WHARFEDALE fell to just their second defeat of the season on Saturday following a first half collapse at Hull Ionians.

Despite a 36-23 defeat, the result has seen them maintain their 3rd place spot in the National League 2 North Standings, although Ionians’ rivals, Hull sit only a point behind Dale in 4th after they defeated Billingham 40-24 at home on Saturday.

In East Yorkshire, Dale did well to somewhat recover after the interval following a below-par first-half display, which saw them go into the break at 26-6 behind.

As poor as the visitors were before the half-time whistle blew, Ionians were clinical and exploited every opportunity to extend their lead. Dale rallied in the second half and managed to score three tries, but it was too little too late.

Hull opened the scoring through some strong running, with the away side struggling to cope with the power of the host’s forward pack. George Mewburn touched down for an unconverted try.

With the visitors spilling the ball far too much Hull scored their second try with some more powerful running from the halfway line. Will Yates scoring and Lewis Minikin adding the extras.

Then came a bright passage of play for Dale. Oscar Canny set up good field position and the move was taken up to I’s line only for the scoring pass to go forward. Rob Baldwin was, amazingly, the man in support who would have taken the scoring pass.

The visitor continued to dominate possession and territory, but a long pass was telegraphed by Sam Pocklington who intercepted and ran 90 metres to touch down for a converted try.

Dale did get on the scoreboard with a penalty from Robbie Davidson. More sloppy play gave the home side possession in Dale’s half and again Hull took full advantage with a converted try by Sam Wilson. Wharfedale got another three points on the board and the half-time whistle blew.

Hull took the kick-off at the start of the second half, but another mistake gave them the lineout on halfway as the ball went into touch off a Wharfedale player from the clearance. More of the same from the hosts as they broke through and ended up with a fifth try converted by Minikin.

At last Dale had some better fortune and Canny broke away and ran in from halfway. Dale began to put some phases together and had an attacking line-out in I’s 22. A good catch and drive pinned the defence, and when the ball was moved left James Coulton crashed through to cross the whitewash. Davidson slotted the extras. Minikin added another penalty for Hull before Rhys Green scored Dale’s third try to end the match at 36-23 in favour of Hull Ionians.

Next up for Wharfedale is a home game with Ionians’ neighbours, Hull on Saturday November 4, with the game getting underway at 2pm.