Doncaster Phoenix 20-24 Foresters

“Phoenix” Otto Snatches Win for Foresters.

When Sam Mason raced over for the opening score, it looked like the Foresters were set for a comfortable win away at Doncaster Phoenix. To the frustration of players and supporters alike, for the majority of the remainder of the match it was the Doncaster side who held the upper hand, and deservedly so.

Wharfedale’s early success had come from moving the ball wide. As the game progressed the error count increased and the Greens got dragged into a dour, forward orientated contest, which was much to the benefit of their larger and slower opponents. The early lead was cut by a Phoenix penalty kick and the home side took the lead when some loose defence led to a breakaway try under posts. Wharfedale were still showing promise in attack but too often a forced pass or a lack of support at the breakdown resulted in turnovers.

Early in second half Jim Bowers was sent to the sin-bin for pulling down an attacking maul and the subsequent penalty put Phoenix 13-5 ahead. Injuries compounded Wharfedale’s problems, with live wire Otto Mallieu-Black and the impressive Sam Smith forced from the field. Otto was clearly inspired by the opposition’s name, as he was to reappear late on to dramatic effect.

Rob Burnett rolled back the years, replacing Smith. The home side were tiring badly, especially their front row and the Foresters started to dominate the scrum to such an extent that the next score came from a pushover try, with Burnett at number eight claiming the score. Catley converted to make it a one point game with plenty of time left in the game. Phoenix, however, suddenly came to life and their best move of the match produced an outstanding try, which, when converted, had Wharfedale needing two scores. Ben Parkinson was also injured, which would have had Wharfedale down to 14 men were it not for Otto’s phoenix-like revival.

Captain Rhys Davies read the riot act to his side and it clearly worked as the last ten minutes were like a different game. The Foresters suddenly found some urgency and cohesion to their play. Strong carries from Rhodes, Altham and Jake Parkinson, who seemed now to be enjoying being a centre, created space which was exploited by Mallieu-Black to put Catley over in the corner. His pinpoint conversion reduced the deficit to three points.

From the restart the ball was again moved with pace and accuracy and Ollie Whyte opened up the Phoenix defence. The ball was moved to the right wing, where Otto charged over to snatch the winning try.

So, a very scrappy performance but the spirit and the effort shown by the entire team in fighting back to grab the win was great to witness. There were also glimpses of the levels of performance this young side can aspire to.

Team: –

1. George Altham
2. Jake Starkey
3. Tom Jackson
4. Rhys Davies (c)
5. Richard Rhodes
6. Jim Bowers – YC
7. Oliver Snowdon
8. Sam Smith jnr.
9. Michael Woodhead
10. Oli Whyte
11. Sam Mason – 1T
12. Ben Parkinson
13. Jake Parkinson
14. Otto Mallileu-Black – 1T
15. Harris Catley – 1T,2C

Replacements: –

16. Scott Rogers
17. Rob Burnett – 1T

Managed by a ThriveWP care plan. ❤️