After a sketchy fixture list and a few cancelled matches, the Development team were keen to get back on the pitch and get back to playing some decent rugby (or at least most of the lads were, we started with a bare 15 and only ended up with 16 in total).
The warm up was patchy and disorganised partly due to the uncertainty of who was playing where and when whoever might turn up, but this had no effect on the focus of the team who, to a man, were outstanding in their commitment and desire to beat a very good West Leeds team.
The opening exchanges were tight. The visitors had early dominance at the scrum and numerous powerful runners in their side, but the greens defence was more than up to the task and their appetite for work was unrelenting.
More than a quarter of the match had been played before the scorer was troubled. Captain David Wade, playing at No.8, set off on a typically determined run. The ball was then passed to James Ardron who showed great skill to release the pass under pressure and allow destructive winger Sam Smith his first real charge. The bullocking winger blustered over half the length of the pitch to touch down under the posts. Veteran fly half Jonathan Davies added the simple extras. 7-0.
West Leeds than enjoyed a sustained period camped in the home sides 22 only to be thwarted by resolute defence. After possession was turned over, the clearance box kick was unfortunately charged down and fell into the hands of a West Leeds forward who scored a simple touchdown. The conversion was missed. 7-5.
The Greens went straight back into the attack but a turnover deep in the visitors 22 was kicked well clear. Winger Adam Stockdale fielded on the full and set off back towards the opposition. Inside passes to centres Scott Rogers and Russ Aldersley continued the move and set up the ruck. The ball was then spun out to the left to JD at fly half. Then Ardron and Dan Benson (after he turned up late) continued the move before full back Jon Feeley was released and cut through the remaining defenders to score an excellent team try. JD added the extras. 14-5.
West Leeds had most of the ball for the opening minutes of the second half and cut through the home defence for what looked like a certain score. A last ditch tackle looked to have thwarted the move but the ball was offloaded to the supporting runner to, what appeared from a distance, score under the posts, but the referee deemed that the ball was not touched down before it was taken dead and awarded Wharfedale a 22 drop out.
After this early scare, the hosts went back on the attack and deep into the opposition 22. Strong, determined carries throughout the team came close but were met by resolute defence. Eventually, prop Tom Allsopp took a short ball and powered to the line, just getting the ball onto the white wash to take the score to 19-5.
West Leeds then took the play back into Wharfedales 22, but again they were met by an excellent defensive effort, and the ball was spilt. Harry Croft, despite playing in an unfamiliar position at blindside flanker, was having a tremendous game. He scooped up the loose ball and charged down field. He was eventually stopped by a high tackle but took the quick tap himself and continued the move. Another penalty was given away. This time the ball was kicked to the corner for the lineout. The ball was cleanly won and passed out to the left where fly half JD, sporting a disturbing upper lip growth, half stepped the defenders and used his bulk to power over for the bonus point score. He also added the extras to take the final score to 26-5.
1. Paul Marklew
2. Ben Rymer
3. Thomas Walker
4. James Ardron
5. Tom Allsopp
6. Harry Croft
7. John Stevenson
8. David Wade
9. John Davison
10. Jonathan Davies
11. Sam Smith
12. Russ Aldersley
13. Scott Rogers
14. Adam Stockdale
15. Jon Feeley
16. Dan Benson
Tries: Smith, Feeley, Allsopp, Davies.
Cons: Davies (3)