Wharfedale 11

Caldy 16

AN exciting game of rugby ended with Caldy taking four points back to the Wirral following this National League Two North clash.

The visitors knew they were in a tough match as Wharfedale competed strongly for the full 80 minutes.

No tries in the first half but Caldy went in at half time leading 6-3. Caldy got the first penalty when Dale charged in at the side of a ruck to clear out, Ben Jones slotted the kick.

Jack Blakeney-Edwards responded minutes later to level the score. Jones gave the visitors the lead with another shot from 35 metres.

Caldy came out for the second half and played with more purpose. A turn over resulted in early possession in Dale’s 22 and a penalty followed. A quick tap led to a try for star man Cameron Davies. The conversion was missed but Caldy extended the lead to eight points.

Dale had a penalty at the restart for a touch of afters after the try had been scored and the home side worked hard at gaining a territorial advantage.

A yellow card to Caldy’s Edward Stagg then gave them numerical advantage as well. Blakeney-Edwards soon cut the lead to five points with a penalty.

Dale then attacked from the re-start and a great kick and chase resulted in Wharfedale possession in Caldy’s 22. George Hedgley then burst from the ruck to score. The conversion was missed leaving the scores level.

Caldy got their rolling maul going and soon had Dale pinned in their 22. A yellow card to Dale’s George Hedgley saw the home defence depleted.

Caldy opted for a scrum from the penalty award and pushed Dale back for Josiah Dickenson to score. No conversion left Caldy with a 5-point lead.

The match ended with a long-range penalty attempt by Caldy. If successful, it would have denied Dale a losing bonus point. The attempt went close but to nearly everyone’s relief just missed.

Caldy won the battle up front with a much heavier pack. This was certainly true in the second half when they got their rolling maul working with great effect.

The visitors were effective at managing the break down, they had good defence and discipline. Dale played some good entertaining rugby.

Jon Feeley, Wharfedale head coach, said after the game that “but for a few key moments in the second half, this was a game that could have gone our way.

"We matched them physically and played the better rugby, but their game management saw them home. We’ll learn from that.

"I am very proud of our effort and the manner in which we conducted ourselves."

Matt Cairns, Caldy head coach, commented after the game: “We were in a tough game played in front of a loud crowd.

"We knew that Wharfedale would provide us with a challenge and they did.

"I was proud that our lads eeked out a win at the end."

He added he had “challenged the forwards at half time to perform” and was “pleased with the way they controlled the maul and the scrum”.

Many of the faithful would have taken a bonus point at 10am on Saturday, but this is Wharfedale.

Many sides have come to the Avenue down the years with long winning streaks and enormous reputations only to find the going too tough to handle.

Caldy came with a reputation of fast, open running and scoring tries.

They seemed to be wary of moving the ball around too much and, a la South Africa at the World Cup, seemed content to kick the ball downfield.

The Green Machine showed a different brand of rugby to how they played at Chester.

There was more cohesion in their play; more structure and a lot less mistakes.

The scrum may have struggled but the lineout purred at 100 per cent, plus stealing the odd Caldy ball as well.

The faithful urged the team on, realising that this was a game that Dale could win.

Wharfedale: Hamilton, Prell, Canny (Blackwell 70), Moore, Cicognini, Edwards, Gaudie (Macnab 70), Beesley (Patchett 41), Stockdale, Hirst (Dickinson 67), Baldwin, Hedgley, Houghton, Speres, Burridge. Sub not used: Simon Borrill