A SUPERB display of fast flowing rugby saw Wharfedale travelling back up the M1 with five deserved points.

The Green Machine may have stolen victory at the death in the reverse fixture with Sheffield, but this was a totally different story. The South Yorkshire outfit had a brief spell of control at either side of half time, where they managed to score two tries, but the majority of the contest was dominated by Dale.

Early on, handling errors cost the hosts and the visitors were on hand to take full advantage. Sheffield had a scrum on their 22, which they won and sent a kick down field. The ball was run back, and Dale went through 12 phases before Henry Macnab crossed for an unconverted try.

It got worse for Sheffield from the restart as they put the ball straight into touch for a Wharfedale scrum. From this, six phases later, a break by Louis Verity was finished off by Tom Mann who also added the extras.

The Wharfedale defence was resolute, and this showed when the home side went through 15 phases without gaining ground. Sheffield’s best passage of play came just before half-time when they ventured into Dale’s 22. A deliberate knock-on from George Altham saw Dale reduced to 14. Sheffield opted for a scrum and sustained pressure led to a try from Eliot Fisher which he also converted.

The second half started with some more enterprising play from Sheffield which saw them with an attacking line-out in Dale’s 22. Their big pack won the ball and drove forward, the ball was then spread wide and Chris Hooper scored in the corner. No conversion was added meaning the scores were tied at 12-12.

Verity broke the deadlock with another good run and his offload saw Sam Dickinson with the ball. He rounded the fullback and touched down. Mann added the extras to send the visitors into a well-deserved lead. From the restart the home side were soon pinned back again. Dale attacked and Oscar Canny chipped over the defence, collected the ball and ran in for a bonus point try. Mann’s conversion took the score to 26-12 in favour of the away side.

The rest of the fixture was well dominated by the Green Machine, as they looked to run away with the victory.

Sam Gaudie crossed the line but the try was disallowed for a forward pass. Minutes later Wharfedale had Sheffield on the rack again and after ten phases in the home 22 Josh Walters added Dale’s fifth try. Mann missed from the tee but minutes later converted Gaudie’s effort when he picked up a loose ball and ran in from the 22.

Wharfedale stand-in skipper, Oli Cicognini, said after the game: “It was a great pleasure and honour to lead this set of lads out today. From the first minute I thought the intensity and drive was excellent. We were sensible with our exits and when we got in the right position on the field we opened up and spread the ball wide.

“The lads were focused and sharp in all areas of play and I thought our attacking play was phenomenal. The guys who made their debuts and played out of position stood up and made a great impression today. The work rate of all players was amazing; some of them could barely walk after the match; this showed the amount of effort which they were prepared to put into the Green Shirt. This made my life as captain a lot easier. Having two class scrum halves on the pitch led to us getting quick ball all the time which enabled us to dominate large parts of the match. I was extremely proud of how we played for the last half an hour, and this win sets us up for the last two matches against Chester and Preston.”