WHARFEDALE fell to their first defeat in four league fixtures, with hosts Rotherham Titans claiming a 33-7 victory in a highly anticipated clash between two of National League Two North’s best sides this season.

The visitors thought until the death, but ultimately, Rotherham turned the tide of the fixture with a final 21-minute blitz, as they ended up claiming a bonus point victory.

Both sides used the windy conditions to their advantage, with the visitors having it behind them in the first half, which allowed them to push into the Titans’ 22 on a few occasions. Only once did they manage to come away with a score. This was thanks to a Solomiesque break from a ruck by Louis Verity on Rotherham’s 22. Verity managed to beat the fullback to score, and Robbie Davidson added the conversion.

The hosts opened their tally with a penalty after 9 minutes by Richard Hayes.

Verity took Dale into the lead on 20 minutes. The Green Machine had other good attacking positions, but the lineout misfired, and the chances were squandered. Still, Dale went in at halftime with a 7 – 3 lead.

After the interval, Rotherham again had a choice of kicking for the corner or taking three points. They chose the latter and closed the gap to a point.

The home side’s first try came following strong work by their forwards - spreading the ball down the line for John Okafor to touch down; no conversion was added but the home side had taken the lead.

Yellow Cards were issued to a player from each side. Will Milner for the Titans on 50 minutes and Rob Baldwin on 62. The penalty given away by Baldwin proved costly as Hayes pocketed another three points.

With Baldwin off the pitch, cracks did start to appear in the Green Wall and the home crowd gradually started to appreciate the efforts of their favourite sons. Three tries were scored in the last 12 minutes with Rotherham securing the bonus point try on 80 minutes. Hayes converted two to take his personal tally to 13 points, which earned him the Star Man award in the Rugby Paper.

The Rotherham forwards played a big part in this victory especially when they started to use the battering ram tactics in the final quarter.

With Sheffield winning their Christmas Derby against Sheffield Tigers, Dale slipped down to fourth place in the league. The 1st team will now have three weekends off before taking on Tynedale at the Avenue on January 13. The Foresters will be providing the Christmas Fayre when they play the traditional Boxing Day match at the Avenue against North Ribblesdale, KO 2pm.

The match is also being played to raise funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Yorkshire Dales Fell Rescue. Admission will be £5 with all the gate money (and a bucket collection) going to the two charities.

Wharfedale: Hodgson; Darwin, Coulton, Cicognini, Verity; Davidson, Riddiough (Prell 51); Dickinson, Collinson (Wills 68), Armstrong (Hirst 73), Stockton, Hedgley (c), Pinder, Markey (Green ?), Baldwin (Fawcett 73)