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Pack power gives Wharfedale edge in crucial victory
Buy this photo » Fly half Tom Barrett was an influential figure for Wharfedale. Picture: Stephen Garnett
Wharfedale 22, Cinderford 8
Following on from the heavy defeat at Ealing the previous week, this match was crucially important for Wharfedale in their fight to preserve their SSE National League One status.
The Dalesmen's victory was hard won, but thoroughly deserved. The difference between two fast-running combative sides was the forwards.
The Greens’ pack had the edge throughout, frequently gaining ground in mauls and disrupting a number of the visitors’ set-pieces.
The opening ten minutes were played out in the Foresters’ half, the Greens’ pressure forcing a brace of penalties, confidently converted by fly half Tom Barrett.
A 13th-minute penalty from Cinderford stand-off Mark Davies got his side on the scoreboard, but the Greens then dominated play up to the interval.
Barrett had two further penalty shots – just short on the first from 37 metres, but clearing the next, on 25 minutes, from a tad closer to the posts.
Five minutes later he sent a long penalty to touch, setting up a controlled maul that eased No 8 Aaron Myers over the line for a try and a 14-3 half-time advantage for the home side.
Cinderford were more involved in proceedings after the break, but only rarely did they seriously threaten the home line.
However, they managed a consolation try when flanker Robert Langley rounded off their only meaningful pressure of the half with a robust charge to cross in the left corner in the 68th minute.
By this time the Greens had effectively sealed the result through a fourth Barrett penalty on 47 minutes and Simon Horsfall’s try five minutes later, the left winger capitalising on a slick crossfield move after Barrett provided the scoring pass.
The importance of the win was underlined by the news that in-form Macclesfield – hot on the Greens’ heels, and currently filling the top relegation slot – had notched a fourth successive victory.
Macclesfield stay four points behind Wharfedale, who have themselves closed to within one point of Tynedale, who are one league place higher. Wharfedale face fixtures with both Macclesfield and Tynedale next month.
Wharfedale: A Whaites; L Davies (J Gough 57), P Lucock, J Donkin, S Horsfall; T Barrett, P Woodhead; C Steel, S Graham (I Larkin 68), M Tampin (N Dickinson 72), A Howard, R Rhodes, A Allen (J Mason 51), D Solomi (T Wareing 30–40), A Myers.