THE losing bonus point which moved Wharfedale up the table one place last Saturday was small consolation to their head coach James Doherty.

Their 10-3 defeat at Chester came ahead of a crucial home match against Blaydon – the team the Dalesmen overtook to go third from bottom – this weekend.

"We just need to find a way to win," said Doherty after a match in which so much went right for the visitors.

"My mate Guy Ford (Chester's skipper) got it right when he said that they won the first half and we won the second, and it was similar in many ways to the Otley match that we lost earlier in the season in terms of not converting pressure into points.

"One or two things didn't go our way in terms of decisions, but it should not take us until the last ten minutes of a match to wake up, and we had chance after chance in that second half.

"In the first half, we exited well, but could not keep hold of the ball in conditions that were grim."

Having said that, however, there were many positives from the display.

Doherty said: "The scrum went well, and the line-out went well statistically (93 per cent on their own throw), but some big moments went wrong five or ten metres from their line.

"The front row deserve special praise as (loose-head prop) Tom Asejevs has been playing at tight-head prop, with Joe Altham being unavailable due to work, and has done a great job.

"Fellow prop Reece Ward, who is only 20, has done back-to-back 80 minutes, which is some achievement, while Dan Stockdale has been holding it all together at hooker as you would expect a leader like him to do.

"But it has not just been the front row, it has been all eight, while newcomer Jordan Annett did really, really well at fly half.

"He kicked well and prodded and probed, while Joel Gill at centre has proved a very solid and dependable performer, making tackles and having that X factor when we have the ball."

Blaydon, relegated last season from National League One, are, like Tynedale, old foes.

Doherty said of Saturday's opponents: "It is sad that they came down, but we enjoy going up there and generally renewing our rivalry."

Tom Barrett returns after work duties to resume at fly half in place of debutant Annett, but that is the only change from the starting 15 against Chester.

On the bench, Altham, who replaces Jake Parkinson, gives front-row support to starting props Asejevs and Ward, while Jim Mason and Tom Mann, who has come through the system at Dale, replace Kieran Frost and Archie Hancock.

Wharfedale: Robbie Davidson; Ralph Wellock, Joel Gill, Tom Davidson, Oli Cicognini; Tom Barrett, Phil Woodhead (captain); Toms Asejevs, Dan Stockdale, Reece Ward, Richard Rhodes, Adam Howard, George Hedgley, James Tyson, Tom Whyte. Replacements: Steve Graham, Joe Altham, Simon Borrill, Jim Mason, Tom Mann.