Close games hint at exciting season for Wensleydale League teams

Several tight games on Saturday suggest this season’s Scotts for Storage Wensleydale League title race could be a cracker.

Last season’s winners Unicorn suffered an early blow to their league aspirations with a 1-0 loss away at Catterick Garrison.

The game was level at the break with the teams cancelling each other out and the highlight being a Jez Mortimer rocket that rattled the Unicorn crossbar.

Bailey Proudlock also fizzed a couple of shots agonisingly wide for the Richmond side.

Unicorn stepped up the pressure in the second half and Shayne Ketley had a great chance to score after finding himself free in the box. His shot was struck sweetly but a defender managed to make a block on the line.

Ketley, Carl Handley and Proudlock also had further chances, while Catterick debutant Josh Pettler was causing problems at the other end.

The deadlock was finally broken on 81 minutes when Pettler beat the offside trap and unselfishly squared for Tim Holland to tap in.

Both keepers made fine saves in the final minutes, including Unicorn’s Tom Sweeney seeing his penalty saved after Stuart Murray was pulled back, to ensure the score finished 1-0 to Catterick.

Richmond Mavericks got their season off to a winning start but were made to work hard for the points away at Carperby.

The highlight of the first half was a remarkable goal from Michael Dent who chipped the ball over Mavs defender Owen Kelly before turning and hitting a stunning scissor volley into the top corner.

Mavs were forced into a reshuffle when James Donaldson took a blow to the head and had to be replaced by Jerry Metcalfe.

Owen Kelly then moved into midfield and quickly took control, creating chances for his brother James and Metcalfe.

And just before half-time, Owen Kelly flicked a ball around the corner to Metcalfe who smashed home passed Carperby keeper John Pickard from a tight angle.

Mavs took the lead after 60 minutes when youngster Joe Carruthers whipped in a corner and Joe Jordan nodded in.

Spennithorne also started the season well with a comfortable 6-0 win over Reeth.

Spenni opened the scoring through a Kalem Stanger volley. Stanger scored a tap in aided by Brian Lane before the break.

In the second half, Stanger netted three more, while the impressive Charlie Wiggan and Keifer Bottomley also got on the scoresheet, with Jack Crook recording three assists.

In the remaining game, Richmond Town Reserves beat league newcomers Askrigg 3-0.

Reece Thompson, Danny Weatherill and Nathan Simpson got the goals for Town in the first half, with the Wensleydale side, fielding a mix of youth and experience, sticking to their task and having chances of their own after the break.

Results – 17.09.22

Askrigg 0-3 Richmond Town Reserves

Carperby 1-2 Richmond Mavericks

Catterick Garrison 1-0 Unicorn

Reeth 0-6 Spennithorne

Fixtures – 24.09.22

Catterick Garrison v Richmond Mavericks

Hawes v Askrigg

Reeth v Richmond Town

Spennithorne v Carperby