REPORT BY: John Clark

WHARFEDALE returned to winning ways, just, as they held on to the narrowest of victories against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Their West Yorkshire visitors fought right to the death and nearly gave the hosts a late scare, but Dale held on to a 32-31 victory.

Wharfedale struggled to gain territorial advantage in the opening phases of the game, but they soon would make their mark, as they launched a devastating counter attack from inside their 22. This was to be a feature of the match with Oscar Canny in particular showing what a dangerous runner he can be.

The result of his good work, after Gaudie and Verity had set Dale away, was a penalty which Tom Davidson duly converted. Runs from Burridge and Cicognini followed and a penalty to touch put the Greens in the ascendency again. ‘Field conceded another penalty, but Davidson’s attempt faded just wide. Very quickly though, Verity set Canny through to score on the right after a chip ahead and regather. Davidson added the extras.

Only five minutes later, the ball was then played from left to right with full back Verity supplying Canny once more to cross again out wide. Davidson converted with a fine kick to put the hosts 17-0 up after only 20 minutes of play.

The pressure continued and eventually the home team would be over again, with Carlson, after great combination work by Burridge, Gaudie and Canny, adding a try of his own. The attempted conversion just drifted right, and Dale could breathe a little after going 22-0 up.

Huddersfield had a period of sustained pressure and, despite doughty defence by the Greens, they scored out wide through Kian Stewart. Will Milner converted with aplomb and he reduced the deficit to 22-7 shortly before the half-time whistle blew.

Sloppiness started to creep into Dale’s performance in the second half started and they were guilty of conceding too many penalties. Field’s Milner decided to kick for goal when within range and this reduced the deficit to 22-10. The penalty count against Wharfedale continued and Rob Davidson received a technical yellow card on 60 minutes.

The visitors took advantage, reducing their deficit to five points after a converted try by Finn Stewart. Substitute scrum half Henry MacNab eased the concerns of the home faithful when scoring two minutes after coming on to the field. This followed a scintillating move on the right-hand side. Tom Davidson kicked his third conversion followed by a successful penalty to add to his earlier penalty goal, thereby out scoring Will Milner by one point.

Those points proved crucial as in the final five minutes Huddersfield added two more converted tries by Ed Barber and Liam Stapely to bring the full-time score to 32-31 in favour of the hosts.

The whistle blew to signal the end of another fantastic contest between two strong sides. The result leaves Wharfedale positioned in eighth, while Huddersfield remain in 11th place with six games of the season left.

It’s a trip to South Yorkshire for Wharfedale on Saturday as they head there to take on Sheffield, the side two places below Dale.