IN WHAT will be his last match in charge for a month or so, Wharfedale's head coach James Doherty was able to watch a dominant scrum help them win 30-14 at Blaydon.

It was their third-successive National League Two North triumph and took the Greens out of the relegation places.

But there is still work to do as the bottom four are only separated by five points with 12 weeks of the season to go.

Doherty, who is undergoing ankle surgery tomorrow, said: "As I said last week, it isn't a question of the bottom four as I think that six or seven clubs will be involved."

The former scrum half added of the display at Blaydon: "We were very good, and the forwards were great.

"We were comprehensively dominant at the set-piece, but I don't think that we got our reward for that dominance.

"After our first penalty try, we were perhaps even more dominant later and there were two or three big moments in the game, but we didn't get another penalty-try decision, even though at one stage we drove a maul back 20 metres only for it to collapse five metres from the line.

"However, although it was slightly frustrating that we didn't get the four-try bonus point after finding that chink in Blaydon's armour and exploiting it, the win was by far the most important thing."

Wharfedale led 23-7 at half-time and, although Blaydon got a converted try to reduce the arrears to nine points, Doherty never felt like the hosts were going to win from that stage.

During the second half, the Green Machine went though an incredible 40 phases in one move, although Doherty laughed: "I would rather us score after 20 phases!"

Next up for the Dalesmen are Huddersfield at The Avenue, with the sixth-placed visitors seven places and 21 points better off than their hosts.

Doherty said: "Huddersfield have really proved themselves at this level after coming up last season unbeaten from National League Three North. They will be a tough test."

Over the next month or so, experienced duo Hedley Verity (youth rugby development officer) and Michael Harrison (chairman of rugby) will be deputising for Doherty, aided by hooker Stevie Graham, who has had player-coach roles at Ilkley and Sandal.

Doherty said: "Stevie has already been helping out for three weeks as part of the transitionary period."