Huddersfield 13

Wharfedale 20

A FINE performance by Wharfedale saw them secure a 20-13 away win against an in-form Huddersfield team.

The Greens travelled to Lockwood Park and had to make two forced changes, bringing Matty Houghton and Phil Woodhead in to the unaccustomed positions of hooker and full back, respectively.

Wharfedale, playing into the sun and up the slope, started well choosing to run the ball whilst Huddersfield favoured kicking for territory.

In the fourth minute, Wharfedale were penalised for holding and Chris Johnson slotted the resulting penalty.

Wharfedale continued to dominate possession and in the 15th minute a flowing move to the left gave Phil Woodhead space to throw a sublime dummy and race 40 yards to the line. Jack Blakeney-Edwards converted from a difficult angle to make the score 7-3.

From the kick-off and following some untidy play, Nick Sharpe of Huddersfield was red carded for a high tackle.

The next 10 minutes saw some resolute defence from Huddersfield against some free-flowing rugby from Wharfedale until a high tackle from Reece Ward and some afters from Alex Battye gave them both yellow cards.

Sustained pressure from Wharfedale eventually was rewarded with a penalty by Blakeney-Edwards making the half-time score 10-3.

Huddersfield started the second half with great determination and a flowing move across the line to the right was rewarded with an overlap and try for Elliot Hodgson, and Johnson kicked a difficult conversion to make the score all square at 10-10.

In the 56 minute, Wharfedale were awarded a penalty from a scrum and Blakeney-Edwards duly converted to make it 13-10.

Back came Huddersfield, who went through the phases to make space for Johnson to drop a goal in the 62nd minute, tying the score at 13-13.

Tense and thrilling rugby ensued, as Huddersfield defended for their lives while Wharfedale attacked relentlessly.

In the 74th minute, the ball was spun out to the right and Ralph Wellock feigned to go on the outside, but chose a great line on the inside to score a superb try. Blakeney-Edwards slotted the conversion to put Dale up 20-13.

That left a nail-biting five minutes for Wharfedale to run down the clock, which they did with great skill by keeping possession.

This was a fine performance by Wharfedale, but Huddersfield put up a great fight with 14 men and justified their lofty position in the league.

Wharfedale's scrum and line-out were solid, and great credit to Houghton playing hooker for finding his man at the line-out.

It is hard to pick out individuals, as there was Wellock's excellent try, the two centres Harry Bullough and Will Edwards who combined well, the pack were dominant led by the experienced Rob Baldwin, but my man of the match was the “little general” Phil Woodhead, who marshalled his troops in attack and defence, and was instrumental in the last five minutes of pick and drive to see the game out for a win.