WHARFEDALE gave a great account of themselves but fell just short at home to high-flyers Sedgley Park on Saturday in a 15-6 defeat.

Dale came into the fixture on the back of three consecutive league defeats, and although they made it four consecutive losses on Saturday, the hosts showed a great deal of fight, commitment and bravery to take the game to Sedgley.

The home side played down the slope in the first half and started brightly, with Tom Mann falling just short with a penalty from the halfway line. Young Ryan Hodgson making his seasonal debut after injury, produced a wonderful try-saving tackle, however, Sedgley Park continued to push for the opener and they got it through Tane Bentley who collected the ball out wide following a line out situation to put the visitors ahead.

Mann kicked a penalty for Wharfedale on 28 minutes after good forward pressure led by Josh Burridge and Ryan Carlson, both of whom were prominent in a strong Dales forward effort, no mean feat against an impressive Sedgley pack.

A handling error 30 yards out by a Wharfedale forward led to what turned out to be a crucial try right on half time by Rhys Harrison. From wide out the conversion was missed; 10-3 was the half time score.

At the start of the second half Dale battled heroically to an onslaught of Sedgley attacks, and they then bounced back with promise, and were awarded a penalty on 30 minutes which Mann duly dispatched for 10-6.

A Prell burst supported by the rampant Carlson and by Cicognini came to nothing and other promising opportunities were wasted through a lack of calmness at vital moments. A yellow card against Wharfedale and several penalty incidents led to a conclusive try by the impressive scrum half Jacob Tansey.

A third chance to add two points was missed by Steve Collins. The last minutes showed Wharfedale at their best with a wave of attacks held at bay by an impressive rear-guard action, proving why Sedgley Park are riding high in the Division.

The nearest the home side came to a score was when Kaup-Samuels just failed to get over in the corner in injury time.

As far as Wharfedale is concerned, there is much cause for optimism as young players of quality are coming through such as Ryan Hodgson, Henry McNab and Louis Verity, a number of whom have been off due to injury, while Dale centre James Coulton is close to returning from injury.

In other news, the Foresters went on to win 29-6, scoring five tries and converting two of them at Sandal.

On what could only be described as one of the the steepest pitches in Yorkshire, Foresters who included the returning pair of Louis Verity and Henry McNab, were too strong and put on a scintillating attacking display to dispatch their league rivals.

Dale started the brighter out of the two sides and their pressure was rewarded, as George Altham scored out wide for the first of his two first half efforts.

Moments of indiscipline saw Sandal push forward and they kicked two penalties in response. However, Verity was hand to score and convert his own try.

The second half wasn’t the runaway game that might have been expected, but hard-running from centre Jonny Moore finished the scoring for a converted try.

Flyde report from last weekend:

On a day when the elements were kind for rugby, Wharfedale travelled to Fylde to face the league leaders.

Early warning signs were there when only a last ditch tackle by Josh Prell saved a break away try.

After sustained pressure, Fylde were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute which Gregory Smith converted to open the scoring.

Wharfedale were struggling to gain possession and after multiple phases, slick ball handling, Tristan Lynch scored under the posts, Gregory Smith adding the extras

In a passage of play that Wharfedale did exert pressure and ball retention they were awarded a penalty that Tom Mann converted to make the score 10-3.

Fylde were really dominating possession and from a 5m lineout Scott Rawlings rumbled over for a try in the corner which Gregory Smith converted making the half time score 17-3

The second half was dominated by Fylde who ran in tries by Jordan Dorrington, Oliver Parkinson, Benjamin Turner and Adam Lanigan, three of which were converted by Gregory Smith making the final score 43-3.

The large crowd were entertained by a Fylde side full of running rugby at speed, fine ball control and passing but above all a high level of fitness.

Wharfedale can hold there heads up high as although out played for large periods of the game never gave up and tackled their hearts out. The Wharfedale travelling supporters appreciated the effort the whole squad made but there was notable contributions from Matthew Beesley, George Hedley, Ryan Carlson (20 minute cameo from Rob Baldwin) and Oliver Cicognini.

After the match, Coach Simon Verbickas commented

“ Fair play to Fylde today they deserved the win and are definitely the best team we have played so far this season. They played the sort of rugby that I would like us to be able to produce and that we are capable of but just not today. 

Even though we didn’t win we will have learnt from today’s game and will get back to training and continue to work on those. Proud of the lads for never giving up and playing to the final whistle. Thanks also to the travelling supporters for making the effort to come over to support the team.”