AFTER a fortnight away from match action, Wharfedale returned in style to collect their third victory on the bounce by defeating Huddersfield 28-12 away from home on Saturday.

News of another win on the road filtered back to the Avenue, and although it wasn’t a thumping display, the visitors fought in tricky conditions to get the job done.

Wharfedale knew this was going to be tough, with a Field side determined not to allow another big score to be put up against them, which occurred against Sheffield in the previous game week.

The weather was a great leveller; driving rain and a strong cold wind should have made handling a nightmare, but both sides played well in the conditions and handling errors were scarce.

A good number of the Faithful made the journey to Lockwood Park; some hardy souls even watched the game out in the open whilst the other supporters sheltered in the stand or and clubhouse.

The visitors dominated the first 20 minutes, but the Field defence could not be broken. Relentless Wharfedale pressure was rebuffed by a mixture of strong tackling and mental resilience.

However, scrum-half Oli Riddiough broke the deadlock, as he barged through a tiny gap in the defence and dived over to open the scoring. Robbie Davidson added the conversion.

A couple of penalties gave the home side the chance to get into Dale’s 22, but they never threatened the line. Dale were soon back in Field’s 22 and had a scrum 12 metres out. A great drive by the Green Machine was followed by Rob Baldwin emerging and forcing his way over. Davidson added the extras to put Dale 14-0 ahead.

Field started the second half poorly. A knock-on gave the visitors good field position and a penalty soon followed. Davidson pushed the ball up for an attacking line-out. The ball was secured and three phases later the ball sent along the line and Cicognini claimed his sixth try of the season. Davidson was again successful from the tee.

Four penalties and a knock-on gave Huddersfield territory and possession and their first period of real pressure on the visitor’s line. Liam Parfitt eventually crashed over, and Ethan Myers added the conversion.

The conditions dominated the next period of play but gradually and patiently Dale started to control proceedings once again. The penalty count started to mount as Dale camped on Field’s five-metre line. Despite some efficient scrummaging by the Green Machine, it was only when the ball was spread down the line that Dale added the bonus-point try.

Rian Hamilton crossed the whitewash for his first try on his first appearance on his return to the fold, but no conversion was added.

The game finished with possibly the try of the day; for Dale a nightmare as they seemed to move apart like the Red Sea did for Moses and the Israelites; for Field a memory to cherish.

Huddersfield’s kick-off was returned up to prop Harry Whitfield standing nonchalantly on half-way. Off he set and with a combination of dancing feet, balletic body movement and, mostly, charging like a bull let loose on the streets of Pamplona, he grabbed a second try for Huddersfield.

One Sheffield team lost on Saturday to be replaced in fourth place by the other one. The gap however is now three points as Dale close out their 2023 League programme with a Christmas Derby against Rotherham.

Wharfedale Hodgson, Darwin, Cicognini, Coulton, Kaup-Samuels (Hamilton 36); Davidson, Riddiough; Altham, Wills (Collinson 58), Armstrong, Green, Hedgley (c), Beresford, Markey (Stockton 41), Baldwin (Pinder 52) Replacement not used Dickinson.