AFTER two consecutive defeats in the National 2 North, Wharfedale returned to winning ways by beating higher placed opposition in Stourbridge.

It was losses to Chester and Hinkley that may have lead supporters to think their side’s season was creeping towards a dangerous finish. However, this home victory suggests that a mid-table finish could be on the cards.

The hosts delighted their fans as they played with great passion and commitment to win a very entertaining game.

Wharfedale kicked off up the slope and had all the early possession but a Dan Rundle break resulted in a penalty. From the resulting lineout there were several passages of play before Callum Morris crossed the line to put the visitors in front – the conversion was missed.

Back came Wharfedale with good handling leading to a Jack Blakeney- Edwards try under the posts. He then added the extras to make the score 7-5.

The Greens were forced into sustaining extreme pressure from the Stourbridge forwards and succumbed to some missed tackles allowing Afeafe Haisila to cross the whitewash to eventually give his side a five-point lead.

The game was very even before Wharfedale found some extra urgency to exert territorial pressure which resulted in a successful driving maul from a lineout. Chris Jackson crashed over for the try, Blakeney-Edwards added the extras.

From the restart, indecision by the home side allowed the ball to run loose, and in their anxiety to retrieve, they gave away a penalty which Haisila converted to make it 14-15 at the break.

Wharfedale came out in the second half with real intent and after only four minutes in, a superb cross field kick from Blakeney-Edwards was gathered by Oliver Cicognini who touched down in the corner - the conversion was missed.

What followed was a “white knuckle ride” for the 400 supporters as neither side could impose themselves but Jon Feeley’s men hung on to record the win.

The Stourbridge front row, whose weight was impressive, were no match for the skill and technique of the Wharfedale pack who won the scrum battle.

The skill and vision of Blakeney-Edwards cross field kick to Cicognini for the decisive score was textbook rugby at its best.

On a day when other teams around Wharfedale in the league won, this was a vital 4 points which sees the Green Machine stay in ninth position, but only seven points separate five teams from the drop zone.