The Foresters got the defence of their Yorkshire Premiership title off to the expected start against a Driffield side whose first team plays its rugby in North One East (level six.)
And after the first five minutes, when the visitors camped in Wharfedale’s half for the only time in the match and opened the scoring with a penalty, it was one- way traffic, the youthful Foresters running the ball at every opportunity. That the margin of victory was not more can be accounted for by missed opportunities (as there were so many that is not surprising) and by some courageous defence, in which aspect some of Driffield’s own youngsters matched Wharfedale’s for speed.
Most of the Foresters’ eleven tries came from open play, apart from the second, an irresistible 20-yard maul from a lineout, finished by Rhys Davies. The same player would add a second try later, a tally exceeded only by Will Davidson’s hat-trick. Other tries come at very regular intervals from Jimmy Bullough, Ben and Jake Parkinson, Luke Stevenson, Robbie Davidson and Tom Whyte.
In a most impressive kicking performance, one of James Druce’s conversion attempts struck the post and dropped on the wrong side of the crossbar – the other nine succeeded. Lloyd Davies, back from Preston Grasshoppers, converted the other, while James was taking a time-out.
Last season’s club captain, prop Chris Steel was making his first appearance after summer surgery, and played the whole match. Although surprised at not being given a rest, he was satisfied that he had come through safely, and is looking forward to getting fit enough to challenge for a first XV place once more.
So the league campaign is under way, but the writing is on the wall. With so few truly competitive matches in the division, something surely has to change.
Foresters: Robbie Davidson; James Druce, Will Davidson, Harry Bullough, Lloyd Davies; Luke Stevenson, Jimmy Bullough (c); Chris Steel, Jake Parkinson, Matt Freeman, Simon Borrill, Rhys Davies, George Altham, Sam Smith, Tom Whyte. Replacements: Michael Snowden, Max Mell, Ben Parkinson, Rob Burnett.