WHARFEDALE lost 21-20 to Tynedale in a close and enthralling game of rugby on Saturday.

A close encounter of the second kind was even closer than the first match between the sides at the Avenue. The lead switched quite a few times and either side could have emerged as winners.

The home side took an early lead. Wharfedale’s kick-off was sent into Tyne’s in-goal area and touched down. This meant the home side being awarded a scrum on half-way.

Tynedale soon had an attacking five-metre line-out and efficiently drove over the line with Louis Frankland touching down. Jake Rodgers converted.

Kicks were exchanged after the restart and Dale pressed into Tyne’s 22 but a knock-on gave Tynedale a scrum. The Wharfedale scrum drove powerfully and were rewarded with a penalty. Up stepped Tom Davidson to get the visitors on the scoreboard.

Wharfedale’s good play seemed to have come to a stop when Rob Baldwin was yellow carded but this did not stop the Greens from being competitive and this enterprise was rewarded with a penalty from 36 metres. Davidson was again accurate to reduce the deficit to one point. Minutes later he had another long-distance shot from 50+ metres that just slipped past the post.

Baldwin then returned, and after surviving a brief Tynedale incursion into their territory they were again deep into home territory, and an attacking scrum in the 22. Sam Gaudie burst clear from the set piece and seemed to be stopped just short of the line. The wily scrum-half still managed to off-load to Rhys Green who was up in support and the second row touched down under the posts to take Wharfedale into the lead. Davidson had no problems from the tee to give the visitors a 13-7 lead at half time.

Craven Herald: Rhys Green crosses whitewash to score a try for the GreensRhys Green crosses whitewash to score a try for the Greens (Image: Ro Burridge)

The second half started with attacks from both sides. James Coulton broke through but couldn’t get his off-load away to carry the attack forward. Tynedale then built pressure on Wharfedale’s line and eventually had a good attacking line-out. A good catch and drive led to a second try for Frankland and Rodgers converted. Tynedale was back in front 14-13.

Again, the visitors got back into the game. They were helped by the roars from Wharfedale’s Under-14s who were on tour in the area. Another Oscar Canny break led to nothing but Dale were growing in stature.

From a line-out just outside Tyne’s 22 the ball was moved right. Coulton broke through the defence; this time support was on hand. Baldwin received the off-load, took on the defence and then delivered the scoring pass to Gaudie. A simple conversion for Davidson and Wharfedale back in the lead at 20-14.

Dale seemed to have settled after the restart and Louis Verity won a turn-over penalty which should have settled the defence. The line-out had been working well all afternoon with accurate throwing by Matt Beesley. But the referee called a not-straight and Tynedale had a scrum on Wharfedale’s 10-metre line. The officials allowed their line-out and the ball was well moved by their backs. Five phases later, the forwards took over and Chris Wearmouth squeezed over to score. Another Rodgers conversion and Tynedale back in the lead 21-20.

A frantic last few minutes followed but the visitors could not capitalise and get close enough to win the game and had to settle for a losing bonus point.

After the match club skipper, George Hedgley, said: “This was a sterling effort by Wharfedale. We had a lot of lads out of position, most notably Joe Altham at hooker and Matt Beesley throwing in at the line-out. It came down to the rub of the green from the ref, and some minor positioning errors from some players which allowed Tynedale to add pressure from their kicking game. We also may have been guilty of kicking a little too much where we could have possibly moved the ball around for a couple of phases. In the en,d we just left it too late.”