Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Wharfedale RUFC
8:39 PM 5th November 2023

Match Report: Wharfedale 35 Hull 6

Ed Williams has been reporting for the Yorkshire Times, part of the p.ublished group of online newspapers, on his local club, Wharfedale RUFC.

photo credit Ro Burridge
photo credit Ro Burridge
Wharfedale played some scintillating rugby to take the 5 points against the team one position below them in the league. Hull did have possession but often could not make progress against a resolute Dale defence. Dale were on the attack at the start, but a series of penalties took them back deep into their own 22. A successful line out saw Hull employ their catch and drive. George Hedgley burrowed through the middle of the maul ending with a Wharfedale scrum.

There was no repeat of Hull’s domination of 2 years ago and a rock-solid Green Machine allowed stand-off Sam Gaudie to clear the danger. A great break from Oliver Riddiough pinned the visitors back into their 22 and a few phases later Dale had a penalty under the posts. Gaudie delivered the three points. Three minutes later Reece Dean landed a 40-metre shot to level the score.

A good kick chase from the restart by Oscar Canny led to a Dale lineout just outside Hull’s 22. A clean lineout was followed by a 10-metre drive, making Hull adding men to the maul. Eventually Riddiough sent the ball to Gaudie whose pass inside to Oscar Canny was sublime, and Canny had a clean dart for the line. Gaudie added the extras. Exquisite rugby; a dominant pack and outstanding back play left Hull looking a little shocked and confused.

The Green Machine were now playing with confidence and accuracy and forcing Hull to concede penalties. The first was at a Hull scrum in Dale’s favourite corner.

True to form the Green Eight drove hard and up popped the Hull hooker! The second penalty was given away needlessly but gave Dale a five-metre attacking lineout. A clinical lineout looked like a driving maul was about to be set. Jack Pinder broke away immediately and crashed over for an unconverted try.

Dale were not in the mood to surrender any territory to the visitors. The best example was when Hull had a lineout on half way. 12 phases later a forward pass led to a Dale scrum and Hull had only managed to move the chains five metres!

Penalties were again exchanged to leave the score Wharfedale 18 Hull 6 at halftime. Hull finished the half in a jubilant mood having won a scrum penalty on Dale’s put in with a very efficient drive.

The mood did not last long after the restart. The home side’s domination carried on and play was soon set in Hull’s 22. Seven patient phases followed a 12-metre lineout and then the move was finished by an unstoppable charge from Oliver Cicognini for a converted try. Cicognini took the ball 18 metres from the line. He brushed away the first two tacklers and then the third and carried the fourth one with him over the line.

More attractive rugby from the Green Machine soon forced Hull back to their own 22 for a Dale lineout. The lineout won, the ball was moved to centre James Coulton. Coulton offloaded to Tom Beresford to get the bonus point try. Gaudie converted and he added another penalty kick to finish the scoring.

Hull finished the match without a try but Dale certainly justified their third position in National League 2 North. The Hull report admitted the fact that the score did not flatter Dale and the score could have been higher.

It was a day to be at the Avenue as the rugby was fast and entertaining. There were quite a few visitors to the Avenue who were there to see a game of rugby and they were not disappointed. All the players wearing the Green should be proud of their contribution to the victory. The pack were magnificent hardly ever yielding to the once feared Hull eight.

Elliot Stockton gave a performance that confirms his status as one of Dale’s strongest players complimenting his captain, George Hedgley, in the row. Likewise, Ben Markey and Jack Pinder, in the back row are worthy of their places alongside Rob Baldwin. Robbie Collinson had a great game at hooker with nearly 100% accuracy in the lineout; props Jake Armstrong and Sam Dickinson led the pack and were solid throughout.

Half backs, Riddiough and Gaudie, worked well together and all the backs contributed in attack and in defence.

Head coach, Simon Verbickas, asked Cicognini to do the post-match comments.

Cico said:
“This was a fantastic performance against a very good Hull outfit. We had talked in training about ‘fronting up’; we were much the dominant pack and this made our life as backs easier. We were pragmatic in our approach and then we cut loose when we could. The togetherness of the squad is apparent; there is a special atmosphere throughout the club at the moment and I am excited to see where we can go.”

Friday sees Wharfedale travelling to West Park, Bramhope to take on league leaders Leeds. KO is 8pm.

Verity; Canny (Darwin 46), Coulton, Cicognini, Davidson; Gaudie, Riddiough; Dickinson (Armstrong 79), Collinson (Wills 64), Armstrong (Altham 71), Stockton, Hedgley (c), Pinder (Beresford 33, Markey 74)), Markey (Green 33), Baldwin (Pinder 71)

photo credit Ro Burridge