IN A gritty local derby, Wharfedale came away from their game with Harrogate as 21-11 winners on Saturday.

Dale started the game very brightly and the opening score came after only three minutes. A drop-out from under the Harrogate posts was run back by Matt Beesley into the visitor’s 22. Six phases later the ball was moved right, and Josh Prell touched down for an unconverted try.

After seeing off a dangerous scrum, Wharfedale then went through 22 phases against a stubborn Harrogate backline, however their stubbornness would be broken. The away side’s defence held strong but Dale’s scant reward was a yellow card to the visitor’s number eight, Harrison Walker, and three points from Tom Davidson.

More pressure was applied by the Greens and Harrogate could not get out of their own half. A clearance kick led to a quick line out by Owen Bullock. Dale attacked again down the left. A kick ahead by Louis Verity was followed up by Henry Macnab who showed great speed and agility in touching down for a try. Davidson hit the post with the difficult conversion, but the ball bounced back and not over. T’other Macnab, brother Rory, was yellow carded for checking Louis Verity after Verity had kicked ahead.

Harrogate did have a chance to get on the scoreboard when Josh Burridge gave away a penalty just after the restart. He was adjudged not to have rolled away at a maul. (Difficult with Mr. Brady holding on to his legs). Sam Fox’s 40 metre attempt was wide and the pattern of play soon resumed with Dale pressing in Harrogate territory. Dale should have scored more points during this period – they certainly had dominated territory and possession. Full credit to Harrogate for only allowing Wharfedale to add another Davidson penalty before half-time.

Dale could not maintain the same level of rugby in the second half. They were guilty of too many mistakes and giving penalties away to build momentum. The visitors gradually clawed their way back into the game and got on the scoreboard with two Rory Macnab penalties. The penalty count was large enough for Josh Burridge to be shown a yellow card for repeated team offences.

Five minutes later Rhys Green was also yellow carded. Harrogate made good use of possession and territory and narrowed the gap to five points with an unconverted try by Harrison Walker.

Dale then started another good period and built pressure in Gate’s 22. From a line-out just outside Harrogate’s 22 they went through eight phases before spreading the ball right. A long pass from Louis Verity was collected by Owen Bullock who crossed the whitewash in the corner for Dale’s third unconverted try.

After the game, Wharfedale Head Coach, Simon Verbickas said: “I don’t think any game between these two sides is a pretty game to watch, Harrogate are a tough team to play against. I think we showed great signs of what we have been trying to achieve over the season. We played some really attractive rugby but couldn’t always finish. If those last little offloads or grubber kicks had all gone according to plan the scoreline could have been very different. I am pleased with the lads as they backed up the win last week away at Rotherham with a good win at home.”