This fixture is always eagerly awaited at the beginning of a new season by both clubs and this one was no exception. The Foresters had already won against Bradford Salem, who play in the same league as the home team and were hoping that in several areas that performance could be improved upon. It was, but not a clinically clean accomplishment.
To be frank the game was somewhat lacking and the final score could actually have been greater in favour of the visitors, except for the fact that several members of the Greens insisted on showboating at crucial times and golden opportunities were thrown away. Having said that both sides had an unusual number of players missing due to holidays, non-availability, and injuries etc. Wharfedale had a squad of 22 and they were all used at various times, which did not help in producing a fluid team performance. Still, it had been another good work out. The Greens will have to be better than this for some future challenges though.
The first stages of the match produced stalemate, as both teams did everything required to nullify their opponents and then eventually the Foresters started to get on top and as the game went on their overall fitness levels became apparent and they became more ambitious in creating scoring opportunities.
The first fifteen or so minutes were quite evenly matched and it would have been difficult at this stage to foresee the final score line. Both sides exposed themselves to amateurish errors yet they were equally giving it their all in an attempt to gain a foot hold in the game. The Greens finally started to find some cohesion in their play and after a good kick to touch by Tom Davidson, the backs obtained possession. Mark Simpson finishing the move off. Robbie Davidson, who kicked exceedingly well all through, converted. Another good move from the Foresters backs, with good handling, sent in Mark Simpson again with a brilliant conversion from the touch line by Robbie Davidson.
The Foresters forwards, seemingly well matched with their counterparts, managed to exert pressure allowing the ball to get to the backs and Simon Crabtree was on hand to secure the points. Half time came with the visitors 19-0 to the good.
The second half again started off with a period of sloppy, uncontrolled phases with the already mentioned “showboating” proving costly. This was broken by Tom Whyte, who was excellent in the line out, scampering over for a try, which was converted by Davidson. This was shortly followed with an unconverted try by Matt Close providing a score line of 31-0 to the Greens. The visitors were now in the ascendancy and further points came from a try by Ben Parkinson in the corner following a powerful break from Crabtree and the final scores came from Mark Simpson, completing a good hat trick and converted this time by Will Davidson.
A final result of 43-0 did reflect the strength of the Foresters but it could and should have been more. The home side will most likely be a different proposition come the Boxing Day return fixture.
Both sides had a good work out and whilst easy to find fault, as it normally is at this early stage of a season, there were a lot of positives for Wharfedale. Jake Parkinson had another very solid game. Tom Whyte is returning to his best form. Robbie Davidson, swift and decisive, kicked extremely well. It was good to see returning players such as Simon Borrill, Joe Metcalfe, Rhys Davies, Sam Smith, Tom Wareing and Jack Kitching having a good run out. Tom Davidson is gradually returning to full fitness. They were possibly a little rusty but all played well. Young scrum half Will Lawn progresses well.
The coaches, John Metcalfe, David Whitfield and Robbie Burnett, who are doing an excellent job, now have the task of building a squad with discipline and cohesive play to match Foresters sides of the past. We feel sure that is very much their plan and we await with eagerness the start of the leagues season. The building blocks are in place.
Team: – Tom Jackson, Jake Parkinson, James Huck, Simon Borrill, Emils Balodis, Joe Metcalfe, Tom Whyte (c), Matt Hall, Will Lawn, Tom Davidson, Sam Mason, Mark Simpson, Simon Crabtree, Ben Parkinson, Robbie Davidson.
Replacements:- Matt Close, Tom Wareing, Rhys Davies, Sam Smith, Jack Kitching, Archie Hancock, Will Davidson.