Wharfedale v Falcons – Match Report
By Falcons Captain – Dazza Yllien
The Falcons made the uphill, down vale journey to Wharfedale on Saturday. Having previously lost the last 2 encounters by numbers that some players can’t count to yet, the return trip presented an uncertainty rather than positive speculation. The team was able to present a few players with the opportunity to play a full 80mins who had been on 1st XV duty in recent weeks. This gave us a more realistic view on the type of team the Falcons should be fielding each week against consistently performing teams such as Wharfedale.
Players returning from holidays and injuries included Ed Black and Kristian Sharples. A welcoming sight has been the introduction of academy players who had made an appearance for the Falcons already. Ben Dickinson, Cian Gregg, Toby Walker and James Addy. All have demonstrated a skill, talent and thirst to play competitive rugby and have no doubt that the commitment and talent that they have brought to the Falcons this year stems from their success at academy. Keep it up lads because you all have very bright futures at senior level that I’m sure Gareth Lewis will want to keep track off in the near future.
Huddersfield started the game playing down hill with the wind and capitalised immediately as Adam, Ed, and Toby combined well to put pressure on the Wharfedale defence. Wharfedale tried to play the running game by attacking out of their own 22 hoping to starve the Falcons of position. They quickly found themselves in a physical game that did not suit their tactics and turned over the ball in their own DZ on several occasions. From this Scrimmy was able to deliver into Ben Dickinson hands, were he feed Mick Clarke who took the ball with venom putting them on the backfoot. From a series of plays the Falcons pressurised the home side and forced them into giving away a series of penalties, which Olly ‘Wilko’ Scrimshaw slotted over from outside the 22.
From this momentum, the Falcons were rewarded with a try as Joe ‘two step’ Shiel paced over the line carrying a few of their players. The ref went to the TMO who confirmed the try. Scrimmy nudged over the extras and the Falcons lead 10 – 0. Shortly after the kick off, the Falcons kicked another penalty to make it 13-0.
The Opening quarter saw a different Falcons side from recent weeks defending and attacking with determination. Harry ‘the Hairdryer’ Granger on several occasions danced his way into the 22. Elliot Knight, Mick Clarke and Ben Dickinson were a constant threat to the Wharfedale side in attack and on several occasions if the ground had been more solid would have crossed the whitewash.
Defensively, Huddersfield gave as good as they got. HKP, Adam, and Ed constantly probed the ruck and were unlucky not to get more turnovers. Wharfdale felt that they could attack from anywhere, but quickly found that running into members of the Falcons pack were not to be repeated with immediate enthusiasm. Reuben Pollard became very heavy handed as he introduced the Wharfdale number 8 into a game of ‘SIT DOWN’ allowing HKP to turn over position.
Wharfdale began to find their game and on several occasions broke the line from poor organisation in defence. From Wharfdales mistakes the Falcons allowed themselves to become distracted from simple game plans and tried on several occasions to counter attack from their own DZ. This allowed Wharfdale back into the game as they crossed over in the corner.
The half finished 13-8. The Falcons were unlucky not to score before half time, with bullocking runs from malty and Toby the opposition struggled to contain the attack. However pressure into points did not avail. Key areas cost us points and could have supported a much different result at end of game if we took our chances.
Half Time – 13-8
The slope added to the advantage of the home side, and with the pitch becoming heavier, players found it difficult to find their feet running up the hill and in defence. Wharfedale scored several times to make for a comfortable lead and advantage going into the final quarter. However, heads did not drop, and with some quick thinking from Mick Clark a quick tap opened up the defensive line of Wharfedale. Adam Malthouse and Kristian ‘TOWIE’ Sharples combining well took the Falcons into the Wharfedale half. Unfortunately conditions contributed to several handling areas for both teams. With good pressure the Falcons maintained a structured attack and managed to claw their way back into the AZ. From many, many, many phases of play, pick n goes, long and shorts, The Falcons were rewarded when Joe’ this time 1 step’ Shiel scored again. Both sides separated by 7 points, gave the Falcons hope of a major upset away from home and repeat of past victories.
From the kick off, the Falcons defended and managed to withhold a much determined Wharfedale side. From their lineout, they drove towards the line. Well executed and obviously practiced on the training paddock they were rewarded with a try which they converted. From there the Falcons still showed spirit and launched an immediate attack, unfortunately with time running out as Wharfedale controlled the ball well and knocked it into touch to end the game.
A great performance by all against a physical side and well drilled pack. Yesterday’s performance should give us belief in ourselves as we play out the next few games. Wharfedale are definitely the side to beat in this league, and are the ones we will have to beat if we want to be league champions. Well done lads, heads should be held high as it was another step in the right direction. Great performance by academy lads, showing mature attitudes moving forward into the future, especially in the positions you played.
Its days like Saturday when you put up a good fight, your body is in bits from it, that you remember the guys around you, because you gave it all for each other. Love playing for Huddersfield, and know when we work hard, we can play hard!!! Looking forward to next games and next season!!