IT was sweet revenge for Wharfedale on Saturday as they prevented Rotherham from completing an unlikely double over them in South Yorkshire on Saturday.

Rotherham won their first ever match at the Avenue early this season, however, Dale managed to put their recent miseries behind them as they ran out 27-20 winners at Clifton Lane.

Both teams were forced to make changes as this was technically a “free weekend” and quite a few players on both sides had taken the opportunity to book holidays. This gave a chance for players to step up and show their credentials. The Dale players did not disappoint. Captain for the day, Rob Baldwin, led by example and exhorted and encouraged the best out of the team.

The visitors started strongly and could have opened the scoring when Eliot Stockton went over the whitewash, sadly the referee did not see the grounding, so it was brought back for a Wharfedale penalty. Tom Davidson’s shot at goal slipped past the post.

Dale were finding their groove and went through seven phases in Rotherham’s 22 before losing the ball. The Titans broke out of defence and nearly scored but could not reach the line. Minutes later a cross-kick was re-collected by Rotherham and Richard Heyes touched down for an unconverted try.

Dale finished off the first half strongly, playing some efficient and accurate rugby. Davidson nailed two penalties which took the away side into the lead. Rotherham did have the ball during this period but could not make any impact on Dale’s defence. This was epitomised by the passage of play when they had a scrum on Dale’s ten metre line and went through 11 phases without making progress and ended up kicking the ball into Dale’s 22.

The ball was marked and then run out by Oscar Canny. His speed and ability took him deep into the opposition’s half. Rhys Green was in support and had the speed to beat the cover and touch down. Davidson added the extras.

The Titans did mount a strong assault on Dale’s line, but the Green Machine did not give way and the 1st half ended with the visitors leading by eight points.

The second half started with Wharfedale gifting penalties to the hosts. Hayes converted one to close the gap. Wharfedale soon sparkled again when a break was made by Henry Macnab, Josh Walters took the attack forward before effecting an amazing off-load back to Macnab who ran to the whitewash for a spectacular try. Davidson was again successful from the tee.

Rotherham’s main success was from the driving maul, and this led to their second try after 11 phases in Dale’s 22. The try was scored by Luckas Sableman-Blue and converted by Hayes.

Dale’s willingness to run the ball was paying dividends. An attempted touch kick from a penalty by Rotherham did not find touch and Dale attacked from deep. Oscar Canny ran a defence splitting line and fed Macnab who grabbed his second try. Davidson converted to give Dale a solid 12-point lead.

A final catch and drive from an attacking line-out resulted in a third try for Rotherham, scored by Aydan Godden. Hayes missed the conversion but a tense few minutes were left before Wharfedale could celebrate gaining four points- and they hung on to victory.