ANOTHER enthralling game of rugby was played out at the Avenue on Saturday, and it was Wharfedale who edged Chester by a winning margin of two tries.

The hosts picked up from where they left off at Sheffield last week and raced into a 19-point lead, and despite a late Chester rally, it was the Green Machine who eventually finished as worthy winners.

The home side dominated the early stages of the contest and found themselves on the board after only four phases of play, gaining a penalty advantage for a high tackle, before a sublime Louis Verity pass saw Madison Hunting break through. He gave the scoring pass to Rhys Green and Tom Mann added the extras.

Chester’s restart was taken gratefully by Dale and a high kick from Henry Macnab was followed up by Verity who forced a knock-on.

The hosts won the scrum and Macnab sent a kick into Chester’s 22 before Sam Gaudie followed up and forced the Chester full-back, who had caught the ball, into touch. Wharfedale, in relentless fashion, came forward again from the line-out and this time the ball was spread left and, with another penalty advantage, Oscar Canny got close to the line. Then with the defence napping Macnab popped down the blind-side for an unconverted try.

A Yellow Card was issued to Chester’s Ben Ivory after he hacked down Oscar Canny, and the hosts made no mistake in exploiting their extra man. The third try came from another Verity pass which allowed Josh Walters to run for the line. Mann was accurate from the tee.

Indiscipline by Dale saw Chester get a foothold in the game and an attacking line-out. Chester went through 21 phases in Dale’s 22, the only reward was a Yellow Card to Dale’s Simon Borrill for a hick tackle. Eventually the visitors spread the ball right for an unconverted try by Gethin Long.

Mann answered with a penalty straight from the restart after another trademark Hunting jackal. More penalties against the home side kept Dale in their half. Another series of forward moves from Chester enabled them, eventually, to score a second unconverted try by Liam Reeve to leave the score at 22-10 to Wharfedale at the break.

Wharfedale made the game secure with second half tries coming from Ryan Carlson and Ryan Hodgson. Mann converted the last one to give Dale a 39 – 10 lead.

There was a late fightback from the away side but it was too little, too late as the Green Machine claimed an impressive 39-22 victory.

Man of the Match, Tom Mann, commented after the game: “It was a great game today to finish off my long-playing career with Wharfedale; playing in the sun and getting a five-point win. It’s the end of playing in a green shirt for me – something I’ve been doing since I was 5 years old, and I’ve been here at this great club ever since. I’m 24 now and work commitments and a move to Barnard Castle mean my time here is done. Hopefully the move to a new job works out for me and I hope Dale keep pushing on. So, that’s the end of it. Cheers.”

Wharfedale travel to Lancashire on Saturday for their last game of the season. Preston, like Wharfedale, enjoy playing an open style of rugby on their 4G pitch so it should be another entertaining game of rugby. Kick-off is at 3pm.