Wharfedale Foresters 7

Sheffield Tigers 15

WHARFEDALE Foresters lost 15-7 to Sheffield Tigers in a cagey top of the table clash at the Avenue on Saturday.

It was not a day for free-flowing rugby, as weather conditions flipped between dreadful and truly appalling with torrential icy rain and strong winds.

Foresters controlled most of the possession and territory in both halves, they also held sway at the scrum with the weather making a lottery of the line-outs.

However, they also had the most handling errors which effectively nullified their backs as an attacking force.

Receiving the ball uphill and into the wind, the Foresters established control through a series of strong drives and half breaks that gave them a penalty which they kicked to the corner, won the line-out and started their mauling march to the line only to be halted by a fumble and knock on at close quarters.

For the first quarter the men in green played good rugby, but solid defence together with a stream of penalties for Sheffield meant they never created any momentum.

With a man advantage, after a Sheffield player was sin binned, it seemed inevitable that Foresters would open the scoring, but it was not to be.

Having easily won a scrum midfield, Wharfedale worked the ball to the narrow side but miscommunication at the base of an ensuing ruck enabled Tigers to hack through with their hooker gathering the ball and racing under the posts to touch down for a converted try.

Tom Mann ran the ball back strongly from the kick-off. He was a thorn in the side of the Tigers all day, beating defenders and putting Dale on the front foot.

However, knock ons, forward passes or line-out mix up saw them on their heels again, as Sheffield, back to 15 men, spent the final moments camped near the Greens' goal line.

Defence was mighty as Foresters drove Sheffield back but the half went on, with time added on for a potentially serious injury to Andrew Rhodes.

The pressure eventually led to a penalty which Sheffield kicked to make it 10-0 at half-time.

The second half was perhaps more disappointing for Wharfedale, as the elements and the slope were in their favour.

However, when they dropped the ball during the first attack it did not bode well and Forresters had to soak up a sustained period of Sheffield pressure.

The Sheffield defence was also magnificent, snuffing out everything the Greens' backs could throw at them and Wharfedale’s desperation to get back into the game resulted in poor decision making.

Sheffield intercepted a forced pass that led to a second breakaway try, making it 15-0 to the Tigers.

Forresters never stop trying, and after they surged through a series of rucks captain Tom Whyte was driven over for a converted score.

The game descended into stalemate and ended in a 15-7 win for the Tigers.