Driffield 10 Wharfedale Foresters 22

November 22nd, 2013

It wasn’t pretty but they got the job done!

Having secured the league title last week, the Foresters travelled to Driffield with the aim of putting the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake – a 100% league record.

In a scrappy, error strewn game with neither side performing near their best, the Foresters got the result they desired and finished their league campaign with the perfect record – played 20, won 20. Wharfedale started brightly, Dan Stockdale claiming the kick-off and making inroads into the home defence. After several phases of play, Driffield were caught offside and the resultant penalty was kicked to the corner. A well executed driven lineout resulted in Stockdale plunging over the line for the first try with only 3 minutes on the clock. The missed conversion left the Greens 5-0 to the good. This spurred the home team into action and, using their big forward runners outside the 10, Driffield mounted a series of attacks however the green wall was not to be broken that easily and some solid first up tackling held them at bay. Once back in possession, the visitors looked to build their lead however errors and poor decision making held them back. Firstly James Druce was called back whilst looking to ground the ball for an offside in front of the kicker, a 2 man overlap was then ignored and poor handling under the shadow of the home posts saw another opportunity frittered away. Eventually though the 2nd try came, an almost carbon copy of the first. Tom Whyte, who is fast becoming a menace at the breakdown, winning the penalty at the ruck, this was kicked to the corner for another driven lineout, this time touched down by Rhys Davies. The conversion was missed again. Then the errors returned. Another penalty was kicked to the corner however the home pack stood firm against the green drive. After a number of powerful forward carries, space was created out wide only for yet more poor handling to let it slip. Driffield seized the initiative and after recycling the ball for several phases, a missed tackle in midfield allowed the outside centre to break the visitors line and pass to his winger, who was a constant threat throughout the whole game, for the hosts first try of the afternoon. Conversion missed, 10-5 and game on.

The early exchanges of the 2nd half were drab with neither side seemingly wanting possession. A game of ‘kick tennis’ ensued until a penalty was awarded to Wharfedale to break up the monotony. From the following lineout, good ball off the top allowed Harry Bullough, putting in a colourful display with his brother, to make a break. The ball was fed out to Druce who offloaded out of the tackle to the supporting Ryan Gill for him to run in the greens 3rd try. The successful conversion brought the score to 17-5 and the visitors could start to breath a little easier. From the restart, a good break from Ben Parkinson, showing a previously unseen burst of pace, brought another penalty which was again kicked to the corner and was yet again driven over the line for Davies to claim his second and Wharfedale’s 4th try of the game.

With the bonus point in the bag, you would have expected the Foresters to now cut loose however the problems of the first half resurfaced. Their cause was further hindered by a yellow card to substitute Josh Gill for a professional foul. It didn’t take long for the home team to capitalise on the extra man and following good work by the forwards, a 3-on-2 was well finished in the corner. This was to be the last piece of real quality in the game with the remaining 20 minutes a plethora of turnovers, knock-ons and generally all round sloppy play from both sides. The Foresters have played, and will play, better than this however the determination, character and overall superior skill level of this team won the day. They say the mark of a truly good team is being able to win when you don’t play well and in this game, the Foresters proved why they are the team to beat in the Yorkshire Merit leagues.

Worthy champions and congratulations to all involved – you are credit to a great club.

Wharfedale Foresters: Prell, Druce, R. Gill, Davidson, Parkinson, H. Bullough, J. Bullough, Dickinson, Stockdale, J. Altham, Davies (c), Burnett, G. Altham, Baines, Whyte. Subs (all used): Freeman, Borrill, J. Gill. Tries: Stockdale, Davies (2), Gill Conversions: Druce

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