defence and Paul Arnold sin-binned for collapsing the maul.
Another good line-out and drive led to Aaron Myers scoring a deserved try which was converted by Barrett.
Wharfedale messed up the kick-off, however, and a successful penalty kick gave Fylde a 22-13 lead.
The Greens bounced back and were unlucky not to reduce the deficit before half-time.
The outstanding try of the game came three minutes into the second half. Josh Prell was released in space outside Wharfedale’s 22.
He glided past three or four Fylde defenders and beat the cover to score his first senior try on his first senior appearance.
The conversion was missed but Wharfedale were closing with the score now 22-18.
The 18-year-old had already done enough to demonstrate the promise he showed at colts level. He was facing Fylde’s match-winning try-scorer Ollie Brennan.
Fylde tried to release Brennan on many occasions in the first half. On each occasion, Prell closed him down and grounded him.
Both sides were now playing a brand of open rugby rarely seen at this level. There was no sign of the ping-pong kicking that has almost ruined the great game.
It was Fylde who got the better of these exchanges, scoring two more tries. Robert Stewart crossed for a converted try and Ben Vernon secured Fylde`s lead with 12 minutes to go.
Wharfedale’s only response during this period was another penalty from Barrett leaving the Greens trailing 34-21 and searching for a bonus point.
The Yorkshire side’s last effort saw them camp on Fylde’s line, only to allow the ball to be overturned and relief for the Lancashire side who cleared well.
'Clarty' (Michael Harrison) summed up the day by saying the result was disappointing. The team had played better than the previous week but were returning empty handed.
This was indeed a more committed performance by all of the players.
The main weakness in the early games has been Dales' ability to be generous in allowing the opposition space in midfield.
The Wharfedale backs at Fylde were a different proposition and halted the Fylde back line on nearly every occasion.
There were basic errors, however. Confusion under a couple of kick-offs was reminiscent of schoolboy rugby.
The odd pass was thrown to no-one in particular. This was even worse as the defence on one occasion had been breached and accuracy was perhaps all that was needed to get to the line.
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