It is always difficult reporting on games such as this as the score line clearly indicates the superiority of the Wharfedale side but does not reflect the effort put in by a York team, who stuck at their unenviable task with pride and determination, fighting to the last minutes of the match to gain some points, which would have better illustrated the part they played in this game.
There are also other rather unusual facts surrounding the Greens performance on the day . In particular the father and son playing combinations which took part at various stages of the contest. In rugby this is not a common occurrence yet the Foresters pulled it off twice. They also had at one stage later in the game a front row with an aggregate age in the region of 150 years to show beyond doubt that the Foresters youth policy is starting to show dividends . One of the veterans, who shall be nameless but played at prop and goes by the initials JM,, managed to get himself yellow carded for pulling down the scrum. Asked why afterwards, he explained it was to stop the opposition scoring despite a lead of some seventy plus points. You can`t teach an old dog ………………… !!
In the early stages it was clear that whenever Wharfedale attacked there was every chance that points would appear. The first try scorer was Will Lawn, who after good controlled passing by the home team, scored a try which was duly converted by Andy Rhodes resulting in an immediate lead of 7-0 to the Foresters. York fought back with good forward pressure but some of their technical abilities became exposed and whenever this happened , the Foresters punished them . The home side applied further momentum and Morgan Davies crashed over for a try which was agian converted by Rhodes and the spectators, on a beautiful afternoon, sensed that York would find it very difficult to stem the tide. It sounds churlish but the Foresters could actually have made things a lot worse for the visitors. During the course of the game some indifferent decisions were made and there was also a certain amount of “showboating “ when a simple pass could have resulted in even greater pain for York . However this can happen when a team senses they have things well under control.
There was a period of sloppy play during which basically nothing much happened and then a very good break from Will Lawn put Ben Parkinson away. Rhodes unluckily hit the post but a lead of 19-0 . Whilst the Greens pack was, at this stage of the game, not dominating the visitors pack , they held their ground against a much heavier eight . The home pack comprising of front row Nick Atkinson, Jake Parkinson, Tom Jackson, with Elliot Ward and Morgan Davies at lock and Jake Starkey, Sam Smith and Joe Metcalfe in the back row, were again a good solid workmanlike eight.
The backs were now starting to get into the game more and more. The half backs Sam Gaudie and Andy Rhodes were instrumental in orchestrating much of the movement now beginning to take place and centres Will Davidson and Will Lawn with wingers Ralph Wellock and Oliver Whyte responded accordingly. As always the ever alert Ben Parkinson at full back came into movements at every opportunity. Good tries were now seemingly common place, Whyte went over but the conversion was missed and this was shortly followed by the opposite winger Wellock dashing over and an excellent conversion from Rhodes. Half time and a commanding position for the Foresters at 31-0 . The York team found it difficult to stop the Green’s backs whenever they had possession and managed to keep the score down by one or two good last ditch covering tackles. The Greens were now to play towards the river and spectators were even at this stage congratulating York on their fighting spirit, realising that the Foresters were in total dominance.
Now came show time, as during the course of the last forty minutes the Foresters replacement bench came into its own . The bench consisted of Neil Dickinson, John Lawn, John Metcalfe, Robbie Burnett and Sam Mason. With the exception in age of Sam the other four responded well to the governments talk of no pension until seventy years of age and all played manfully during this period. As stated earlier two of the families, the Metcalfes and the Lawns had father and sons playing together, which the majority of the spectators considered a first for Wharfedale and was good to see . It is important to explain that these stalwarts came into the squad mainly caused by late call ups to the first team squad and Wharfedale are fortunate to have such experienced, able players available. Once more a sign of the Clubs strength in depth.
The first try in the second half was a result of a clinically well controlled and directed cross field kick from Rhodes that was collected by Whyte who careered through for a score that was converted by Rhodes. Soon after Whyte finished off another fine movement from the Greens that was again converted by Rhodes and the score jumped up to 45-0 . The Foresters were now subjecting York to sustained pressure and there was no stopping Nick Atkinson nor Will Lawn adding further woe to the visitors difficulties by scoring two more tries. The latter was converted by Rhodes and the score had climbed to 59-0 . Please let it be stressed that York defended manfully at all times and whenever possible tried to counter attack and to be perfectly candid did deserve to at least get on to the score board. It was not to be and both Wellock and Whyte went over for further tries with the latter one converted and providing a final score of 71-0. York possibly came closest in the dying moments of the match and it could be said they were thwarted by the antics of the earlier mentioned Foresters veteran prop. The consolation the visitors have is that they have the opportunity to make amends when the return fixture takes place next Saturday, at York.
Obviously the coaches present on the day, David Whitfield , John Metcalfe and Robbie Burnett were satisfied with the Greens performance , considering that everyone contributed to a good all round team performance.
Team: – Nick Atkinson, Jake Parkinson, Tom Jackson, Elliot Ward, Morgan Davies, Jake Starkey, Sam Smith, Joe Metcalfe, Sam Gaudie, Andy Rhodes © , Ralph Wellock, Will Davidson, Will Lawn, Oliver Whyte, Ben Parkinson.
Replacements:- Neil Dickinson, John lawn, John Metcalfe, Robbie Burnett , Sam Mason