WHARFEDALE’S director of rugby has admitted that he is devastated for his players after a one-point derby defeat at home to Otley in National League Two North.

After a match that was full of endeavour and energy, Simon Verbickas said: “It was a much-improved performance from the week before (when Wharfedale lost 34-14 at Sheffield Tigers).

“To take Otley to the last play of the game, I am devastated for the players, for the work that they have put in all week.

“To come away with a 28-27 on the wrong side of the scoreboard does not reflect the effort that they have put in.

“But there are bits that we will work on where we have to put more pressure on the opposition in the last 20 minutes.

“Otley squeezed us towards the end. Did they deserve a win? No, I think that a draw was the right verdict, but what a game to watch.”

Verbickas added: “We need to improve our game management in those last 20 minutes - playing further away from our half and not letting them get back as easily.

“The lads worked so hard that their bodies were tired and Otley put us under pressure and did it well, and that showed where instead of individuals making tackles we had to tackle in twos and threes.

“That performance was closer to some of the performances that we put in at the start of the season and that is where we need to be aiming.

“That needs to be our benchmark for the next few weeks as we have Chester away and Harrogate at home, which are games that we need to target to get 10 points.”

Summing up Verbickas siad: “Everybody was superb across the park, including the lads who had come back. Their contribution was second to none and we were a completely different team to the one that lost to Sheffield Tigers the previous week.”

Wharfedale led 10-3 and 27-23 before losing to a try by centre Clark Wells with two minutes left in front of 510 spectators.

The Green Machine’s points came from an opportunist try by scrum half Sam Gaudie, a pushover try for flanker Matt Speres and a close-in try for replacement Ryan Hodgson, with fly half Tom Mann adding two penalties and three conversions.

Otley remain fourth, while Wharfedale stay eighth ahead of their visit to Chester on Saturday.