WITH both Wharfedale and Sheffield Tigers comfortably safe from relegation, Saturday’s game between the two sides should have been a game of free-flowing and exciting rugby, but it was anything but that.

Both sides were guilty of too many handling errors while the fixture struggled to gather real pace and momentum throughout, as the visiting Tigers edged the scoreline 10-9.

Rob Baldwin, who made his 300th start for Wharfedale on Saturday, commented: “It was a tough one to take today. We asked the boys to put a shift in but we just came up a bit short. We stayed in the fight, but we made too many mistakes.”

“You do want to be winning games but on a personal note, I thoroughly enjoy playing especially with this group of lads. I could have packed in 30 games ago but it’s this group of lads that I want to be with; they are a fun set of guys and nice to be around. They respond well to coaching and there are massive things to come from the group and it will be great to watch them progress. Here’s to the next 100.”

Sheffield’s Director of Rugby, Jamie Broadley, said after the game: “I would struggle to say that the best side won as on that performance 0 – 0 would have been a fair result. It was probably the most ill-disciplined and error strewn game that both sides have played all year. I was pleased that we came out on the right side of the scoreline. We had scrum dominance and our pack gave us a really good platform. We were not as sharp as we were last week; I expected a bit of a hangover after a good win against one of the top three sides.”

Baldwin produced one of the brighter moments when, after ten minutes he followed up a Henry Macnab kick which the Tigers’ defence did not gather. Baldwin scooped up the ball on the half-way line and charged up to the 22. With no support close enough he went to ground and recycled the ball. Three phases later the attack petered out 5 metres short of the try line. Moments later another kick was followed up by Sam Smith Jnr and a good jackal led to a penalty. Dale went for the corner but, as was the story of the afternoon for both sides, the line-out misfired and Tigers were cleared the danger.

Dale had spent a frustrating 15 minutes in the visitor’s half and their only reward was three points from the boot of Tom Davidson. The best moment of the match came next when a promising grubber by Tigers was collected by Louis Verity in Dale`s 22 and he looked under pressure. He launched the ball down the line and the ball bounce and rolled on and went into touch inside Tigers’ 22 for a 50 – 22. Dale’s line-out worked but the prepared play was messed up and Tigers had the scrum.

A quick tap penalty from the visitors put pressure on Dale’s line and a good dummy from scrum half Ryan Holmes created space for him to dart over for a try. Mark Ireland converted.

Davidson closed the gap with another penalty two minutes before half time. There was still time for another promising Dale attack but the possible scoring pass went harmlessly into touch.

The only scores in the second half were a penalty apiece. Ireland for Tigers and Tom Mann for Dale.