Chester, the 1st team’s opponents put in their programme that regarding the geographical position of their opponents it was “remarkable that it boasts a club of the stature of Wharfedale”. The Greens success is based on the development of the teams below the 1st team, from the Minis through to the Foresters, their coaches and back up staff. The Foresters splendidly coached by Matt Shuttleworth, with team manager the ever dependable Rob Burnett and in this match the expertise of Hedley Verity.
This the eleventh match of the season sees the Foresters unbeaten and they are a joy to watch. There will not be many teams, at any level, who have had the winning ratio they have experienced over the last ten years and this present squad must be one of the best. Spectators know what to expect from the team and that is the desire to score points playing open attacking rugby. Are they clinical at all times? No. Do they make mistakes? Yes, but the desire to play their style of rugby and entertain never leaves them. Now todays game.
It must have been somewhat of a shock in the first two minutes when the very first scrum saw Sheffield pushed back by a much lighter Foresters pack. Skill and technique being the reason, with a formidable front row of George Altham, Madison Hunting and Sam Dickinson, all three also played well in loose play. Assisted in the pack by a second row of Simon Borrill and Elliot Stockton, both performing to great effect also at line out duties. The pack were on top for most of the game.
The back row , captain Tom Whyte, Ollie Snowden and Max Mountain worked tirelessly and Whyte leads by example. All three played well including in defence and repeatedly attacked when possible.
The first ten minutes was a feeling out period where neither team could find any domination but after a sustained period of attacking play Mountain dashed in for a try, coverted by Rory Macnab. The remainder of the first half was determined by a number of mistakes made by the Greens in their attempts, squashed by Sheffield, to open up the game and the only other score in this period, a penalty conversion by the visitors making the half time score 7-3.
Tactics were obviously discussed during the break and the second half saw the Foresters at their dominant best. The half back partnership of the dependable Will Lawn and the exciting development of fly half Louis Verity began to flourish. Threequarters Fred Hewetson, Max Bell, Ralph Wellock and Bradley Viner all ran the ball with flourish and vitality. Wellock in particular was excellent in open play. Full back Rory MacNab, was safe and willing to link up whenever necessary also kicked well from hand and from dead ball.
One of the strengths of the Foresters has always been the substitutes and today was no exception. Tom Jackson, Jake Parkinson, Joe Fawcett and Sam Mason all contributed when called upon, proving the Foresters strength in depth. Parkinson was impressive with his squirrelling bursts.
So the scoring situation. A bullocking run from Mountain allowed Wellock to go over, not converted. Then a lovely move by backs and forwards allowed Stockton to crash over, soon followed by a try from Borrill. One converted one missed. The momentum was maintained and another break from Wellock allowed Sam Mason to add his name to the try scorers, converted and the score was 38-3.
Sheffield never gave in and all credit to them and later the referee mentioned that for the first 28 minutes of the second half there had been no penalties awarded. Praise is due to both teams. Finally after evading four tackles a brilliant final try from Snowdon, converted once again by MacNab and a final score of 45-3.
It had been a pleasure to watch and the future looks in safe hands. Every player came up to the mark and praise indeed to the splendid work all coaching staff must be doing.
Team:- George Altham, Madison Hunting, Sam Dickinson, Simon Borrill, Elliot Stockton, Tom Whyte (c) Ollie Snowdon, Max Mountain, Will Lawn, Louis Verity, Fred Hewetson, Max Bell, Ralph Wellock, Bradley Viner, Rory MacNab.
Replacements:- Tom Jackson, Jake Parkinson, Joe Fawcett, Sam Mason.