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

Foresters 28 Sheffield 3

No transit players on show today, just tried and trusted Foresters and to be perfectly honest they were disappointing. This was similar to an accomplished orchestra where the various  instruments didn`t complement each other. The pack pressure exerted by the Greens was once again fierce and though it gets repetitive Matt Freeman, Jake Parkinson and George Altham, with locks Simon Borrill and Jim Mason were just too strong for Sheffield and this dominance clearly showed early doors. After a blatant Sheffield infringement the referee awarded the home side a penalty try, converted by James Druce. This was followed soon after by an opportunist try by Jimmy Bullough, sprinting from forty yards out, again converted by Druce and a score of 14-0 in the first ten minutes of the game. Then for some reason Wharfedale decided to play ten man rugby, purely relying on the strength of their forwards to drive over for further scores. Mason came off before half time with an injury. It`s quite possible that the home side were carried away by the fact that they had so much control in the forwards, to be candid though this was not utilised as it should have been. Needs addressing. There was also a little bit of “showboating ” going on.
Sheffield, who were strictly under the cosh, came back with a penalty after a Foresters infringement and just before half time Rhys Davies was yellow carded, somewhat dubiously and Sheffield, possibly stinging under the Greens forward pressure did everything they possibly could to disrupt the home teams skills. At this stage, Wharfedale should have tried to use their backs more as their line up consisted of one of the best back combinations turned out for quite a while but no, the tactics seemed to consist of drive, drive and more drive. Not the normal style of play of the Foresters, who allowed themselves to be dragged down to the opposition’s level. Consequently wingers Robbie Davidson  and Josh Prell were deprived of good ball. The same comment applies to centres Harry Bullough and Will Bell who just couldn`t spark any life into the line. Fortunately a touch of brilliance, provided by fly half Luke Stevenson when he went in for an individual try after a lovely break, lifted the gloom a little. Conversion by Druce. A Sheffield player was yellow carded, the referee could quite easily have handed more out.
The back row of Tom Whyte, Jack Kitchin and James Tyson were slightly subdued on this day and replacements Ben Parkinson, Jimmy Meann, Rhys Davies, Sam Smith and Tom Baines tried manfully to get cohesion into things but everything seemed strangely futile and it was probably harder watching than playing. The referee spent a considerable amount of time reprimanding players and it was very difficult for him to see everything that was going on. The game was disjointed and reflected no glory on anyone, so except for the try scorers there is very little praise to hand out. The match concluded with a push-over try, not sure who touched down, again converted by Druce giving a final score of 28-3. Most teams would be happy with such a score line but this was not the free flowing attacking play we associate with the Foresters and it is to be hoped that`s now out of their system and they revert to normal. As previously mentioned it`s very easy from the touch line. Should be a decent game next week against top of the league Otley.
Foresters. Druce, Prell, Bell, Bullough H, Davidson, Bell, Bullough J,Freeman, Parkinson J, Altham, Mason, Borrill, Kitchin, Tyson, Whyte. Replacements Parkinson B, Meann, Davies, Smith, Baines.