This was a rumbustious game which at times became a little feisty but the somewhat new look Foresters provided, along with their opponents, a cracking game of rugby.
Whilst in the very early stages both sides suffered from a lack of fluency, the Greens settled the quicker and following a thrusting full drive by the forwards, the ball was thrown out to winger Scott Rogers who went over for a try in the far corner which was excellently converted by Jonathon Davies, giving an early 7-0 lead to the home team. The Greens were enthusiastically playing entertaining rugby and for a period Blaydon were on the back foot and under strong pressure, resulting in a penalty to the Foresters converted by Davies. The home side were now starting to show scrummaging superiority and the visitors gave away a needless penalty, again converted by Davies resulting in a comfortable 13-0 lead.
The home side were also showing that Wharfedale teams can tackle. Blaydon, a good side, came back with an unexpected push over try which was converted making a score of 13-7.
The Wharfedale pack were now relishing their overwhelming superiority with the front row of George Altham, Jake Parkinson and Tom Jackson excellently supported by locks Sam Smith and Rhys Davies, who interchanged with Richard Rhodes, all of whom played well. The starting back row of Matt Hall, Ollie Snowden and Tom Whyte were solid. This group developed, then maintained their ascendancy.
The pressure being applied resulted in a loose ball behind the opposition’s line and the svelt-like Davies rumbled through to score a thoroughly well-deserved try which was not converted. After a few tetchy moments resulting in two yellow cards, one to each, the half time whistle came with the score at 18-7.
Davies had provided excellent lines of running and a near faultless kicking display. In the earlier stages Sam Stockdale, a good half back link, had been replaced by Jimmy Bullough, who used his experience and enthusiasm to good effect for the remainder of the game.
Now playing downhill, the Greens pack used their overwhelming superiority more than ever. Blaydon had to be thankful for the skills of their number 8 and scrum half, who retrieved positions time and again behind a retreating pack. They were outstanding for the visitors, allowing their side to come back again, after mistakes by Wharfedale, which gave the visitors the opportunity, which was willingly taken, to score a converted try making the score 18-14 with all to play for in this very competitive match.
Throughout the Foresters used replacements strategically and James Meehan, Mike Bradshaw, Nick Atkinson, Nathan Myers all contributed extremely well to the team effort, not forgetting the starting backs, who used the ball with pace and purpose, Rory McNab, who is surely a star for the future, alongside Mark Simpson, Joe Slater and Sam Mason. They all playing good attacking rugby.
Following a good break, Mason spurted over for a converted try and after the visitors No 7 had received a red card, the home team came up with a well worked driven over unconverted try, which was pounced on by the dependable Myers. The final score of 30-14 was well deserved.
Special mention must be made of Parkinson who is providing consistent performances, both in attack and defence, and Hall had a good all round display to his credit. The half backs were sharp, productive and energetic. To be fair every one of the twenty one man squad played their part as this was a team performance and victory.
Let us not forget the coaches David Whitfield and John Metcalfe, assisted by Robbie Burnett, who are creating a new batch of Foresters to their own design although still in the formulating stages. Well done to Blaydon for their contribution to an excellent match and a word for the referee, not always the home crowds favourite, but who had a good game.
George Altham, Jake Parkinson, Tom Jackson, Rhys Davies, Sam Smith, Matt Hall, Ollie Snowden, Tom Whyte (c), Sam Stockdale, Jonathon Davies, Rory McNab, Mark Simpson, Joe Slater, Scott Rogers, Sam Mason.
Mike Bradshaw, James Meehan, Nick Atkinson, Richard Rhodes, Nathan Myers, Jimmy Bullough.