Thursday 22 August - Foresters v North Ribblesdale (H) KO 7.00pm ----    Saturday 24 August - 1st XV v Blaydon (A) KO 2.30pm ----

Foresters 19-12 Yorkshire U20s

Many clubs must envy the support Wharfedale provides whenever and wherever their teams appear and this was no exception. The large contingent of Greens fans were treated to a proper match, both teams giving their all and it was hammer and tongs throughout the eighty minutes. Ilkley made their splendid facilities available and all present were provided with a very good game of open rugby.

From the first scrum it was evident that the strength of the Wharfedale pack would prove a problem to the Yorkshire lads and so it proved practically for a large percentage of the match. Initially, once again the front row of Matt Beesley, Jake Parkinson and Matt Freeman provided the platform for the pack as a whole to dominate. Beesley being very threatening for the opposition to cope with. Early on Simon Borrill , who had an extremely good all round performance, went in for a push over try, converted by James Druce. Whilst it was obvious that at this stage of the game the Yorkshire scrum were to be subjected to severe examination, it was equally clear that their back division could and would cause problems, given the chance. In this respect the tackling provide by the Greens whenever the opposition threatened was superb , none more so than centres Harry Bullough and Luke Stevenson, the latter would be foremost in consideration for the outstanding back. The half back partnership of Will Bell and Jimmy Bullough gave their accepted whole hearted contribution at all times, Bell providing several searching kicks to put the opposition on the back foot, the captain his usual belligerent self.

More forward pressure gave the predatory instincts of Tom Whyte the chance to dive in for a try, this one not converted. He was also one of the line out team causing major problems at all line outs along with Tom Baines, Sam Smith and James Tyson. Tyson had a very good back row performance to his credit and was a pain in the side of Yorkshire at all times, strenuously covering every yard of the pitch. The youngsters in this back row continue to flourish and develop.

Turning round at 12-0, the second half started with the Under 20s showing the greater pace and enthusiasm and they very quickly , in this period, reduced the deficit with a well worked try, which left the Foresters floundering, for the first time in the game. Wharfedale had to reorganise quickly ,as with Bell taking a knock and Freeman being replaced the structure of their first half exploits was put under severe examination. Replacements George Altham, Tom Carlisle, Jack Kitching and Max Bell took up the challenge and quickly slotted into the pace and challenge created by the oppositions desire to gain control. During this period mention has to be made of the resilience the Wharfedale defence provided. The cover tackling was superb and here was a perfect example of a team playing for each other to the ultimate level. Wave after wave came their way but they refused to crumble ,withstanding all attempts by Yorkshire to break their lines. Wingers Ben Parkinson and Ralph Wellock stayed resolute during this period, proving defensive capabilities besides their attacking flair.

To break this pressure Stevenson materialised with a superb try showing pace and determination, converted by Druce giving an apparent comfortable score of 19-5. Not so because after a couple of mistakes in the ranks of the Greens, Yorkshire fired back with a converted try to put the Foresters supporters back into tense mode. Once again the tackling and cover tackling provided by all the team won the day and the final whistle arrived with a score of 19-12.

This was a ding dong physical match, with the Under 20s striving to prove their worth in what was basically a trial match for them and repulsed by a young yet experienced team who do not know when it is time to give in. Delightful afternoon, credit to both sides and wouldn`t it be wonderful to witness this type of rugby on a more regular basis. It was a privilege to be there.