The Foresters had lost to Yarnbury earlier in the season and Rhys Davies’ pre-match talk focussed on the opportunity to make up for that result. His team responded with another fine performance in very testing conditions due the strong wind blowing down the field.
There was no score at all for the first quarter of the game and Yarnbury’s defence stood solidly against the Greens’ attacking efforts. Yarnbury did not concede any scores easily throughout but as the game wore on the Foresters used possession far more effectively. Initially, much of the Wharfedale attacking play was constructed too far from the gain line, making the defenders’ task simpler in reading the moves. It is to their credit that the side, with Jack Johnson again running the show well from fly-half, recognised this and adjusted to be far more threatening.
The first score illustrated this perfectly. Johnson and Jordan Annett took the ball right up to the Yarnbury defence. Harry Dunne picked a great line and stepped past the cover to score. The conversion into the gale was missed; in fact kicking was to prove tricky all match with Johnson only landing three from ten.
To make up for his difficulties from the tee, Johnson then set about collecting a hat-trick of tries before half-time. His first two were both at the conclusion of several strong phases of running by backs and forwards. Chris Swainson made several telling runs, as did fellow pack members, Simon Borrill and Tom Jackson. Will Lawn, back at scrum-half, regularly broke round the fringes of the ruck and one such break resulted in Johnson’s first try. His third try was on the stroke of half-time when Johnson intercepted a speculative pass to run in from 40 yards. It made the score 24-0 at the break.
Wharfedale used all their bench either at half-time or shortly into the second period. The strength of the substitutes was clear to see as there was no let up for the Yarnbury side. Ben Parkinson, enjoyed a fine game from full-back, scored after a chip through. Shortly after, Callum Lockett, with almost his first touch, sped away from the back of a scrum to feed replacement scrum-half, Archie Hancock, who scampered in at the corner.
The scrum, cornered by James Huck and Jack Hirst, was dominant throughout and Hirst also blasted through a few tackles when carrying in the loose.
Harry Dunne then grabbed his second try. He seemed back to near his best and caused problems for Yarnbury whenever he had ball in hand.
The backrow dominated the ruck area, especially as Yarnbury tired, and it was from a turnover that Max Bell released Eddie Gill to score out wide. Bell himself claimed the next as Wharfedale ran the ball with precision from deep in their own half.
The final score came following another slick piece of handling in the backs after Tom Whyte had stolen the ball at a Yarnbury line-out. Jordan Annett running in under the posts to at least make the last conversion an easy one for Johnson.
Yarnbury may have been weakened by a few players missing, nevertheless the comprehensive nature of this win, against a team who had inflicted a painful defeat on the Greens, shows how much this young side is improving.
Wharfedale: – Jack Hirst, Tom Jackson, Jame Huck, Rhys Davies, Simon Borrill, Tom Whyte, Oliver Snowdon, Chris Swainson, Will Lawn, Jack Johnson, Josh Prell, Harry Dunne, Jordan Annett, Eddie Gill, Ben Parkinson, Morgan Davies, Jack Kitching, Callum Lockett, Max Bell, Archie Hancock.