Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CHNEWS to 80360, or email
Wharfedale look in good shape for the new season
7:00am Thursday 30th August 2012 in Wharfedale
Wharfedale 33 Stourbridge 5
The Greens held the whip hand throughout this absorbing and feisty warm-up match, and the impressive margin of victory against a club reckoned by many to be National Two North promotion favourites was fully warranted.
While this was a very pleasing all-round team performance from the Dalesmen, the marked difference between the sides was in the forwards.
Stourbridge, fielding a pack containing six of their seven newly -signed players, never came to terms with the home side’s power and slick organisation.
Significantly, four of Wharfedale’s five tries were scored by forwards – and it could well have been more.
With skipper and No 8 Rob Baldwin in inspirational form, the pack simply dominated the game and outplayed their opposite numbers.
It took just four minutes for the Greens to open their account, evergreen centre Andy Hodgson scoring unopposed after intercepting a pass off the ground by Saxons’ Ben Barkley following a bungled drop-out.
Centre Lloyd Davies added the conversion.
The visitors eschewed one kickable penalty in favour of a (wasted) shot at a close-line-out, but already the Greens were starting to take a stranglehold on the game.
With meaningful possession denied them, Stourbridge strived to up the tempo, and exchanges became decidedly heated midway through the half.
Hodgson and flanker James Tyson both left the field for a blood break – but not before Tyson had grabbed a try following a fierce forward maul.
A massive hit by Alastair Allen on Saxons’ lock Robbie Hurrell left the big man in need of a long rest.
On play resuming, Stourbridge were gifted a score.
Substitute stand-off Caolan Ryan taking an intercept chance and speeding 80 metres to the line.
In the closing stages of the half stand-off Will Bell claimed a hacked ball and flicked up a neat scoring pass for scrum-half James Gough, then Davies slotted a penalty for a half-time score of 20-5.
An early flurry on the restart earned Stourbridge a penalty chance, which came to nought, and thereafter one-way traffic resumed toward the visitors’ line.
Gough nipped through for his second try (51), and Davies landed another penalty four minutes later.
The predatory Dan Solomi’s customary try duly arrived aftre 69 minutes with a typical scamper after he and Ian Larkin had each gone close after good pressure.
Wharfedale (squad): Alastair Allen, Rob Baldwin, Will Bell, Richard Brown, Simon Crabtree, Tom Davidson, Lloyd Davies, James Druce, Christian Georgiou, James Gough, Steve Graham, Dan Hart, Andy Hodgson, Simon Horsfall, Adam Howard, Chris Howick, Ian Larkin, Adam Mason, Richard Rhodes, Chris Steel, Dan Solomi, Mark Tampin, Nick Taylor, James Tyson.