At last we are up and running again, after several weeks of cancelled and postponed fixtures, this time against our friends from the North East, Tynedale. The visitors arrived as league leaders in the new league format. Wharfedale had several changes from the team originally selected due to injuries and players moving up to the 1st team. This did not seem to affect the Foresters performance and possibly the final score was not expected and suggests that the Greens are the team to beat, especially if they can maintain results such as this.
With the imminent departure of Tommy McGee, the Foresters now come under the jurisdiction of Phillip Peel and David Whitfield, as Hedley Verity having done a sterling job with this squad, joins the first team operation.
This was an important match for both sides and eagerly anticipated. Tynedale unfortunately did not live up to expectations but that was nothing to do with their commitment or attitude to playing competitive rugby, it was just that on the day the Greens were fitter, faster and played the type of rugby associated with this side.
Tynedale had a fairly large outfit, especially in the pack but this did not phase the home side in any way and throughout the game seemed to dominate the forward play in most areas. The front row of George Altham, Jake Parkinson and James Huck were formidable, building the platform for the rest of the pack to consolidate their prowess. Equally strong were the second row of Rhys Davies and Tom Baines, not only providing sterling work at the coal face but receiving and distributing good line out ball. Jack Kitching, Matt Hall and Alistair Allen, industrious throughout, cover tackled and joined in with a great number of the passing movements involving backs and forwards and their role as the back row was hard to fault. It was good to see Allen back in full fitness. Hall had an outstanding game, working tirelessly throughout. It would be fair to say the forwards had an outstanding afternoon.
The first minutes of the game were frenzied with little control being shown by either side but the Foresters settled the quicker and following good passing and back up play, James Druce shot over for a try, which he converted. The Greens were really getting into their stride by this time and following a terrific push towards the river by the forwards, the ball was released to the backs and Simon Crabtree, probably the man of the match, finished off with an extremely well formulated try, again converted by Druce, giving a 14-0 lead to the home side.
There were then moments of scrappy and sloppy play and during such a period Tynedale replied with a well taken try of their own which was converted giving a score of 14-7. The visitors then went on to convert a penalty utilising the undoubted skill of their kicker, who had an excellent game throughout, making the board read 14-10. Had the Foresters lost their momentum you could ask. Not at all, keeping their cool, they fired back with another excellent unconverted try from Crabtree. There was a delay of several minutes whilst an injured player from the opposition was attended to and when play resumed a dominant pack gave the Greens a further score, when the referee determined a penalty try was justified, again converted by Druce and suddenly it was 26-10 to the Foresters.
In the backs, James Druce at full back, broke the oppositions defence whenever he ventured forward and was assisted in this style of play by a number of good breaks by wingers Ben Parkinson and Josh Prell who throughout created panic in the visitors defence. Centres Will Davidson and the already mentioned Crabtree were thrustful, energetic and forever looking to break the oppositions defence. Whilst all this movement was taking place both Max Bell and Andy Rhodes provided the necessary link as half backs, enabling the line to continue their attacking phases.
By this stage it was noticeable that Tynedale were starting to tire and the Greens went on the rampage. Starting this period with a lovely try from the swift and energetic Prell which was duly converted and was quickly followed after splendid work amongst the backs with a richly deserved Davidson try, creating a score of 38-10.
At this stage the forwards also started showing their prowess and great alacrity. Firstly a very good break by Larkin saw him break clear for a good try which was converted by Druce and finally another forward spurt gave the score to Jake Parkinson and a final score of 50-10 to the entertaining and forever energetic Greens.
Considering all the time this team has had to sit on the sidelines, waiting for weather conditions to improve, this was a very good result and well deserved. In particular their fitness was outstanding and as was their willingness to play attacking, exciting rugby at all times.
Once again the replacements Ian larkin, Dan Solomi and Mark Simpson slotted in excellently to the overall pattern of play, proving once again the Foresters squad mentality is strong and successful. Tynedale, on their day, as results have shown, are better than this but found it very difficult to match the Foresters on this occasion. Credit is due to both sides for providing an exciting display of rugby which was appreciated by the crowd. Credit is also due to the Wharfedale coaches who once again have created a disciplined and well drilled squad.
Team: – George Altham, Jake Parkinson, James Huck, Rhys Davies, Tom Baines, Jack Kitchen, Matt Hall, Alistair Allen, Max Bell, Andy Rhodes, Ben Parkinson, Will Davidson, Simon Crabtree, Josh Prell, James Druce.
Replacements :- Ian Larkin, Dan Solomi, Matt Simpson.