WHARFEDALE can be proud after battling heroically in their narrow defeat at league leaders Leeds Tykes on Saturday.

The team at the table’s summit had won their opening nine fixtures prior to the visit of Dale, and they were hoping to make it the perfect-ten. However, the away side certainly made them work for the points with the hosts just edging the contest by a scoreline of 20-8.

The present set of greyhounds in Leeds colours were off the blocks very quickly and in the first half they played some fast-flowing rugby; their speed at the break down and ball playing capabilities coming to the fore.

Dale fought hard, and how they fought to stay in touch. Leeds went through nearly 70 phases of play in the first half but only really broke the whitewash twice; the third try was fortuitous but still well taken.

After 12 minutes, New Zealander, Nuu Nuu, opened the scoring for Tykes after 12 phases of battering the Green line, which was also converted. Leeds’ kicking from hand was outstanding all night and was often responsible for pinning Dale deep in their own half. This included a long 50-22 which gave Tykes possession in Dale’s 22. It also led to more attacks and pressure on the Wharfedale try line. The fortuitous try came from a bad pass that seemed to be in no man’s land; a Wharfedale player was inches away from an interception but was beaten by the bounce. The ball was then picked up by Keiran Davies who strolled over for Leeds’ second try. No conversion.

Wharfedale started to get a little more possession and had forays into Leeds territory but were hampered by a Yellow Card to George Hedgley. Three phases after that the third try was scored in the right-hand corner flag, with winger Charlie Venable diving in. No conversion.

Dale finished the half strongly and had chances to go deep into Tyke’s 22 but the score stayed at 17-0 as the lads trooped off for the interval.

Dale kicked-off for the second half and immediately won a penalty. The three points were taken (Sam Gaudie landing the penalty kick) and the game was on. Leeds were now facing an even more resolute Dale team and found it hard to make progress. After the restart they went through 14 phases before Dale gave away a penalty. This indiscipline now marked their play, and their frustration at being held in check was beginning to show.

Leeds did have shot at goal in the 50th minute which gave them their only score in the second half. There seemed to be some confusion as what to do and they ended up having to take the kick as the tee was brought on.

Wharfedale now had their best period of the match and they camped on the Tykes’ try line. The sustained attack seemed to come to nothing as Leeds managed to hold the ball up and win a scrum. A melee ensued and the officials went into conference. The result was a yellow card to Adam Brown, the Leeds hooker. The penalty was a tap and go by Dale and seven phases took the ball close before spreading the ball left into the safe hands of Tom Darwin, who went over for an unconverted try.

There now followed an unrelenting attack by Leeds but Dale’s defence was magnificent and refused to let them pass. 33 phases were endured by the Green Machine; nearly all the first up tackles were made and if a Leeds player did break through, then the second line of defence held the line. This was the Green Machine at its magnificent best; a very strong and skilful team laid siege, but the Green Wall was solid. Green shirts seemed to have doubled in number and tackle after tackle was made.

The visiting supporters were jubilant, and they cheered their heroic team off the West Park pitch, with Leeds unable to secure a bonus point victory for the first time this season (20-8).