Wharfedale 22 Chester 20

WHARFEDALE chalked up their fourth-successive home victory to climb out of the National Two North relegation zone.

They just edged a defensive battle in which Chester missed a last-gasp conversion which would have tied the scores.

The strong wind made kicking a hazardous occupation throughout and both sides found it harder to contend with when it was in their favour.

Wharfedale worked hard in the opening five minutes and went through over 20 phases just getting out of their own half.

The play was only halted when Tom Davidson was accused of blocking and opponent.

Chester spurned the three points on offer and went for the corner. They set up their first try from the ensuing five-metre line-out. A clinical catch and drive was rewarded with an unconverted try by Alick Croft.

Wharfedale were quick to respond. They reclaimed the restart and went through seven good handling moves before a mix up in midfield saw them lose possession.

Richard Rhodes was on hand to strip the ball and put Dale back on the front foot.

The attack seemed to have floundered with a loose pass which Charlie Graham tidied up just short of the Chester ten-metre line before setting off on a brilliant run.

He beat three defender and broke tackles as he raced to the line.

Tom Barrett landed the conversion to put Dale in front.

Boosted by Graham's outstanding effort, the home side went close to adding a second try when a strong run down the middle by Josh Burridge was halted close to the line.

Errors began to creep into Wharfedale's play and a number of silly penalties were conceded which enabled Chester to exert pressure.

Dale survived, and using the ball well, worked the phases and gained ground to have an attacking line-out on Chester’s 22.

The line-out misfired and another lazy penalty saw Chester send a towering kick up to within seven metres off the home side's line.

A catch and drive saw Croft go over again. James Preston landed the conversion.

Dale responded well and good combination work by both forwards and backs led to another Graham try.

Barrett missed the conversion as the first half finished with the score 12-12.

The stand-off was on target early in the second half with a penalty from close to the touchline, but over-cooked a kick for position soon after and the ball went over the dead-ball line.

Chester were awarded a penalty before the ball could be put in to the resulting scrum and kicked it deep into home territory.

The visitors won the scrappy line-out and put together a succession of phases before Wharfedale were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle. Preston took the three points on offer to level the scores.

Dangerman Graham played a big part in Wharfedale's third try. His surge into Chester's 22 was well supported by prop Joe Altham saw Robbie Davidson halted just short of the line.

The Greens were not going to be denied. They won the ensuing ruck and Kieran Frost touched down for a try which Barrett converted from the touchline.

Wharfedale had a seven-point cushion as Chester launched a late bid to save the game.

Another poor decision by a Wharfedale player gave Chester a penalty. They built pressure through multiple phases before creating an opening for Craig Ross to beat the defence and score wide to the right.

Preston could not land the conversion and Dale clung on for a vital win.

Wharfedale R Davidson; C Graham, J Gill, T Davidson, Cicognini (Mann 54); Barrett, Woodhead (c); Asejevs (J Altham 41, Ward 72), Stockdale (Larkin 60), Ward (Asejevs 68), Howard (Hedgley 28), Rhodes, Frost (Howard 75), Tyson, Burridge (Houghton 60)