Otley 17 Foresters 25

June 6th, 2015
The score line does not reflect the whole story. On the day, the Otley club had no 1st team game, playing nine players with 1st team experience, whilst the Foresters had six regulars unavailable (on the slopes). Despite this re-balancing of opponents strengths, the Greens were not to be denied, playing superbly to provide another successful league victory. The opinion of watching experienced ex players was that this was a game for the afficionados of Rugby. Otley had a bigger, heavier pack, a fast threequarters line but Wharfedale  had grit , determination and they shall not pass attitude, to match these attributes.
 
After only eight minutes Otley were justifiably 12-0 to the good, through two well taken tries and a conversion, giving an early impression that this could be the day to reverse some recent heavy defeats inflicted on them by the visitors. Several of their players certainly gave that impression but very quickly the Foresters made them aware that they were not here to meekly accept the situation, certainly not just to make the numbers up. They are a tight-knit and determined bunch.
 
Clicking into gear, the greens backs started to move the ball quickly and accurately, James Druce showing how dangerous he can be given a little space with a fine try. Then good forward pressure resulted in a very good try by Ryan Gill, who played well and richly deserved this score. Conversion by Druce gave a half time position of 12-12 and a very evenly balanced game.
 
By this point in the game, the Foresters' cover defence and tackling was beyond reproach, the newcomers to the side equally as impressive as their more experienced team mates. Will Bell and Harry Bullough, besides their other attributes, tackled like dervishes, the latter in particular well above his weight. Able supported in this area by Mark Simpson and Will Hall but every member tackled well. Tom Jackson came on as replacement and comfortably slotted in well to the pattern of play.
 
The lighter Wharfedale pack were now beginning to be more dominant with the evergreen Neil Dickinson once more showing his undoubted worth and nous in a relatively young eight. Johny Rhodes, Matt Freeman, George Altham and Tom Baines, gave 100% support at all times and Tom Whyte continues to develop and impress. From this dominance Tom Baines scored an impressive try, unconverted. Further greens forward pressure resulted in a penalty which Druce slotted over. Not to be outdone, the greens backs were alert , quick thinking and given the chance more than willing to attack the Otley line at any and every opportunity. This was hard, competitive rugby at its best.
 
Once again the Foresters' fitness was apparent: great credit must go to the coaches for this and after wave after wave of Wharfedale pressure, once again attacking the Otley line, Jimmy Bullough, who previously had made good use of distribution skills, sniped over for a try. Amongst the backs special mention of Max Mountain, playing out of position but impressed with his work rate and effort. Dan Stockdale, establishing himself as a man for all seasons, with ability to play hooker or back row as today, again showed his prowess in defence and attack. An exciting prospect.
 
Otley were by no means done with and putting the visitors under considerable pressure late in the game, went in for a try. A forward pass could possibly have been called but the try was deserved for the pressure exerted. It was impossible though to get away from the greens team effort with superb tackling,strong efficient pack power and above all a commitment to the cause enhanced with steely determination. This really was a  game to enjoy and thank both sides for . The Wharfedale selectors have difficult decisions to make with the wealth of talent available but that surely is an envious position to be in !
 
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