When summarising Foresters matches you have to be prepared for the unexpected. Gone are the days when every player running out was known to the supporters, as these games , in the main, have possibly taken on the mantle of trial matches.
Yet another player emerged from the Leeds area pool, the supply seems endless and in this case we were to witness another fly half. The credit goes to the Club however for players having the desire to play at Wharfedale .
Harrogate , in second position in the league played with considerable determination and spirit and their defence, at all times impressive, repulsed the majority of the Foresters attacks. They were a credit to their club and themselves. It soon became obvious that the Greens pack of front row George Altham, Jake Parkinson and Matt Freeman were dominant, which combined with locks Simon Borrill and Rhys Davies provided the raw energy to always be a major problem to the visitors. Bustling in the back row were Jack Kitching, Sam Smith and Tom Whyte. Certainly a pack difficult to master and so it proved throughout.
Jimmy Bullough injured in the first five minutes, came back on with his usual ebullient style of play and Will Bell provided his accepted, genuine game. The latter came up with two fine tries, both converted by full back James Druce, leaving the score at half time 14-0. With a strong wind behind them the home side possibly should have shown more dominance but as sometimes happens in these games, a little “showboating” came into effect, which was detrimental to the cause.
The new lad, James Guy, who started at centre soon moved to fly half and certainly is a player worth keeping an eye on. Physically strong, a good tackler and with an excellent boot on him, he could be a decent acquisition for Wharfedale. The backs, whilst perhaps not firing on all cylinders, provided enough fire power to always worry Harrogate. Wings Ralph Wellock and Robbie Davidson always appeared dangerous and Will Davidson and Harry Bullough, when he came on, provided exciting electric bursts. The other replacements, James Huck, Tom Baines, Josh Prell and the developing Max Bell, all played important roles in the Greens dominance.
From an excellent Gray kick, the forwards finished close to the visitors line allowing Freeman to march over. The conversion was missed. Then, after a series of Foresters sloppy tackles, Harrogate deservedly went in for their consolation try. Scoring continued with a powerful try from Gray, converted by Druce and completed by a final try from Druce following an excellent kick of some 60 metres by Gray. It was not converted but a resulted in a final score of 31-5.
It was by no means the Foresters at their very best, but it was a proficient performance and provided several clues for the selectors. Praise to Harrogate for their tenacity.