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Tom Barrett adds to haul as Wharfedale notch rare win at Tynedale
Tynedale 27, Wharfedale 40
“I’ll take the result, but not the performance”.
That was the verdict of Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley after he saw his charges record their first victory at Tynedale in SSE National League One.
His disappointment at the errors which cost his side the fourth try is understandable but he went on to praise his forwards’ total dominance of the scrum, which produced penalty after penalty (after penalty), allowing Tom Barrett to add another 25 points to his already impressive total.
A beautiful day on the banks of the Tyne was a day made for sunshine rugby.
The idyllic conditions clearly infected Wharfedale, whose determination to have fun expressed itself as early as the very first minute, when an exuberant floated pass was gratefully intercepted by home centre Jack Harrison to score under the crossbar.
Then, after eschewing a simple kick at goal to get the scoreboard moving, a midfield handling error turned the ball over to the eager Tynedale backs, who moved it swiftly for Daniel Rundle to score out wide.
Eleven minutes gone, and Wharfedale had tamely surrendered a 14-point lead on a ground where they had never won in the modern era.
But rather than panic, Wharfedale set about reeling their opponents in, and, prompted by the continual sniping of scrum half Philip Woodhead, an opportunity soon presented itself for the first of Tom Barrett’s seven penalties.
Two minutes later came what was to be the try of the match. A midfield break by Barrett was carried on by Joe Donkin, feeding Woodhead, who deceived the final defender with a sublime overhead pass eagerly accepted by the increasingly impressive Adam Whaites to score between the sticks for Barrett to convert.
Tynedale soon responded with a towering penalty kick into touch on the Wharfedale line, which brought about one of the seminal moments in the match: Richard Rhodes stole the ball two-handed and his pack set up a 30-yard maul - and the pressure was relieved.
The two sides now took a ten-minute time out to give them a chance to show off their impressive range of handling errors, but eventually order was restored.
A certain try was missed when Woodhead lost his footing as he took a scoring pass from Christian Georgiou following another break by Aaron Myers, then pressure on the home line resulted in a close-quarter try for hooker Ian Larkin.
Barrett’s fine kick was taken by the gusting wind for the ball to come back off a post, the only goal kick he missed all day; but the Greens were at last in the lead at 15-14, and the travelling faithful were looking forward to converting their established superiority into a hatful of points.
But Tynedale were by no means finished, and on 27 minutes fly half Gavin Beasley sashayed through the defence after strong work from No 8 Nick Cairns off the back of a scrum: Tynedale were again in the lead, by 21-15.
A dangerous and painful tackle on Rob Baldwin saw the same Beasley sent to the bin on 29 minutes, and it was inevitable that Wharfedale would turn their power into points.
The score came when Barrett spotted the absence of cover and put through a sublime grubber to give Georgiou all the time he needed to touch down for a 22-21 lead.
Again Wharfedale breathed easy, but again Tynedale came back and only an offence by Georgiou, which cost him a yellow card, prevented a try; the ensuing penalty gave the home side a 24-22 lead at half-time which they scarcely merited.
The second half proceeded as the first half had finished: complete domination of the scrum by Wharfedale, repeated opportunities for Barrett to exhibit his considerable kicking skills (he finished with seven penalties for the second week in succession) and sound defence by the Tynedale backs, which deprived Wharfedale of the coveted fourth-try bonus point.
In a match which featured fine performances in every position, with the youngsters growing in confidence weekly, pride of place must go to props Chris Steel and Joe Altham for setting up such complete domination, Baldwin for his control at the back of the scrum, Myers for his sheer hyperactivity, Barrett for his speed of thought and his goal-kicking, Woodhead for being a constant thorn in the flesh, and of course Whaites, who simply goes from strength to strength.
Wharfedale: Whaites; Jordan, Georgiou, Donkin, Prell; Barrett, Woodhead (Dudman 58); Altham, Larkin (Stockdale 70), Steel (Margetson 79), Brown, Rhodes, Burridge (Barnard 58), Myers, Baldwin. Replacement not used: Davison.
Tynedale: Visser; Rundle, Harrison, Frankland, Smales; Beasley Gavin (Borthwick 45), Outson (Weightman 54); White (Jupp 50), Lowdon, Irving, Dunn G, Dunn R (Mills 64), Ridley, Beasley Grant (Murray 39), Cairns.
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