Hull 12

Wharfedale 9

TWO tries from one of Wharfedale’s old boys, Latu Makaafi, were enough to win a close hard-fought encounter on a bitter, windy day down at Hull in National Two North.

Wharfedale, playing with the wind, dominated territory and possession in the first half and the home side never got into Dale’s 22.

The Greens failed to take full advantage of this ascendancy and their two penalties, converted by Jack Blakeney-Edwards, were scant reward for their efforts.

Dale played manfully into the wind in the second half, but Hull pinned them back on more than one occasion by kicking with the wind into the opposition 22.

One such kick led to an attacking five-metre lineout for Hull. After three phases, the pack drove over, with Latu being awarded the unconverted score.

From the restart, Dale again worked the ball into Hull territory but two penalties later, they were back defending from their own five-metre line.

Hull won the line out and transferred the ball with Dale not contesting. The referee saw things differently and decided that a Wharfedale played had engaged and then broken off.

That meant he allowed Hull to quietly walk over Dale’s line for a try. Latu was again awarded the score and Simon Humberstone added the conversion.

The visitors, roared on by a good following, came back and good possession was rewarded with another three points from Blakeney-Edwards.

Dale defended with great vitality throughout, most noticeably in the second half, just after Blakeney-Edwards had closed the gap to three points with that aforementioned score.

A knock on from the restart gave Hull a scrum outside the visitors’ 22.

A scrum penalty followed and a bit of backchat meant Hull walked forwards 10 metres and the touch kick was sent into the corner.

The first catch and drive led to the ball being held up and an attacking five-metre scrum to Hull. A scrum penalty was then followed by another scrum.

Three phases later, Hull were again held up over the line and another attacking five-metre platform followed.

However, after a reset, the scrum penalty went to Wharfedale and gave them the chance to get away from the try line.

The last 10 minutes saw Dale trying to run everything out of their own 22. They did break out into Hull territory but Hull were allowed to get the ball and kick it dead to survive.

This was not a game of fast flowing open rugby, as the conditions were against an entertaining game.

The Hull forwards were bigger and full of experienced players but, apart from the one indisputable try, they were generally held.

Wharfedale head coach John Feeley said: “It was a close game from which we deserved better than the one point we returned with.

“The key turning points in the game did not go in our favour unfortunately, particularly our intelligent work to stop their driven lineout, which didn’t get the reward it deserved from the officials.

“I was also impressed with our discipline in the face of strong tackling from Hull. To come in at half-time holding the opposition to nil reflected how well we have improved our defence in the last few weeks.

“Our perseverance in attack in the last 20 going into the wind was superb and gives us a platform to build on moving into next week’s game.”