Wharfedale 30 Macclesfield 21

THE sun was shining on Wharfedale again as they secured another bonus-point win to boost their National League Two North survival hopes.

But now they face an anxious wait to see if they have done enough to avoid dropping in the North Premier League.

Luctonians, who still have to play at Leicester Lions and home to Sale, can overtake them, but only if they secure two five-point wins.

Wharfedale could have made the results of those remaining matches irrelevant if they hadn't been hampered by two yellow cards in the final 20 minutes.

They defended heroically and did get a third try during this time but missed out on the key bonus-point try.

The opening was a tad nervy, but Tom Barrett opened the scoring with a trademark chip and collect after four minutes.

He converted his own try and extended the lead with a penalty three minutes later.

Samuel Broster got the visitors on the board by taking advantage of some poor Dale tackling. Lewis Barker slotted the extras.

Barrett kicked his second penalty and added the extras when strong running by the Dale forwards led to a try by Toms Asejevs.

Rob Baldwin started the move when he fielded a drop out after a failed shot at goal from Barrett.

The flanker fed Joel Gill who ran the ball at the defence. The move was carried forward by hooker Dan Stockdale before Asejevs finished off.

Back came the visitors and a 14-man maul drove forwards before Samuel Moss crashed over for a try. Barker again had no problem from the tee. Barrett finished the first-half scoring with another penalty.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were a tense battle of wills. Both sides were attempting to play open rugby, but the defences held.

When Rhys Lovegrove was yellow carded for a high tackle after 61 minutes it seemed to have given Macclesfield an advantage.

A piece of magic from Barrett, during this period, nearly led to a score but Macclesfield were saved by pushing the ball over the dead ball line.

With the crowd looking at penalty try the referee decreed that Macclesfield had touched the ball down first.

The visitors forced Wharfedale to defend in their 22 and a try looked certain but then Tom Davidson came to the rescue.

He forced a turn-over under his own posts and fed Richard Rhodes.

The second row's pass sent Stockdale charging up to halfway. Oli Cicognini used his speed to get into the 22 before superb recycling led to Robbie Davidson cutting through the defence to score. Barrett’s conversion gave Dale some breathing space with a 16-point lead.

Five minutes later Macclesfield cut the deficit with a well-taken converted try.

Worse was to follow when Josh Burridge was harshly sin binned for an incident when the try was scored and the restart was converted to a Macclesfield penalty.

The resultant line out was stolen by Dale and excitement mounted as Cicognini ran up to visitors' 22.

Wharfedale went through 11 phases with the crowd roaring them on, but the visitors survived and Dale could not grab that vital fourth try.

The final whistle was greeted with a muted cheer as it was a great win against a very capable and determined Macclesfield side, but the faithful realised that there would now be a wait to determine Wharfedale’s fate.

Wharfedale: R Davidson (Lawn 67); Gill, Lovegrove, T Davidson, Cicognini; Barrett, Woodhead; Asejevs (J Altham 62), Stockdale, Ward, Frost, Hedgley, Houghton (Rhodes 61), Tyson, Baldwin (Burridge 65). Replacement (not used): Graham