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“On Friday 26th August, Wensleydale Rugby Club 1st XV hosted the GSC Grays/Genus Annual Agricultural Industries XV for a Charity Match in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Now in its fourth year, the GSC Grays/Genus XV fielded a strong side to match Wensleydale, who are going from strength to strength having been promoted twice in their league in the previous three seasons.
Wensleydale’s success on the field has been matched off the field with the construction of state of the art changing facilities and a refurbished bar and kitchen, which will not only enhance the appeal of the club, which already has a strong juniors section, to players considering a move to ‘Dale’, but it also provides an excellent facility for the community and general public for parties and events.
Despite winning the inaugural match, the GSC Grays/Genus Xv had lost the previous two encounters and were not taking any chances this year! The strong but ageing (!) team of staff, clients and friends together with the odd ‘ringer’ (including former England winger, Paul Sackey) started the evening strongly in front of a great crowd who had turned out to witness this hard fought game.
GSC Grays/Genus XV opened the scoring with a superb try following sustained attacks and strong running. This looked to be followed by a similar try shortly afterwards but a loose pass was intercepted inside the Dale 22 and Jamie Elliott ran the length to score under the posts for Dale’s first points. As the game began to open up, Dale’s well drilled attack found some space out wide and they were in for their second which was converted to lead 14-5. GSC Grays/Genus XV tightened things up again and their pressure at the breakdown lead to a number of penalties against Dale which allowed the visitors another score before half time leaving it 14-12 at the break.
After the break, the direct running and power paid dividends both directly and by creating space out wide leading to three early tries which took the game out of the reach of the home team. The highlight being Paul Sackey’s quick feet and sidestepping gliding through the Dale defence. Both sides had large squads and all players had good game time. The Dale squad included 17-year-old former junior player Charlie Walker for his senior debut, which proved to be a night to remember for the youngster. Charlie took a lovely backhanded pass out of the contact at pace from Dale No.8, Tom Lawson which took him through the first line of defence and he then stepped inside the fullback for an impressive try.
The final score saw the visiting GSC Grays/Genus XV victorious 29 – 19. Ben Snook, a former Mowden player received the Man of the Match award which was kindly sponsored by Campbells of Leyburn.
Apart from “How did you manage to persuade Paul Sackey to play?”, Jim Chapman, Wensleydale 1st XV Coach, also said “It’s always a great evening’s entertainment and we were delighted to once again host this Charity match in front of a large crowd. Having been promoted to Yorkshire 3 this season, we’ve got our work cut out but playing this pre-season friendly against a strong and experienced side will hopefully set us in good stead for another successful season.”
Phil Scott-Priestley, a Director at GSC Grays, who played in the game said “It was a good hard fought contest in a fantastic setting. The aim is obviously to raise as much as we can for Macmillan Cancer Support which is a great cause but it is also nice to support a friendly community club such as Wensleydale. With the new facilities almost complete it is a huge step forward for the club and it would be fantastic to see Dale continue to go from strength to strength. To date, the evening has raised over £2,800 for Macmillan and I’d like to thank all the players, many of whom only pull their boots on once a year for this match nowadays, for travelling here and making the effort to play, together with all our event sponsors as well as all those who have donated so far.”
To support this great cause please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GSCGrays-charityrugbymatch2016