Foresters 29-3 Sheffield 2nd XV

Sheffield’s 2nd team travelled to “The Avenue “ to take on the Foresters in a semi final playoff match in the Premiership Yorkshire & NE merit league.

The game was unfortunately delayed due to the visitors being held up in traffic on the M1. Conditions were near perfect on a drying, firm pitch.

The Greens began the half playing up the hill.

Despite the initial travelling issues, it was Sheffield who started the game well. They regained possession from the kick off and retained the ball for a long period of time, playing in the Foresters’ 22.

In response, Dale presented a Green wall and tackled accurately. However, they were penalised for a tackle off the ball, giving the opposition a penalty in front of goal. Sheffield’s Stand off , Ian Barnett, elected to kick to take his side 0-3 after 2 minutes.

Whilst Wharfedale’s defence was functioning well, their handling was uncharacteristically below their standards across the team.

However,  they quickly gained ascendancy in the scrum and were showing some signs of breaking the line. 

Slowly they began to make ground. At the 19 minute mark Sheffield were awarded a scrum in the centre of the field. The Foresters pack drove the visitors off the ball. This allowed scrum half, Sam Cox, to take the play left before putting in a looping pass.  This cut out the rushing defence and put his midfield away. Excellent interplay between Tom Darwin and Omari Kaup-Samuels put centre Josh Prell in space on the left wing. Prell managed to break a tackle and found himself clear. The centre took his chance and after crossing the white wash on the left, he managed to score under the posts. Max Bell converted the try to take the score to 7-3.

The Greens, now gaining some ascendancy, were able to play rugby in the opposition’s half. Sheffield were defending well, however their inside centre was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock on, preventing what seemed to be a try scoring chance. 

Dale were awarded a scrum, and made several attacking forays. Each attempt ending in a penalty which resulted in the Greens electing to scrum. 

The dominant scrum was no doubt taking its toll on the opposition’s legs as the half was coming to an end. 

Sheffield defended well but they were going to have to play up the hill in the second half. Half time score 7-3.

Playing down hill in the new half, the Greens set to work and were awarded a penalty in the opposition’s 22 in front of goal. Dale elected to kick for goal, Bell converted the kick to take the score to 10-3 after 47 minutes.

Some 2 minutes later Foresters scored one of their best team tries for some time. From the restart Ollie Bullock made a drive up field on the right 15 metre line, to about halfway, he managed to make an offload in the tackle to the supporting lock Jack Burton. The lock made an audacious dummy that the covering defence took, to allow him to step inside and drive on before offloading in the tackle to captain and lock Simon Borrill. Still moving forward and with Sheffield on the back foot, the ball found number eight Max Mountain who again offloaded in the tackle. The supporting centre Omari Kaup-Samuels took the pass and beat defenders, to score just left of the posts. The  Wharfedale faithful showed their appreciation. Max Bell scored the conversion to make the score 17-3.

Credit to Sheffield, their head’s never went down and they continued to play. However the Foresters were awarded a scrum in the opposition’s 22. Scrum half Cox, went right to his midfield. Several phases ensued and Centre Prell drove into the heart of the Sheffield. From the resulting ruck the two locks teamed up with the captain Borrill latching onto a drive by Burton. They drove some 10 metres and were stopped two metres from the try line. The ball was recycled and went left through the hands for Darwin to score in the corner. Again the try was converted and the score, 60 minutes into the game, was 24-3.

The Greens had been making changes throughout the half. Dan Stockdale made a long awaited return to the front row and was joined by several colts; Spencer Bennett, Edgar Sumner and Finlay Walker.

The Foresters managed to score their final try in the 73rd minute. From a scrum in centre field, closer to the right touch line, number eight Mountain off- loaded to the now scrum half Bullock who in turn passed on to substitute Dylan Canny. Canny showed great pace and footwork to beat Sheffield’s initial defence. The covering defence were unable to prevent Canny putting the supporting Bullock into space. The replacement scrum half scored in the right hand corner. The score was deserving after an excellent game.

The game saw no more scoring before the final whistle, full time 29-3.

The Foresters will play Sandal  2nd XV at a venue TBC in the play off final.

The match commentary can be listened to on the Drystone Radio site

Team: –

1, T. Whitehead, 2, S. Holden, 3, J. Hirst, 4, S. Borrill (c), 5, J. Burton, 6, Z. Heys, 7, O, Bullock, 8, M. Mountain, 9, S. Cox, 10, M. Bell, 11, B. Viner, 12, J, Prell, 13, O. Kaup-Samuels, 14, T. Darwin, 15, J. Howarth.

Replacements: -16, D. Stockdale, 17, E, Sumner, 18, S. Bennett , 19, D. Canny, 20 F. Walker.

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