Wharfedale 17 Harrogate 3
WHARFEDALE stretched their winning home run to seven games with an impressive National League Two North derby victory against Harrogate.
A crowd of 800 enjoyed the contest which was full of strong play and fierce tackling from both sides.
The entertainment was well worth the cost of entry and the result was another boost for the home side's bid to climb the table.
The match was played in good spirits with Dale holding the edge thanks
to their greater teamwork.
Flanker Lewis Wilson opened Dale's account with a try after sustained pressure pushed the visitors to defend their own line. Jamie Guy could not add the conversion.
Harrogate's scrum was getting the better of the home eight who conceded a number of penalties which cost them ground.
But it was Dale who scored again before the half-time whistle with George Hedgley crashing over for the second try.
With Guy's conversion hitting the upright Harrogate were only ten points down and had the slope and what breeze there was in their favour for the second half.
The Green Machine came out with all guns blazing and Josh Burridge started proceedings by bursting out of his 22 from the Harrogate kick off. Wharfedale played some excellent rugby involving forwards and backs.
A try looked certain to come as the pressure mounted on Harrogate. In the end it was a lucky score when a Guy cross kick bounced back from Robbie Davidson into the hands of Harry Bullough who had an easy run to the line. Guy added the extras.
Harrogate did get a consolation three points from the boot of David Doherty, their only reward for their determined efforts.
There was no clear man of the match as so many players gave outstanding contributions.
Skipper Rob Baldwin led by example. His ferocious tackling was epitomised deep into the second half when a crunching tackle saw him strip the ball from the luckless Harrogate player.
Adam Howard’s tackling was worthy of his nickname, wrecking machine, and again led to turnovers.
Hooker Dan Stockdale carried like a man possessed and also added to the tackle count while Jamie Guy slipped into the stand-off role seamlessly.
His distribution, good field kicking and strong tackling were key factors in Wharfedale's success.
Josh Burridge and Lewis Wilson caused Harrogate problems all afternoon, with George Hedgley and Richard Rhodes also joining in tirelessly.
Robbie Davidson and Scott Jordan did some amazing work in defence. Often under intense pressure they combined to coolly clear Dale’s line. The midfield was solid with Tom Davidson and James Tincknell letting nothing past and forcing Harrogate on to the back foot when they had the ball.
Harry Bullough was rock solid at full back and on hand to pick up a try that may have been fortunate, but was thoroughly deserved.
One of the biggest contrasts between the teams was in their handling. Dale’s was probably their best of the season with hardly any unforced errors.
Wharfedale: H Bullough; R Davidson, T Davidson, Tincknell, Jordan; Guy, Woodhead; Howard (Larkin 37, Howard 61), Stockdale (Poole 62), Asejevs (Huck 24, Asejevs 65), Hedgley, Rhodes, Baldwin (c), Wilson, Burridge Replacements (not used): Kitching, Prell