Wharfedale 28 Richmond 34
A final-action try secured victory for Richmond in a pulsating match and inflicted a fifth successive home defeat on the Dalesmen.
Though the lead changed hands five times, the visitors had, prior to their finishing surge, held the advantage for just eight minutes. But, when it mattered, their pack’s efficient pick-and-drive technique overcame desperate defence.
Wharfedale started brightly, winger Scott Jordan opening the scoring with a try after only three minutes. Richmond took a narrow lead with full back Warren Abrahams’ try, converted by stand-off Rob Kirby, but home stand-off Tom Barrett’s penalty edged the Greens back in front 8-7.
Barrett slotted three penalties in quick succession midway through the half, Richmond No 8 John Attlee’s converted try levelled the score and Jordan’s second try made it 19-14 at half-time.
Kirby closed the gap with a penalty ten minutes after the restart, and the game then swung back and forth throughout the half, increasing numbers of errors from both sides feeding the palpable tension on the terraces.
Barrett landed two more penalties, including one from the half-way line, and a drop-goal. Meantime, Richmond scrum half James contributed a try, Kirby adding the conversion and his second penalty, leaving the game on a knife-edge at 28-27 – with 12 nerve-jangling minutes left to play.
The Greens looked to be holding out, until the Richmond pack, in the final play, forced themselves over the line for lock Chris Davies to grab the glory and a 4-try bonus. Kirby completed a 100 per cent kicking performance with the conversion.