WHARFEDALE’S director of rugby Simon Verbickas was a mixture of pride and frustration after his team again suffered a one-point defeat to derby rivals Otley.

Beaten 28-27 by a Clark Wells try four minutes from time at The Avenue in December, the Green Machine went down 25-24 to a last-minute Callum Irvine penalty in the return National League Two North fixture at Cross Green last Saturday.

Verbickas said: “I think that we were the best team on the park, I think that we played the best rugby, didn’t get the rub of the green and ended up on the wrong side of a one-point game.

“We like to play rugby – what we call coast-to-coast – but we can play a short game, a pick-and-go game or a mauling game if we need to.

“I like to watch entertaining rugby and people pay to watch entertaining rugby, and hopefully people were entertained today.”

Verbickas said of the forward battle: “Our pack was smaller than theirs but we outworked them and needed to atone as a whole team for last week’s defeat (at home to Sheffield Tigers) and I could not be prouder of the players.

“Our lads tried their hardest and we were the far superior team on the day.

“The turning point was the penalty count – the difference was more than double figures – but the yellow card didn’t help near the end for a deliberate knock-on against Matt Beesley when he was making a tackle.”

That 72nd-minute sin-binning was the most contentious decision by referee Daniel Woods, and Verbickas added: “I cannot fault our fly half Louis Verity, who mas making his debut.

“I thought that he was superb, and our short kick-offs worked thanks to good chases by Oscar Canny and Rhys Green, who made it difficult for Otley, and we took back a couple of our kick-offs.”

Ninth-placed Wharfedale have three matches left, starting at Sheffield on Saturday.

They host Chester on April 15 and finish off at Preston Grasshoppers on April 22.

Verbickas said: “Hopefully we are mathematically safe from relegation so we will continue to look at next season and give some players a chance who have worked incredibly hard, either in our first team or in our Foresters.”