Wednesday 24 April - Wharfedale 3rd XV v Ilkley 2nd XV (A) KO 6.30pm -------    Saturday 27 April - Wharfedale v Lymm (H) KO 3.00pm ---- Foresters v Sandal 2nd XV at West Leeds RUFC KO 3.00pm ......

Foresters 50-10 Scunthorpe Stags

The boys are back in town!!

For eighty minutes at least we can put to one side the cost of living, concrete in schools, escaped prisoners, Harry and Meghan and take pleasure in watching The Foresters !

Without doubt the consistency of the Foresters over the past few years has been outstanding and they set off the new season with a  number of new names to the squad, indicating that they can still perform to a good level.

Due to traffic problems, the Stags arrived a little lat , which allowed spectators to watch both the 1st XV game and then a great deal of the Foresters match. They were not disappointed as whilst this could never be described as scintillating it certainly showed that the Foresters will be a force to be reckoned with and how refreshing for the Wharfedale supporters to have a second fifteen it is always a joy to watch.

Whilst the Stags had the advantage of weight in their pack, the Foresters front row of Meehan, Wills and Hirst remained superbly solid throughout and the locks Burton and Borrill not only performed well in scrummaging but were lively and constructive in open play. The back row of Heys, Brewster and Beresford performed scrummaging duties with relish and were at their marauding best in general play. All in all a very positive eight and praise for good coaching. Only time will tell how good the Foresters are this season but they could do no more than their achievements here, in their first game of the season. The intensity of the forwards play certainly unsettled the visitors. No doubt stiffer opposition is in waiting but only very good sides will beat the Foresters!

The first score came relatively early when after very good movement along the backs, Tom Darwin, who had a most thrustful game throughout, shot over for the Foresters first try, not converted but within minutes scrum half Ollie Bullock finished off another good passing sequence eagerly scampering over for a try, converted by Darwin. At 12-0 the writing did seem to be on the wall as the home side were really turning the screw on their visitors and to be honest Scunthorpe seemed a little shell shocked ! Not to let the backs have all the glory, the rampaging Hirst, following good work from backs and forwards went in for a further try, not converted but giving a 17-0 lead.

There followed perhaps the try of the day, after superb passing amongst the backs, winger Luke Craven burst through for a well worked score, converted by Darwin and 24-0 to the good. Next to step up to the mark was a resurgent Will Bell deftly finishing off further good interplay, not converted but a very comfortable lead of 29-0. The pressure being applied was, at this stage, far too much for the Stags and the energetic centre Darwin went over for his hat trick, a solo break and  well deserved try, this time converted by full back Joe Gill. Perhaps having used up so much energy the Foresters seemed to go off the boil a little at this stage and all credit to the Stags who despite being “under the pump” for a considerable period still maintained a fighting determination in their attempts to get back into the game. They were duly rewarded with a try in the corner, not converted but a half time score of 36-5. Could the Foresters maintain this pressure ?

The second half was perhaps not quite as frantic and winger Max Mountain and centre Seb Easter became more involved with their defensive duties, both carried out with aplomb and the introduction of replacements Bennet, Oakes and Peel allowed them to contribute in no uncertain manner to the Foresters dominance.. This was clearly shown after another dashing break by Darwin , enabled Beresford to score a try, converted by Darwin and a further and final score by Ollie Bullock, again converted by Darwin and 50-5 to the home side. Still showing great determination the Stags finished off the scoring with a good and well worked push over try, not converted, and a final score of 50-10.

There are many people to thank, as there always will be at Wharfedale but let us for this first league game be thankful of the input provided by Matt Shuttleworth and his deputy Paul Marklew, who are now the driving force behind this squad of players who, for many years now, have provided us with terrific entertainment combined with excellent results. Dan Stockdale who is assisting as forwards coach should also be mentioned for the obvious work he has put into this area. Let us hope that their spirit and enthusiasm can long be maintained.

Fred Bullough.

Foresters squad :-  James Meehan, Dan Wills, Jack Hirst, Jack Burton, Simon Borrill, Zeb Hays, Ethan Brewster, Tom Beresford, Ollie Bullock, Will Bell, Max Mountain, Thomas Darwin, Seb Eastell, Luke Craven, Joe Gill .

Replacements- Spencer Bennet, Toby Oakes, Arthur Peel.

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