12:49 PM 11th November 2023
Match Report: Leeds 20 Wharfedale 8
Ed Williams has been reporting for the Yorkshire Times, part of the p.ublished group of online newspapers, on his local club, Wharfedale RUFC.
The travelling faithful turned The Sycamores (Home of West Park Rugby Club) into the Avenue for this rare Evening KO. A lot of the faithful should have been tucked up in bed well before halftime but were there in droves to support the lads. There were also a lot of good folk from different clubs in Yorkshire who came out to see this floodlit game. What a game it was.
The present set of greyhounds in Leeds colours were off the blocks very quickly and in the first half they played some fast-flowing rugby; their speed at the break down and recycling the ball was very good and there was some inventive play in the back division. Dale fought hard, and how they fought to stay in touch. Leeds went through nearly 70 phases of rugby in the first half but only really broke the whitewash twice, the third try was fortuitous but still well taken.
After 12 minutes, New Zealander, Nuu Nuu, opened the scoring for Tykes after 12 phases battering the Green line with a converted try. Leeds kicking from hand was outstanding all night and was often responsible for pinning Dale deep in their own half. This included a long 50-22 which gave Tykes possession in Dale’s 22. It also led to more attacks and pressure on the Wharfedale try line.
The fortuitus try came from a bad pass that seemed to be in no man’s land; a Wharfedale player was inches away from an interception but was beaten by the bounce. The ball was then picked up by Keiran Davies who strolled over for Leed’s second try. No conversion.
Wharfedale started to get a little more possession and had forays into Leeds territory but were hampered by a Yellow Card to George Hedgley. Three phases after that the third try was scored by the right-hand corner flag with winger Charlie Venable diving in. No conversion.
Dale finished the half strongly and had chances to go deep into Tyke’s 22 but the score stayed at 17-0 as the lads trooped off for oranges.
Dale kicked-off for the second half and immediately won a penalty. The three points were taken (Sam Gaudie landing the penalty kick) and the game was on. Leeds were now facing an even more resolute Dale team and found it hard to make progress.
After the restart they went through 14 phases before Dale turning the ball over and Leeds indiscipline gave away a penalty. This indiscipline now marked their play, and their frustration at being held in check was beginning to show.
Leeds did have shot at goal in the 50th minute which gave them their only score in the second half. There seemed to be some confusion as what to do and they ended up having to take the kick as the tee was brought on.
Wharfedale now had their best period of the match and they camped on the Tykes’ try line. The sustained attack seemed to come to nothing as Leeds managed to hold the ball up and have a scrum. A melee ensued and the officials went into conference. The result was a yellow card to Adam Brown, the Leeds hooker. The penalty was a tap and go by Dale and 7 phases took the ball close before spreading the ball left into the safe hands of Tom Darwin for an unconverted try.
There now followed an unrelenting attack by Leeds but the Dale defence was magnificent and refused to let them pass. 33 phases were endured by the Green Machine; nearly all the first up tackles were made and if the odd player broke through then the second line of defence held the line.
This was the Green Machine at its magnificent best; a very strong and skilful team laid siege, but the Green Wall was solid. Green shirts seemed to have doubled in number and tackle after tackle was made, most of the faithful (some in pyjamas) were out there defending the line as well.
The order had gone out “Vous ne les laisserez pas passer, mes camarades”. The faithful were proud of their team and they were cheered off the West Park pitch as heroes (I know it counts for nothing but they did win the second half). This was the first time this season that Leeds had not gained a try bonus point.
Wharfedale Verity; Darwin, Coulton (Kaup-Samuels 35), Cicognini, Davidson; Gaudie, Riddiough; Dickinson (Wills 56), Collinson, Armstrong (Altham 74), Stockton (Pinder 70), Hedgley (c), Pinder (Green 31), Markey (Beresford 31), Baldwin (Markey 74)
photo credit Ro Burridge