WITH a number of senior players unavailable for this pre-season warm-up, Wharfedale featured an array of youthful talent, eager to impress the selectors.
SSE National League Two North promotion favourites Stourbridge provided a combative test, which the Greens met with enthusiasm and were unlucky to suffer narrow defeat.
The outcome of an even contest hinged on an opportunistic try by visiting winger Stefan Cooksammy early in the second half.
With Wharfedale on all-out attack, he collected a fortunate bounce inside his own half and sped clear to the left corner.
With the conversion, the score was then 12-7 to the Midlanders and, a few minutes later, replacement flanker Dale Garner’s push-over try stretched the lead to a two-score margin.
The home side had the better of possession in the closing stages, skipper James Doherty’s second try of the game narrowing the deficit to five points with 10 minutes to play.
The match finished with Wharfedale pressing hard, but Stourbridge stubbornly held out for victory.
An end-to-end first half saw the Greens take an early lead, Doherty pouncing after his forwards had made the chance and Tom Davidson converting.
The Stourbridge pack then dominated forward matters for a while and might have expected more return from their work than the sole try scored by winger Tom Harris.
Reorganisation in the home pack evened things up, however, and defences held the upper hand at both ends of the pitch up to the break.
Wharfedale: Josh Prell; Matt van Siterma, Cameron Hudson, Tom Davidson, Oli Cicognini; Will Bell, James Doherty; Matt Beesley, Dan Stockdale, Adam Howard, Simon Willet, Richard Rhodes, Alex Powell, Tom Burridge, Josh Burridge.
Replacements: Joe Altham, Jake Armstrong, Harry Bullough, James Otulakowski, James Druce, Jim Mason, Tom White.