On a day of changeable weather, the Foresters fortunes changed against a Harrogate Georgians side who had beaten them on the two previous meetings this season.
In front of what turned out to be a larger than normal crowd, which was larger than the 120 that were to watch the 1st XV’s defeat in Leicester a game of tight nip & tuck rugby ensued.
In a first half dominated by the defensive efforts of both sides, chances were few and the ones that did show were squandered in equal measure this meant that at oranges after 40 minutes the scoreboard operator had been untroubled 0-0.
The talk at half time was of a similar sustained effort up the slope by the Foresters in the second half but this seemed not to be the case as a couple of missed tackles allowed Harrogate to score wide out to the right. The conversion was missed (0-5).
After a period of stalemate Wharfedale started to string some good phases of rugby together and were rewarded with a try of their own following a cross field kick by stand off Jack Johnson to the returning Ralph Wellock who collected and dived over in the corner. The conversion was missed (5-5).
Back on the attack came Wharfedale and more good continuity again provided the opportunity for skipper Rhys Davies to crash over following good hands by John Stephenson. The conversion was missed (10-5).
Again a period of stalemate with Harrogate pressing but being repelled by the resurgent defensive effort of the men in green. A soft penalty by Harrogate offered the chance to Johnson to take three points and push Wharfedale to move more than a converted try in front (13-5).
Back came Harrogate from the kick off and surged deep into the Wharfedale 22 but again the defensive effort held firm and forced a turnover and penalty which was hacked over the half way line. More good attacking phases produced another score for Wharfedale. Good support play and hands from Tom Whyte and Oli Snowdon allowed Archie Hancock to scamper over the whitewash near to the posts and Johnson duly converted (20-5).
Back came Harrogate on the offensive and finished the game on top but couldn’t cross the try line with the defensive line holding steadfast with Ralph Wellock and Rory MacNab forcing Harrogate to be held up over the line.
In the closing moments Davies was given a yellow card but the 14 men held firm for a well deserved victory.
The coaching staff couldn’t fault the effort of all the lads involved and thanked the three late call ups from the Rams squad to fill the bench (their game was cancelled at 2pm due to the opposition not arriving).
Onwards to the final three games of the season to try and capture two league titles.
Team: – 15. Ralph Wellock, 14. Rory MacNab, 13. Ben Parkinson, 12. Max Bell, 11. Eddie Gill, 10. Jack Johnson, 9. Archie Hancock, 1. Jack Wells, 2. Tom Jackson, 3. Jack Hirst, 4. Elliot Stockton, 5. Rhys Davies (c), 6. Tom Baines, 7. Oli Snowdon, 8. Tom Whyte.
16. Adam Stockdale, 17. John Stephenson, 18. Charlie Lawn(not used), 19. Ben Hammonds(not used).