Another large crowd gathered at Station View to watch the Pythons entertain Wensleydale. Dale kicked off and adapted quickly to the driving rain by applying the early pressure. A kick through was defused by full back Jake Harland and another Dale drive was halted in its tracks by Hugh Tatlow. Gate were penalised at the breakdown and Dale converted to open the scoring. 0-3 5 mins. Gate responded well with a clean line out take from captain Dan Shortman and a bursting drive from Nathan Wake. Dale were penalised at the breakdown and Max Sharp opened Gate’s account. 3-3 9 mins. Dale retook the lead with another penalty from the restart but their next attack was snuffed out by a crunching doodle tackle from Jon Pickard and Joe Bentham. Gate were now gaining in confidence and good line out ball from Ian Binns saw Gareth Drane put Harland clear on the blindside but his kick through was well dealt with by the Dale full back. More good lineout saw Drane this time release Ollie Wheatley down the wing but Drane’s kick through just ran dead. Sustained forward pressure led to Dale conceding a penalty under the posts which Sharp concerted. 6-6 20 mins. Gate knocked on at the restart but managed to take the scrum against the head. Harland made good yardage up the middle but Wake was penalised at the breakdown and Dale converted from just short of halfway. 6-9 25 mins. More forward pressure with Wake and Tatlow making hard yards saw Dale penalised but Sharp pulled the kick wide. Dale kicked deep to Harland who made the initial break and linked with Luke Price-Gerrard who managed to stay strong in the tackle and off load to the Supporting Sharp to score by the posts. He converted his own try to make the half time score Pythons 13 Wensleydale 9.
Coach Dan Bird stressed at half time that Gate needed to lower the penalty count and they made the worst start possible when hooker Sandy Dunlop received a yellow car at the restart for a dump tackle. A Dale move broke down in midfield and Bentham managed to hack the ball forward. He appeared to be winning the footrace but was tripped and Sharp got there first to dive on the ball. 18-9 42 mins. Another Gate penalty saw Sharp hit the post. From the lineout Tatlow burst through and linked with Bentham but the ball was knocked forward on the line. Gate’s scrum was now dominant and with replacement Tom Everingham making huge dents in the Dale defines Gate forced a 5m scrum. The Gate pack heaved Dale over the line for No8 Kris Starkey to add the final try. Sharp rounded off a great day by converting to make the final score Pythons 25 Wensleydale 9.
This was a better performance by the Pythons in what ended up a comfortable victory against a side that finished third in the league last season. Next weekend the Pythons travel to Halifax Vandals.