The Foresters have started this season to some effect. After two games, the first a comprehensive beating of Stourbridge 74-5, followed up by a most convincing 66-7 victory against local rivals North Ribblesdale.
As is customary at this stage of the year the Greens have the odd new arrival including Maxime Labasse who introduced himself to the Wharfedale crowd with a scintillating display on the wing, scoring two tries, one of them the length of the pitch. Combine that with very experienced senior players such as James Druce who made several fine bursts from full back.
The playing squad have, of course, to be given time to fully develop into a complete team but so far things look good. Everyone looks forward to the second half of the season when the new competition involving the best second teams in the North East gets under way.
The game itself set off in a dithering early few minutes of Foresters mistakes, when the visitors really threw everything at them, determined to take the game to the Greens and knock them out their stride. It worked, as, following a positional malfunction amongst the Greens threequarter line, fly half Harry Bullough sent a miss pass, a penalty quickly followed. Ribb, more alert, pounced on the ball and ex Greens player Ryan Gill shot clear under the posts. The successful conversion gave the opposition a richly deserved 7-0 lead. But it was the last time the opposition got on the board, although they did threaten from time to time.
Ribblesdale in this first fifteen minutes threw everything they possibly could at the Greens, putting them under severe pressure but it was all a little bit frenzied. The visitors’ backs were looking troublesome during this period and those showing up to good effect were Adam Whaites at full back and Mick Thwaite at No 10. Wingers Angus Carr and David Fox always looked threatening.
Bullough and his half back partner Harry Skelton settled down to a steady controlled pattern and bit by bit the required platform was built. Skipper Tom Whyte, after strong Wharfedale forward pressure, muscled his way over the try line. The try was unconverted but the building blocks were in place and pressure was applied by the Greens, all the time squeezing energy and vitality from the opposition. From good backs play Robbie Davidson skipped over, converted by James Druce, giving a score of 12-7. Shortly after this Nathan Myers was sin binned for being over vociferous, just as he was starting to have a major impact in the forwards.
A short period of ping pong rugby was broken by a fine individual try from Robbie Davidson, who showed a great burst of speed. Druce duly converted.
The Greens pack had by this time cemented themselves into a strong unit and were applying considerable pressure on the Ribb forwards.
The half time score was 19-7.
Due to a problem with the lights, the second half was moved onto the second team pitch where the Foresters turned up the heat.
The Foresters backs had by this time found their stride and Ben Booth, centre and Ralph Wellock, wing, were becoming more and more involved. Several replacements were introduced and all played to great effect, helped undoubtedly by the quickly tiring opposition, as they wilted somewhat from this point on. Undoubtedly Ribb will put this right in the next few weeks but they were now subjected to being under the cosh. Tries came in a flurry via Will Davidson (2) Labasse (2), Phil Woodhead, who showed a fine burst of speed, Jack Kitching and Booth. Four very good conversions from Andy Rhodes and a further two from Druce, added to the Greens supporters feeling of well-being. Other replacements given the chance to strut their stuff were Will Bell and George Altham.
It was good to see that Alistair Allen played the full 80 minutes.
Team:- James Druce, Maxime Labasse, Robbie Davidson, Ben Booth, Ralph Wellock, Harry Bullough, Harry Skelton, Ricky Cano, Jake Parkinson, Ali Wade, Simon Borrill, Tom Baines, Tom Whyte (c), Nathan Myers, Alastair Allen.
Replacements:- George Altham, Jake Starkey, Morgan Davies, Sam Smith, Jack Kitching, Philip Woodhead, Will Bell, Andy Rhodes, Will Davidson, Ben Parkinson.