WHARFEDALE secured a 4th consecutive league victory at home on Saturday, as they saw off rivals Otley in a tense encounter.

The visitors did perform strongly and were firmly in the contest until deep into the second half, however a late rally from Dale saw them claim a bonus point win and keep Otley’s tally to a solitary try.

The home side announced their intent from the kick-off, and a mixture of strong carrying from the forwards and good handling from the backs helped to move the ball deep into Otley territory.

The Green Machine then won a scrum penalty, and the ball was pushed into Otley’s 22. Dale secured the ball from the line-out and two phases later they moved the ball down the line for Oscar Canny to score an unconverted try; again, the forwards and backs combining superbly to make progress.

Jake Armstrong was made Star Man in the Rugby Paper and was given a presentation by sponsors Moore Family Law.

The ultra-modest Armstrong said that he had done “nothing” for 60 minutes apart from scoring a try later on in the fixture. Maybe, he forgot the opening phases where he led the charge with a strong carry early on, won the penalty at the scrum and caused Otley’s loose head to fold; finally, he secured the ball at the resulting line-out.

Dale worked their way downfield again and a penalty try could have been secured after some clever footwork from Oscar Canny had forced a defender to infringe with the try line begging. Referee, Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts, judged there was some cover and only issued a yellow card.

Four penalties later another yellow card was issued, and Otley were reduced to 13 for a while but they battled hard to keep Wharfedale out. It is to the visitor’s credit that they had a couple of shots at goal during this period, before being back up to full strength; the resistance eventually broke and after battering the visitor’s line for 15 phases, Dale spread the ball right for Robbie Davidson to touch down. Sam Gaudie added the extras from the touchline.

Sam Waddington got Otley’s only try after they had a rare visit into the Wharfdale 22. After nine strong phases of play, he took a crash ball and went over the whitewash. 12-7 at oranges.

The Green Machine broke the Otley resistance when good off-loading saw them advance to the visitor’s 22.

Armstrong received the ball and set off on a rollicking run, carrying two defenders with him, to score a fantastic try. The move was started from a ruck, and a quick play the ball found acting stand-off Rob Baldwin, who played the pre-assist to Stockton ahead of the ball being moved on to Armstrong for a try. Robbie Davidson landed an excellent conversion from wide left.

Baldwin still had work to do, soon after the restart. He turned the ball over and set off on a typical powerful run. The ball was then moved through the hands of Oli Cicognini and Louis Verity; Canny, who ran an intelligent line drawing the defence, played in Ryan Hodgson to touchdown.

Tempers spilled over briefly when the excellent Oliver Riddiough was body checked after chipping the ball ahead; Gavin Stead earned a spell in the sinbin. More penalties were given away as Dale mounted serious pressure on the Otley line. Eventually the ball was passed to a wide-open Hodgson who added his second for the last score.

Dale secured their 3rd spot in National 2 North with their 5th win out of six. Next week the action will be over in East Yorkshire as Dale travel to Hull Ionians.