BRIGHT sunshine greeted both Lymm and Wharfedale to Cheshire for the opening match of the season on Saturday.

There was a lot of sweat out on the pitch, but thankfully no tears as Dale scored a converted try in the 80th minute to secure a narrow 22-21 victory.

The visitors should have done enough to win the game before then.

A push over try from a scrum ended only with a penalty, while a Gaudie try was not allowed, as by the time the referee came calling, the ball was off the ground and three penalty shots went begging.

Lymm started well and were helped by Dale again conceding penalties. In this early period the count was six to one in favour of the hosts. This gave Lymm a good territorial advantage and they found themselves 11- 5 ahead after 26 minutes.

Cormac Nolan landed a kick from the tee from 42 metres out and James Pitcher scored an unconverted try after a clever line-out move caught Dale napping. Nolan added another penalty.

Dale did counter with an unconverted try of their own in this period when their solitary penalty led to an attacking five-metre line-out. The Green Machine successfully engineered a catch and drive with Jack Pinder touching down.

Dale stepped up a gear and moved into the lead with a James Coulton converted try and a penalty however slack defence allowed the Cheshire brigade to end the half in front with a converted try by Callum Morris.

The away side then had the lion’s share of territory and possession but could not add to their tally. It was Lymm who added another three points to extend their lead.

They held that lead until the 80th minute when Louis Verity broke through the line carrying two defenders with him to score. Davidson had the opportunity to steal victory right at the death, and he didn’t pass up the opportunity to place his kick straight over the posts.

All in all, the four points justifiably went to the visitors and a first victory of the season could be celebrated in the glorious Cheshire sunshine.

Standout performances for Dale came from Sam Gaudie and Ben Wright, who were probably the away side’s main threats on the day, but all the squad contributed in the searing heat.

Up next for Wharfedale is a first home game of the season on Saturday, as they welcome South Yorkshire outfit Rotherham to town, with the game getting underway at 3pm.

It was confirmed recently that George Hedgley would be starting a third consecutive campaign as club captain and he had this to say: “I am really pleased to be named captain again for the forthcoming season. We’ve got a side with some incredible young talent coming through; hopefully we can utilise that with some of our more experienced heads to produce top quality performances throughout the season."

Director of Rugby, Simon Verbickas, commented: “George Hedgley has taken up the mantle of captaincy at Wharfedale Rugby Club with an air of leadership and determination and will continue to do so this season. Hedgley's appointment as captain comes as no surprise to those familiar with his exceptional skills and unwavering commitment. As the club looks to forge ahead in its endeavors, Hedgley's experience and inspirational presence are sure to guide the team to new heights and into a promising era of success."