By Richard Pearson
Wensleydale welcomed Thornensians to Cawkill Park for the first time at senior level on a breezy January afternoon. Thorne were the last team to beat Dale in early October, convincingly as well, but the hosts have built up some positive momentum recently and were very determined to put in another good performance. They certainly didnt disappoint, out playing the visitors in all departments, only dropping intensity in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Virtually at full strength, captain Tom Lawson back wearing the 8 jersey, winger James Ashford recovered from a bout of flu, only young centre Jack Lawson missing out with a torn calf muscle, which occured kicking a different shaped ball !
Jack Reynard slotted an early penalty after a late tackle and soon kicked another as early pressure told. The Thorne lineout struggled throughout and Ewan Metcalfe had a field day pinching 5 out of 10 opposition throws. This of course gave his backs ample ball on the front foot from which fly half Bodge Burnett went threw his whole repertoire. His perfectly judged grubber sat up perfectly for left winger Paul Smith to touchdown followed by a typical Bodge charge for the line, the offload to Jake Taylor put the ever improving scrum half under the posts. Reynard converted, kicked another penalty, 21 - 0.
Thorne had a man in the bin and Dale attacked putting Ashford away to score. Ashford was away down the right wing again this time putting boot to ball only to see fullback Fergus Chapman win the race to score.
A fantastic first half performance , 33 points to nil. The coaching team couldnt ask for more.
Turning into the breeze and with showers blowing down the dale the 2nd half was never going to live up to those levels seen. The highlight had to be Ashford sprinting down the wing, handing off a couple of challenges to dot down in the corner. Hooker Mark Dixon took one against the head ,replacement number 8 Gary Nicholson picked up cleanly and raced away only to lose control. Another Nicholson run sent Taylor into space as Dale threatened to run riot.
Things didnt quite go to plan in the last ten minutes. Fin Metcalfe had only just come on when he infringed at a breakdown and earned a yellow (and 'dick of the day' award). Thorne made the most of the extra man scoring two nice tries.
The large home supporters went home very happy and a great night was had in the clubhouse celebrating reaching the top of Yorkshire 3.
Fantastic work gents, long may it continue.
Back to cup action next week at Wibsey followed by Skipton away in the league.