Result Wednesday 16 August - Bradford Salem 10 - 35 Foresters ----    Saturday 19 August - Wharfedale v Hull Ionians (A) KO 3.00pm ----

Bradford & Bingley 27 Foresters 38

November 22nd, 2013
Firstly, all credit to the Bees ground staff for having the pitch fit for play, they did a great job and deserve our thanks.
 
The dream still lives on. Undefeated in the league, Foresters came up against a strong side which included several first team players, as both clubs had no first team games. This though made for a somewhat sterner test for the Greens who themselves played not their strongest side, with a good percentage of cherubic faces in their number, but this was what was needed to shake them out of any complacency, which from time to time, during this game, seemed to be creeping in.
 
At times the Foresters were good, sometimes clumsy, back to skilfully efficient then downright dizzy. Illustrating this , the Bees fly half peppered the opposition with high up-and-unders and some of the Greens backs gave the impression there was an hand grenade in it. To counteract this, with ball in hand the Foresters were quick, slick and always very dangerous. Throughout the game tackling was indifferent although much of that could be put down a greasy top surface which made it difficult for either side to secure a good firm footing, so it would be churlish to be over critical.
 
This was a feisty game with three yellow cards distributed, two to the Bees and one to the Greens but both sides played attacking, adventurous rugby when given the opportunity. The score line indicates an end-to-end game, which it was, played hard, uncompromising yet entertaining. Bradford and Bingley were fully committed to winning this match.
 
From the start Wharfedale exerted strong pressure in the scrums (how do they do that ), which they maintained practically throughout . This, of course, gave the Wharfedale backs opportunities to demonstrate their abundant skills and from an astute break by Harry Bullough support came from Will Bell who needed no invitation to scoot clear for a well worked try, which he then dutifully converted. Quickly the home side retaliated , a fine break from their sharp scrum half saw him waltz his way through under the posts and this converted made it 7-7 with all to play for.
 
Back to the other end and a cleverly worked line out gave the ever alert Dan Stockdale a fine try, not converted. At this time the Greens pack was maintaining maximum pressure on their opposite eight and, enabling a fast ball out to Josh Prell who then provided the opportunity for Bell to capitalise on his try scoring abilities, this he converted making it 19- 7. Tremendous power surged through the Foresters scrum, with obviously well coached and then executed technique, illustrated at its best by the Altham brothers Joe and George at prop who in combination with Stockdale provided an outstanding front row accomplishment. This was ably assisted by the second row pairing of the ever consistent Rob Burnett and Pierce Phillips. In addition the latter two with Rhys Davies gave an excellent line out performance throughout, also great credit in this department to Stockdale who had an impressive 100% "throwing in" record which was reassuringly solid.
 
Davies had moved, due to absences, to the back row, producing a strong tactical game for one playing out of position. His two partners in the back row Tom Whyte and Jim Mason added significantly to the overall pack strength and Mason made several foraging runs into the oppositions defence, causing extra problems for their retreating forwards. Then from a spell of indifferent tackling, the Greens themselves were subjected to considerable self inflicted pressure which eventually presented Mason with a yellow card, giving the home side the opportunity to break back, which they did, scoring an unconverted try in the corner. Showing, once again, their mettle, the Greens did not panic and a delightful kick ahead from Bell gave ever alert Harry Bullough a perfect scoring opportunity which was not wasted. Not converted this made the score line apparently comfortable at 24-12, with more to come, it was hoped. At this point a dangerous tackle on centre Bullough resulted in the first Bees yellow card.
 
After the break, the game was evenly matched for a spell yet the visitors suffered due to several unnecessary mistakes. Winger Ben Parkinson who had looked safe, sharp and eager to attack the oppositions line was replaced by Josh Gill. Then Joe Altham made way for Johnny Rhodes who made the Greens front line no less efficient and strong. Unfortunately several missed tackles, caused mainly by the condition of the surface enabled the Bees to bounce back with another try, although one or two of the Wharfedale players could possibly have been guilty of lethargically ambling back to position. 24-17 soon became 24-22 as the home side capitalised on several difficult to understand decisions by the visitors.  The game was now there to be won by the Bees, but yet again as has happened so many times this season,. the Foresters' character and will to win came to the fore. They would not have maintained the position  they are in without grit and self belief , a praiseworthy attribute to all. A few constructive harsh words were spoken and the Foresters stormed back. George Altham was replaced by brother Joe and more sustained forward pressure resulted in the home sides prop being yellow carded. Pressure had to tell eventually and the referee had little option but to award a penalty try to the visitors, converted somewhat hastily by Gill.
 
The Wharfedale forwards still had plenty left in the tank and an unexpected fine piece of pace by Phillips gave him the chance to dash in under the posts, duly converted by Bell. Phillips came up with a good performance all round, both in the pack and loose. The final stages of this game went back and forth, with the Greens back always looking likely to score. The half back combination of Bell and Jimmy Bullough work very efficiently together with Bullough showing the disciplined organisation and skills required at scrum half. They provided a great deal of momentum for their fellow backs. Ryan Gill always looks dangerous and Russ Aldersley, played today in the centre , another old hand out of position,  stuck manfully to his task. The defensive capabilities of Harry Bullough were once again impressive, having developed throughout the season.
 
In the last few minutes some indecisive work by Wharfedale gave the Bees another try , unconverted making a final score of 38-27. Close enough but you always had the feeling the Foresters would find another gear if required. Several of this team may attain first team status, at some stage, and the disciplines and skills acquired with the Foresters will stand them in good stead. Others would have to learn the capacity to play flat out for the full 80 minutes and that will undoubtedly come.
 
In conclusion, there are now only two league games remaining and the chance to go through a full league season undefeated, indeed with a 100% record . No matter what sport, what opposition, what league this would be an achievement which very few players ever have the opportunity to be part of and would be a remarkable performance. It is now up to the Club, the coaches who warrant tremendous praise, credit and respect and the players themselves not to go into sleep mode until the job is done. There are still , probably, 160 minutes of Rugby remaining, which must be played at full tempo, 100% concentration and the desire not to let this opportunity slip. You may never get it again! With the flag bearers of the Club, the 1st team, a little bit under the cosh at the moment, the Foresters can help maintain the positive attitude this Club always strives to maintain.
 
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