The Otley website last week, following Foresters win there, stated “A game of clinical control versus passion and desire”. Difficult to comment on that except to say everyone has the desire and create the passion to beat the Foresters. Week in, week out they have come to expect this and confront it in different ways, sometimes the clinical control bit is well hidden, this was the case here.
Again a much changed team that did often struggle to find cohesion, especially amongst the backs. Started off quite well with the usual forward pressure, which by this time you will be fed up of hearing, causing considerable consternation amongst the Driffield ranks. The pack consisted of Matt Freeman, Jake Parkinson and Jimmy Meehan in the front row, locks this week Rhys Davies and Simon Borrill and the back row of George Altham, Jack Kitching and Tom Whyte. All ,yet again, performed to a high standard and Kitching is developing at a rapid pace of knots in both attack and defence, which he illustrated today.
Their dominance created early strikes for the visitors. Kitching went in for a try, not converted and followed fairly quickly after this by a probing kick from todays fly half Andrew Foulds giving Robbie Davidson the opportunity to run at the home defence, which he did superbly ,scoring a classic try, well converted by James Druce to give the Greens a 12-0 lead. So far so good and to get even better. Forward strength maintained and Whyte cleverly picking up at the base of the scrum side stepped his way over the line for a delightful try, converted by Druce and we turned round at half time with a comfortable lead of 19-0. During this period there had been little sign of any worrying prowess from the home team and it could possibly have been that Wharfedale felt they were coasting the match, taking their foot off the pedal.
As the second half commenced it was a case of someone had switched on the sleep button, which with this team does happen quite frequently. The backs were sloppy, there is no other way to describe it. Missed tackles, extremely loose passes, relief kicks as good as passes for the opposition and a general malaise surrounding the Foresters during a shambolic twenty minutes or so for the visitors. For this period there was only one team wanting it and they were not in Green.
Credit, however, to Driffield. Showing the passion and desire afore mentioned, they attacked the Foresters at pace and richly deserved the next four scores which were two tries, one conversion and a penalty. Once again, as per last week, the Greens were tottering under this onslaught and suddenly a score of 15-19 was on the scoreboard, with the visitors having to collect themselves if they were to stop the destructive attack thrown at them. Centres Jimmy Bullough, another positional change and Ben Booth threw themselves into their tackling roles with gusto and besides colt Booth, another colt Marcus Farnworth performed well on the left wing. Yet another colt James Otulakowski replaced the starting scrum half Max Bell, both played a similar efficient kind of game. Other replacements used were the old warrior and coach Andy Hodgson, replacing Bullough, Will Davidson back after a lengthy period on the side line, showing bursts of skill and Jed Brewis. One replacement not making an appearance was veteran Rob Burnett, although he was like a cat on a hot tin roof waiting to get on !
At last, the Foresters regrouped and started once more to take the game to Driffield and after a positive move, attacking the Driffield defence were awarded a penalty, converted by Druce and thankfully, for us, a final score of 22-15 to the Foresters. Certainly not a pretty game at which to be a spectator and it will be ever so pleasurable when the Foresters can return to a settled side, enabling them to show the skills we know they possess. However in this game you have to roll with the punches, allowing for injuries, replacements and all the other things thrown at you. Whatever the areas of criticism stated above, still another win for the League leaders. Besides winning when playing exciting Rugby, they can scrap for victories, winning ugly, if necessary . Most teams would die for that !
Finally, thank goodness our physio Verity, who just missed being involved in a nasty accident on her way to the match, giving her four hours travelling time to Driffield. Besides her physio duties, she is our main Recruitment officer !
Foresters: Davidson R, Druce, Bullough, Booth, Farnworth, Foulds, Bell, Meehan, Parkinson, Freeman, Borrill, Davies, Altham, Kitching, Whyte. Replacements: Brewis, Burnett, Otulakowski, Davidson W, Hodgson.