Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Wharfedale RUFC
5:00 PM 12th February 2023

Match Report: Wharfedale 21 Harrogate 11

photo by Ro Burridge
photo by Ro Burridge
A true local derby was won by Wharfedale thanks to their dominance in the first half. They went in at half time leading by 16 points to nil.

Wharfedale started the game very brightly and the opening score came in the third minute. A drop-out from under the Harrogate posts was run back by Matt Beesley into the visitor’s 22. 6 phases later the ball was moved right and Josh Prell touched down for an unconverted try.

photo by Ro Burridge
photo by Ro Burridge
Harrogate had a chance to show what they could do when a kick from Dale drifted out on the full and Gate had a line-out on Dale’s 10 metre line. Out came their most promising form of attack – the driving maul. An accurate set-piece was followed by a good 12-metre trundle forward. The ball however was lost when they tried to move the ball down the line.

Wharfedale then went through 22 phases with penalties mounting against Harrogate. The Gate defence held out and Dale’s scant reward was a yellow card to the visitor’s No 8, Harrison Walker, and three points from Tom Davidson.

photo by Ro Burridge
photo by Ro Burridge
More pressure was applied by the Greens and Harrogate could not get out of their own half. A clearance kick led to a quick line out by Owen Bullock. Dale attacked again down the left. A kick ahead by Louis Verity was followed up by Henry Macnab who showed great speed and agility in touching down for a try. Davidson hit the post with the difficult conversion but the ball bounced back and not over. T’other Macnab, brother Rory, was yellow carded for checking Louis Verity after Verity had kicked ahead.

I am pleased with the lads as they backed up the win last week away at Rotherham with a good win at home”.
Harrogate did have a chance to get on the scoreboard when Josh Burridge gave away a penalty just after the restart. He was adjudged not to have rolled away at a maul. (Difficult with Mr. Brady holding on to his legs). Sam Fox’s 40 metre attempt was wide and the pattern of play soon resumed with Dale pressing in Harrogate territory. Dale should have scored more points during this period – they certainly had dominated territory and possession. Full credit to Harrogate for only allowing Wharfedale to add another Davidson penalty before half-time. Dale were playing some fast open rugby but Gate were still in the game.

photo by Ro Burridge
photo by Ro Burridge
Dale could not maintain the same level of rugby in the second half. They were guilty of too many mistakes and giving penalties away to build momentum. The visitors gradually clawed their way back into the game and got on the scoreboard with two Rory Macnab penalties. The penalty count was large enough for Josh Burridge to be shown a yellow card for repeated team offences.

5 minutes later Rhys Green was also yellow carded. Harrogate made good use of possession and territory and narrowed the gap to five points with an unconverted try by Harrison Walker.

Dale then started another good period and built pressure in Gate’s 22. From a line-out just outside Harrogate’s 22 they went through 8 phases before spreading the ball right. A long pass from Louis Verity was collected by Owen Bullock who crossed the whitewash in the corner for Dale’s third unconverted try.

Wharfedale Head Coach, Simon Verbickas, said after the game:
"I don’t think any game between these two sides is a pretty game to watch, Harrogate are a tough team to play against. I think we showed great signs of what we have been trying to achieve over the season. We played some really attractive rugby but couldn’t always finish. If those last little offloads or grubber kicks had all gone according to plan the scoreline could have been very different. I am pleased with the lads as they backed up the win last week away at Rotherham with a good win at home”.

Dale are at home again next week when they entertain Fylde. KO is at 2pm.

Verity; Bullock, Prell, Coulton, Canny; T. Davidson (Hodgson 73), H. Macnab (Gaudie 66); Beesley, Hirst (Weston 77), Dickinson, Green (Smith Jnr 71), Borrill, Burridge, Fawcett, Baldwin (c) Replacement not used James Meehan