The highs and lows of watching Wharfedale in National Two North have been on display in the space of the past week.

The euphoria of a scintillating away win at high-flying Fylde last time out was followed by an uphill struggle in South Yorkshire against Sheffield on Saturday, which saw Dale beaten 31-14.

This should have been a battle of two teams in good form, with Sheffield sat third in the table and Wharfedale fifth.

But Dale had to spend 30 minutes reduced to 14 men and struggled to find any fluency, and at one conceded 17 points in the second half while they were a man short.

Ultimately, this was not Wharfedale at their best and only 250 spectators were there to witness a turgid affair.

Dale return to the Avenue at last for next week’s league match with Billingham, with the fans hoping they will see a Wharfedale side far closer to their best.

The visitors actually started strongly on Saturday and set up camp in Sheffield’s 22.

The South Yorkshire side not in the mood to be breached though, as they kept the visitors out.

Dale could have got on the scoreboard with an easy penalty kick in front of the posts, but opted for a scrum which did not pay off.

Eventually the away side were penalised and a few penalties later, Sheffield were in Dale’s 22.

Jake Armstrong was yellow carded for Dale and Rob Burrows took advantage by crossing to open the scoring.

The next try was a controversial one, as a penalty was awarded to Sheffield and scrum half Elliot Fisher, standing, it seemed, in front of the mark, tapped and ran in.

Fisher converted both scores to give his side a healthy 14-0 lead.

The second half started with Dale at full strength and also getting a few decisions go their way.

Seven minutes after the break, Armstrong crashed over and Robbie Davidson converted.

Rhys Green was soon sent to the sin-bin however, halting any momentum he and his Dale team-mates had built up.

With Green watching on, and Dale forgetting how to tackle effectively, Sheffield added two more tries.

Robert Fawdry and Dominic Parsons both touched down and Fisher was successful from the tee both times.

Back up to 15 players, Dale were more effective and space was created for Rian Hamilton to round the defence, with Davidson slotting the conversion.

Craven Herald: Rian Hamilton's late try here proved academic.Rian Hamilton's late try here proved academic. (Image: John Burridge.)

Sheffield rounded off the scoring with a Fisher penalty after Tom Beresford earned Dale’s third yellow card.

Thankfully for the Wharfedale faithful, these poor matches have been few and far between for their team this season, with this just their fifth defeat in their 15 league games so far.

The home game against third-bottom Billingham offers them the perfect chance to bounce back this coming weekend.

Wharfedale have not faced the North-East strugglers yet this season, with the reverse fixture on Teesside taking place at the start of April.