This coming Saturday London Scottish make their final long haul away trip of the season when they visit Wharfedale, the most picturesque location for rugby in National League One. Scottish go into this match looking to maintain their form and continue with their surge towards the Championship.
Wharfedale Rugby Club play their rugby in the Yorkshire Dales village of Grassington, which has often been described by many rugby commentators as one of the most picturesque locations to host a game of rugby. For those making their first visit, they will not be disappointed as the surrounding scenery is absolute breathtaking and shows off the Dales at their best, especially for a match in mid April. The club has been based in its current Avenue location since 1964 and over the years the facilities at the club have been developed to match the success achieved by the club on the pitch. The club prides itself on being an integral part of the local village community and visiting supporters are always assured of a warm welcome. Wharfedale are the longest residents in National League One or its previous incarnations with the 2010/11 season being their fifteenth consecutive season at this level. A truly remarkable achievement in the transient world of league rugby.
This season has been a serious of trials and tribulations for the club. A new Director of Rugby in his first season has been fraught with challenges, which has seen the fortunes of the club fluctuating from a top six position to hovering just outside the relegation zone. A comfortable mid table position was achieved by the end of January, however since then their form has markedly declined. Since they lost to Scottish in the reverse fixture at the end of February they have recently gone on a run of four consecutive defeats, which has set the alarm bells ringing as the club has nose dived towards the relegation trap door. Wharfedale re-arranged their postponed fixture with Sedgely Tigers for a mid-week kick off, which was played last night and resulted in a 22 – 22 draw. This result moved Wharfedale up to eleventh in the league table.
Wharfedale this season have encountered difficulties in scoring tries and currently have the lowest total in the league. Their total of 62 tries is three less than their nearest rival for this unwelcome title. It's not all doom and gloom for the team, as they have one of the leading kickers in the league. Full back come centre Tom Davidson currently sits sixth in the table for the top points scorer with 185 points to his name. Backrow forward Dan Solomi is the club's leading try scorer with 11 tries, with experienced centre Andrew Hodgson the club's next top try scorer on 7 tries. Other players to lookout for in the Wharfedale side are winger Simon Horsfall, experienced centre Chris Malherbe and Tonga internationalist second row Talite Vioaleti, who has recently signed for Championship side Rotherham for next season. In an attempt to reverse the clubs fortunes, the Director of Rugby Tom McGee has selected himself in the side and has bolstered the scrum by slotting into the front row of the pack.
With Scottish heading north for their final match of the season in the North of England, it will be a great opportunity to catch up with all the Scottish supporters who will be making the long trip down from Scotland to cheer on the team. Your support of the team and the great distances travelled are a testament to the pull of the club and hearing the Scottish voices on the sidelines in far off grounds is greatly appreciated by the management, players and coaching staff alike. One should not also forget the Scottish supporters who live in the North of England and who have turned up regularly in great numbers across this season and your support is highly valued by the club. Scottish go into this match playing with a high level of confidence, but will be aware of the threat posed by the Wharfedale side, especially on their home turf. Wharfedale in the reverse fixture at Scottish played extremely well and only conceded the fourth try of the match in the closing plays of the match. Here's looking forward to another exciting game and see you all there.