CONDITIONS were perfect as Wharfedale came agonisingly close to a statement victory at league leaders Sedgley Tigers on Saturday.

After early skirmishes by both sides, Sedgley won a scrum against the head and after several phases Daniel Maher crashed over for the first try which was converted by Stephen Collins, 7-0.

From a lineout in the 15th minute the ball was recycled from left to right for Oscar Canny to cross the whitewash for a try which Tom Davidson duly converted, 7-7.

In the 18th minute Matthew Beesley was given a yellow card for a no arm tackle off the ball, but this did not deter Wharfedale who held up a maul over the line and won a penalty from the lineout after some clever interplay between Oscar Canny and Sam Gaudie. The latter score a try, but the conversion missed which the visitors a 12-7 advantage.

Sedgley were starting to get some ascendency in the set piece and from a lineout their rolling maul saw Daniel Maher score a try which Stephen Collins converted t. make the score 14-12.

As the first half rolled on Sedgley were gaining increased momentum and some slick handling down the right flank at pace saw Sam Stelmaszek touch down , and Stephen Collins added the extras to put the hosts 21-12 up.

Wharfedale were having to dig deep but were awarded two penalties before half time which were both missed by Tom Davidson.

The second half started with Sedgley dominating possession and after many phases of play were rewarded with a try by Oliver Glasse which Stephen Collins converted,28-12.

Momentum was changing in favour for Wharfedale and some magic from Sam Gaudie made space for Sam Dickinson to crash over for a try, Tom Davidson adding the extras, 28-19.

The Sedgley set piece then rolled into action. A line-out on Wharfedale’s 22m line, resulted in Daniel Maher pouncing to increase the home side’s lead, and Collins converted one again, 35-19.

The last ten minutes of the contest produced some fantastic running rugby by the younger element of Wharfdale to such an extent that Louis Verity scored two excellent team tries, one converted by Tom Davidson to make the final score 35-31.

Simon Verbikas, Wharfedale's Director of Rugby, commented: “If you were a neutral at yesterday’s game you would have thought it was the top two teams playing for the league title. The score didn’t really tell the tale of the game.

“It was a well-deserved two points away at Sedgley Tigers who are unbeaten so far this season, so it was always going to be a tough game.

“We produced a spectacular game of running rugby, our tries were full of skill, pace and teamwork and I don’t think many sides would score five tries at Tigers’ home ground.

“I’m extremely proud to watch the lads keep trying to play all the way to the final minute of the game, and I’d like to have had another ten minutes to see what may have been.

“As a squad we are making excellent progress, but we have to become consistent with our performances to keep moving forward as a squad.”

Next up for Wharfedale is a home fixture against Huddersfield this Saturday.